Our homes are our havens and for the most part, we love them. The decision to sell your haven can be an emotional one which sometimes makes being a seller a difficult job. We have to take the emotion out of the process as best we can. Potential buyers who walk through our doors need to feel that they are viewing their next home. It’s a time when you have to pull yourself out of your home and let someone else fall in love with it.
Easier said than done. There are many things your Realtor will advise you to do so you can start moving your personality out of the home, like taking down personal photos and painting walls a neutral color. Your goal is to present a home that it’s fresh, clean, and well-built with all the utilities working properly.
The Realtor Walk-Through
When the Realtor you list with comes to walk through the house with you, they’ll make design suggestions. They’ll take notes which they’ll copy for you, to give you as many actionable tips and bits of advice as possible. They may even suggest speaking to professional stager or designer to help get the home in shape for showings and those incredibly important listing photos.
The house needs to be able to show off all of its beautiful features so that it looks it’s very best when potential buyers come for showings.
So Much to Discuss
When putting a home on the market, people are on the edge of big changes in their lives. There’s an entire spectrum of emotions and reasons why they’re about to sell. They may be excited about their growing family or are moving because of a job promotion. Perhaps they’re nervous about moving to a new place where they don’t know anyone. Sometimes the reasons are sad. Financial burdens and strains can come from the turmoil of divorce, grieving the loss of a parent, or losing their job.
The big picture is why small things fall through the cracks. It happens all the time. If you are getting ready to sell your house, keep these things in mind. If your house is listed and you just aren’t having anyone fall in love enough to make an offer, maybe you could create some change in these areas.
This 3 part post goes deep. There may be some things here that your team members like your Realtor, stager or your friends, are too close to be comfortable mentioning. It’s not a matter of keeping things from you, though. It’s just that no one wants to compromise their relationship with you. They don’t want to hurt your feelings and they really believe you will realize it on your own and quickly fix it.
Don’t worry though, we’re here to help you out. We’re pointing everything out! We’re the ones letting you know if you’ve got spinach right there in your teeth..stuck right up in the side there. We’re on your team like that.
Reasons 1-3 You’re Home Has No Offer
1. Your house smells bad
This has to be the worst one. Walking into a smelly home, a Realtor can detect how much the smell will influence the sale. A barely noticeable yet somewhat foul has the buyer asking questions and looking for the source (is that foot odor or old cheese). A really foul smell means that the buyer is crossing the home off of the shortlist. A stinky home may sell if it’s a seller’s market (maybe) but in a normal market or buyer’s market, this home is one of the last to go. Even IF it sells, it won’t sell for what it’s worth sans smell.
Bad smells cost the seller money!
The Science of Smell in Real Estate
Everyone’s house has a unique smell. These smells come from everything like the types of food being cooked in the home, to the laundry detergents that are used in the home, cleaning products, air fresheners, garden flowers, the frequency with which the windows are open, neighborhood location and businesses, etc,
This is normal. The problem arises when the smell is overwhelming, overpowering or just plain bad. This is such a huge turnoff for so many people and it really makes it hard for them to even stay in your home to view it, much less consider themselves living there. Having a prospective buyer skedaddle outside for fresh air before the showing is complete pretty much guarantees that person won’t be making an offer!
The Nose Knows – Let’s Fix That Smell
You just need to take a few steps to eliminate the odor before you list your house for sale and if your house falls under this category – don’t wait till it’s listed. We’re not trying to sound snobby but a bad home smell can mean a lot of things and some of those can be hazardous to your health like rotting wood from standing water or mold.
Try to first, get rid of or stop the cause. This might be where you call your friend..your best friend, to come around the house with you and see if he/she smells anything weird in any area of your home. Once you find anything odiferous, source out where it’s coming from so you can fix the issue.
Then move on to daily smells. Start with pet areas. Maintain your litter box or boxes daily and also just before a showing. Add a bit of baking soda on top of the liter to help absorb the pneumonia odors from the box. Actually, baking soda is a great friend to have around if you have pets. It’s can be mixed with a few drops of your favorite essential oil and sprinkled on things like pet beds in order to help with smells. You can also use it as a prelude to vacuuming to give your carpet a nice scent.
Cooking smells from different ingredients like grease, strong spices, fish, etc. can’t be easily masked so while your home is on the market, keep to spices and oils that will help give your home a pleasant odor. Cleaning up immediately after cooking will help keep cooking odors subdued so people viewing your kitchen won’t be thrown off by smelling what you cook and can envision themselves cooking and entertaining in your kitchen, which is our goal. – Get them to buy into your kitchen and get you out of your kitchen!
Smells that have been absorbed by soft surfaces in the house are going to need to be super- cleaned or thrown out. Carpets and drapes with strong odors will need to be professionally cleaned, concrete basement floors bleached, give garbage cans & cupboards a good soapy wash. The walls might even need to be washed or painted. The internet is a great resource and guide that will help you to decide your cleaning game plan. It will also be a help determining if an object will not be able to be properly cleaned and will need to be removed entirely. Certain things, like your favorite cast iron pan you love cooking curry chicken in, can just get moved out to the garage or taken to a storage unit, or be taken to a friend or family’s garage for a little while if needed.
Air out your house or use an ozone machine if opening windows doesn’t help. Fresh air solves so many problems that just popping open your windows as much as you can while your house is listed can be a great way to neutralize the inside of your home and help potential buyers see themselves in your place (or should we say ‘smell’ themselves).
Fourth, beware the plugin air freshener!! Adding in any scents after the cleaning and odor neutralizing process. Don’t overdo it with any artificial air fresheners, waxes, candles, or diffusers. What smells good to you can be a turn off for someone else. Clean, fresh air is the best!
The bottom line: your house needs to smell clean, so do everything you can to make that happen before you list.
2. See Spot Ruin
Most pet owners adore their pets and to them, they are members of the family. Many of our clients tell us their pets are like children to them, a perspective we can personally appreciate. When it comes to selling your home, whether it’s your two-legged children or your four-legged children (or you no-legged children for you snake parents out there) pets messes are akin to children messes and shouldn’t be seen by prospective buyers.
Pet mess, hair, fur, and scratches on furniture are among some of the turn-offs that get buyers considering your home fro purchase, looking for the exit. Large disasters such as ruined doors, dug up yards, chewed up couches all need to be fixed, repaired or replaced in order to keep your home in saleable.
There are some simple ways of giving the areas of the house a fast pre-showing glam-over before potential buyers arrive. Vacuum & lint-roller pet hair diligently. Tuck away pet dishes, toys, balls, and beds. Yes, people (especially if there any allergies in the buyer’s family) will know you have pets( and it’s important to disclose) but you keep it as subtle as possible so that it’s not a turn off for some people. You want buyers to feel that though you might have pets, they are the best pets in the world. They do not shed, eat, go to the bathroom or scratch the floor.
Speaking of bathrooms make sure to pick up those messes daily to avoid a dirty backyard. Get a spared litter box, keep one washed and then just switch it out daily and before showings.
Spotted areas of scratched/marked flooring or ripped carpet can be a bit more complicated. A small scratch may be able to be repaired but talk with your realtor about what you should do regarding larger damage. It really depends on the value, in fixing the problem. They will know best whether it’s worth fixing or not.
The bottom line: Now’s the time for you to shine as a pet owner. Let everyone see how well you care for your furry family members. Clean up & repair any pet damage and do your best to keep signs of pets minimal while your house is for sale.
3. Your Clutter Stresses People Out
When there’s chaos, it’s hard for people to concentrate. Ok, it’s hard for most people to concentrate. Let’s go halves. It’s hard for half of the people of the world to concentrate. While you may feel right at home in the mess-that-is-yours because you know where everything is, the buyers coming to look at your home will not understand. Therefore your genius method of filing/work-flow will go unappreciated by at least half of the people viewing it. It goes without saying then that your clutter will diminish your chances of getting an offer.
Nearly everyone knows how it feels to be overwhelmed by clutter because when it’s too much to deal with, you just want to get away from it, right? When they see art projects they worked on last night, things that are going to return to the store tomorrow, the mail they just put down, the forms that need to be filled out, sporting equipment out for the weekend’s activities, papers that kids need signed and sent back to school tomorrow. It’s a fluid, ever-changing glance at the life you live. They won’t see themselves in your cluttered space because you’re already there.
The decision to purchase a home is a very emotional one. Those same subconscious responses that make you comfortable with your clutter make others want to run from it and are also the very responses that guide people into very important decisions, like signing offer paperwork for a home.
Reacting negatively to the clutter and they don’t want to be in your home and when their heart is saying ‘get me out of here’, they are not going to immediately want to place an offer on your home. There’s no saying they won’t think things through and come to a decision that is more logic-based at a later time, but if their immediate response is a solid ‘no’, it’s going to take some convincing. (note: Time isn’t on your side as a seller – the longer your home sits on the market without a good offer, the more value it loses on its price).
A prospective home buyer without any connection to the meaning or timing of all that stuff will just feel overwhelmed. It just looks like a mess to them.
The Quickest Fix
Clean it up. Get rid of it. Box it up. Put it away. Get it out of sight and out of mind.
This can also apply to things you don’t even consider clutter. You may be surprised that some people will consider clutter things you consider a collection – so go through your house with a discerning eye: antique toy collections, gallery walls, china cabinets, movie collections, bulletin boards.
Be ruthless with all that little stuff! You’ll find it a new home soon enough.