1. Leftover home owners
By far, one of the top offenses cited by buyer’s REALTOR was home owners still lingering around when REALTORS arrived with clients to preview the home. Awkward encounters ranged from buyers finding SELLERS taking a shower, asleep in the bed and SELLERS who liked to follow BUYERS and the REALTOR all over the home to see what they thought.
2. Pets and their messes
REALTORS also cited the not-so-friendly dog and kitty encounters as a top offense. Even pets left in a crate can pose a distraction since they might make noise the entire time BUYERS are in the house. Plus, if they seem mean, the buyer might not even step in the room. Bruce Fournier of Remax Chilliwack says he recently was given showing instructions from a listing REALTOR who told him the family’s “friendly dog” would be at home. But when Fournier unlocked the front door with his client for the showing, a pit bull was staring down at them from the top of the staircase, growling. “We closed the door and left!”
3. Bad smells
A displeasing smell can really turn buyers off. Common offenses include cooking smells lingering around the home, such as garlic, fried bacon, or fish. Also, watch for cigarette smoke and animal smells, Fournier says.
“SELLERS get immune to the smell that their pets have embedded on their property says Louise Henry of Pair Home Design “Anyone opening the door will smell it immediately -- even if there are air fresheners trying to cover up the smell. If you have a pet, there will be an odor. Don’t scare your buyers away: Paint, clean the carpeting and furniture. Take the odor seriously and do what is needed, even if it means replacing the carpet.”
4. Critters running wild
Wild animals and pests roaming around is a surefire way to send buyers running. REALTORS described worms crawling on the basement floor and raccoons and squirrels lounging in the attic. “I showed a house in Sardis once with a baby alligator in a cage in the dining room,” said Bruce Fournier of Remax Realty in Chilliwack. It also smelled bad.
5. Unusual home makeovers
Do-it-yourself disasters were also prevalent, like doors opening the wrong way or unprofessional paint jobs, sloppy moldings, poor finishing, incorrect wiring. Also, rooms not being used for their intended purposes can confuse buyers, such as an office or den being used as a bedroom even though it has no closet, says Fournier.
6. Dirt and clutter
There were a number of offenses cited when it came to cleanliness: Dirty laundry piles, dishes on the counter or in the sink, unmade beds, clothes scattered about, soiled carpets, dirty air conditioner filters, and overflowing trash cans.
“One of the worst things I have seen is piles and piles of clothes in every room, “It was like an obstacle for the buyer trying to walk around the mess.”
7. Personal information left in plain sight
SELLERS should be careful not to leave in plain sight important documents that may be easily read. REALTORS say they’ve seen personal information like bank and credit card statements—even mortgage payoff notices—left on the kitchen counter.
“Buyers look at everything,” Says Fournier, among other things, I’ve even seen the contract for the sellers’ next purchase sitting on the kitchen countertop.
8. Too dark
Dark or dimly lit houses aren’t showing the home in the best light. “Particularly homes lit with CFL bulbs , Says Louise Henry, a staging professional “By the time the bulbs light up, the buyer has left the room.” Energy efficient bulbs need time to warm up before they are at their brightest, so staging professionals usually recommend turning on any light fixtures with or without CFL bulbs prior to the showing.
9. Incorrect and missing keys from lockboxes
All too often, REALTORS arrive at a listing appointment with their client only to find there’s no key to get in. “I actually had a SELLERS REALTOR who wanted me to open the door for my clients by going through the dog run as a large dog barked like crazy,” says Fournier.
10. Distracting photos
Be aware of the photos displayed on the walls too. Fournier recalls showing a family a home that had life-sized, inappropriate photos hanging, which left his clients heading for the door covering their eyes. As well, family photos can be very distracting.
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