The 9 Things That Turn Off Home Buyers

If you’re a seller, fix them fast!
As a home seller, you can’t always guess what will turn a potential buyer away, but you should always try. In many cases, you could add thousands of dollars to the selling price with relatively cheap fixes. The following are common “home buyer hates” that could easily be fixed, sometimes even for free.
  1. Popcorn ceilings. These rough-surfaced ceilings, also known as stucco or acoustic ceilings, were popular in the 50s through the 70s, but today make homes look outdated. In order to fix it, don;t worry about scraping it off, instead install ceiling grade gypsum board which costs less than $2.50 per square foot and only lowers your ceiling about one-half of an inch.

  2. Insufficient storage. Small closets and cupboards are a difficult problem to correct, but the effect on buyers can be minimized rather easily. By removing at least half of whats currently stored, you can make small storage areas look roomier. For example, leave enough room between garments in a closet so that you can run your hand between them and barely brush the fabric on each side. Store what you took out in a rental storage unit or a plastic bin in your garage for about $10 to $20 apiece. 

  3. Messy laundry rooms, garages, basements. Most people know that you should clean and declutter when people are coming to see your house. However, often they don’t realize that cleaning for buyers is different than cleaning for house guests. Unlike guests, buyers look everywhere and judge accordingly. In order to help neaten up the unusual spots when your real estate agent calls to arrange a quick showing, throw your laundry piles in the washer or dryer or even in the back of your car as you leave. If you garage or basement is cluttered back it all up in matching stackable storage bins or toss it in a storage locker. If your closets or cupboards are messy, buy matching baskets and stow the mess inside of them, then leave those baskets in the closet or cupboard. It makes them look tidy even if hey aren’t. 

  4. Insufficient light. Dark, shadowy areas can create a sense of foreboding and ill ease. Shadows can make a room or hallway appear dirty, too. To help fix this, turn on all lights and open all window blinds, curtains and shades. If there are still dark areas, increase bulb wattage and/or add lamps. Reasonably attractive free standing lamps can be found for less than $100 and can be taken with you when you go. Also, confirm every bulb in the house is working before showings. Burned-out bulbs send a message that the home is flawed. 

  5. Dark or boldly colored paint on interior walls. Brash colors inevitably are not the ones many potential buyers would have picked, making it hard for them to imagine themselves living in your home. Your colors also might not work with buyers furniture… and dark walls can make rooms feel smaller and less inviting.  In order to fix this, apply a coat of primer/sealer and then repaint in a neutral color. Primer/sealer is especially important. If you don’t want to do the job yourself, professional painters might charge $400 to $800 for an average 10 foot by 12 foot room, not including cost of the paint.

  6. Wallpaper. Many types of wallpaper have been falling out of fashion and can make a home seem out of date. There are exceptions, but as a rule of thumb, wallpaper will be a turnoff for most buyers. Unless the wallpaper was chosen by an interior designer in the last decade or it is attached to the home’s history, strip it away and paint the walls. If you don’t wand to do it yourself, it can be tricky, expect to pay a pro around $1 per square foot for removal.

  7. Dated or dingy bathrooms.  It is quite apparent that an unappealing bathroom can greatly detract from a property’s appeal. What many sellers don’t realize, is that they can downplay this problem with out renovating the whole bathroom. In order to accomplish this, buy a set of thick, fluffy, bright white towels. Never use them, just hang them up on the racks before showings. Roll some smaller white hand towels and stack those in the bathroom. Also hang a bright white shower curtain. These items make the whole bathroom feel cleaner and fresher for a total price of less than $100. It can also be helpful to bleach stained grout, repaint peeling trim,  and replace failing caulk.

  8. Gold faucets and fixtures and crystal faucet handles. These style fixtures have gone out of style and make kitchens and bathrooms seem dated. Replace these with brushed-nickel faucets. It’s classic and timeless not to mention you can find very nice kitchen sets for less than $200 and bathroom faucets for less than $100. 

  9. Pets in the house.  It creates a variety of problems when pets are in the house. Some buyers are allergic and some pets don’t like strangers in their home. If your house is going to be shown many times in a short period, board the pet(s) with a kennel, pet day-care service or friend. Alternatively, you could take the pet when you leave for showings or arrange for a local pet-walker to pick up the pet.


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Copyright © 2017 by Kathryn Gorham, All Rights Reserved. Permission granted to re-blog or re-print with the stipulations that you do not alter the original content and that you provide a link back to this article in the re-blog or re-print. Original article by Will Johnson; his article with the same title… The 9 Things That Turn Off Home Buyers

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