Homebuyers can be fickle, turning their noses up at the smallest things simply because the house doesn’t fit every point on a dream home checklist. Not every home for sale will suit every buyer’s wishlist or needs. However, home sellers can take steps to make their property more attractive to potential buyers.
When selling a home, there are 10 basic mistakes that typically turn off potential buyers. Avoid these mistakes and there’s a better chance for a sale.
1. The Always-Present Homeowner
It’s usually best for homeowners to leave when potential buyers tour the house. Hovering or offering tidbits of information can make buyers feel uncomfortable and even be annoying. Buyers don’t care if you installed the new bathroom lights for the Thanksgiving that year cousin Jane visited from Minnesota.
2. Hiding the Hardwood
While carpet reigned supreme for many decades, today’s homebuyer generally prefers hardwood flooring. Even newer carpet can appear dingy and cheap, especially in high traffic areas. If your home has natural hardwood floors hidden by carpet, consider removing it before placing the house for sale.
3. Eye-Popping Colors
Many potential buyers prefer homes with neutral colors. You may love the bright yellow accent wall in your kitchen, but a buyer can see it as garish. This doesn’t mean you have to paint every room beige. But, consider redoing rooms decorated in themes, in particular kids’ rooms done in bright colors.
4. Obvious Eyesores
Your family’s above the ground pool in the backyard may have provided hours of enjoyment throughout the years. However, to a potential buyer, it’s an eyesore.
Selling a house with a pool can prove to be difficult in some cases. Some buyers simply don’t want to deal with the maintenance required to own a pool.
Around the outside of the house remove old, broken patio furniture, that rusted out lawn mover you planned to fix, and clean up the dog’s messes. Inside the house, remove/replace broken window shades and blinds. Don’t forget to clean the fingerprints from all doors, glass, and mirrored surfaces.
5. Too Much Mess and Clutter
The more stuff in a space, the smaller the space feels and looks. Before placing the house for sale, de-clutter and de-personalize each room, which can help buyers more easily “see” themselves living in the space.
We know it can be difficult to keep the house “company clean” in-between showings, but a messy home is a turn-off. Any time a buyer comes through, they should never see dirty dishes in the sink, laundry piled on the floor, pet hair clumps on the floor, or debris littering the counters.
6. Unpleasant Smells Greet Visitors
Don’t let buyers step into your home and wonder, “What’s that smell?” It’s hard to eliminate all traces of cigarette smoke, but you can diminish pet and cooking odors by regular cleaning, vacuuming, and taking out the trash.
7. Obvious Pet Presence
It’s a wonderful thing to have pets, but when selling a home it’s often best to remove things like pet beds, toys, and food/water dishes from rooms. If possible, take the pets with you when you leave the house during a showing or crate them securely and safely. Make sure your real estate agent knows the animals are in the house or on the property.
8. Insisting Guests Remove Their Shoes
The no-shoes rule is fine for friends and family, but buyers don’t want to walk without shoes through a stranger’s home.
9. Outdated Features
Buyers don’t want to feel like they time-warped to another decade when stepping into your house. Ditch the shag carpet, bright brass fixtures, and popcorn ceilings.
10. Lack of Garage
Clear the driveway and make sure the walkways are free of any obstacles or trip hazards. Buyers want to feel welcome when arriving at the home and a driveway packed with cars may make them feel like they’re late to the party.
For almost a third of home buyers, no garage means no deal. But let’s be real: a garage is a nice-to-have, not a must-have for most house hunters. Only 63 percent of U.S. homes have garages. In fact, in many urban areas, garages are practically non-existent.
If storage is the issue, it’s easy to pop a storage shed in the yard.
Given that the cost to build a garage ranges $11,000 to over $100,000, most homeowners do not want to have to add a garage just to help their home sell.
11. Inadequate Bedrooms
Look, you could make your kids share rooms. You could stick your home office into the corner of the living room. But 37 percent of home buyers simply aren’t willing to compromise on bedroom space.
Of course, building another bedroom may be an option… for those with the funds.
Adding a bedroom costs from $10,300 to almost $25,000, and that’s just the for the basics. For many homebuyers, inadequate bedrooms aren’t worth the hassle.
12. Roof Repair or Replacement
Imagine falling in love with a house, only to learn it needs a new roof. Given that this project costs an average of $5,500 to $10,600, it’s no surprise that 40 percent of home buyers would take a hard pass.
Plus, many mortgage lenders require that a roof have at least three years of life left before they’ll approve a loan. The frequency with which you have to replace your roof varies depending on the type of material and climate, but many homeowners need to replace their roofs every 12-20 years.
Even if you haven’t lived in your home that long, it’s possible the previous owner left you with a worn roof.
13. A/C Issues
For 46 percent of house hunters, a non-functioning (or worse, a non-existent) air conditioning unit is a deal-breaker. Costs to install a new A/C unit run upward of $5,500, and that’s not even counting ductwork or other parts and labor costs.
If the unit is broken, HomeAdvisor estimates average repair costs range from $160 to $550. But if the house doesn’t have A/C at all, installing a central system can cost more than $10,000.
That’s a lot of money to pour into a home… and it’s no wonder this fix turns almost half of homebuyers off.
14. Foundation and Structure Problems
Coming in first on the deal-breaker list: Structural issues. Given the expense involved in fixing foundation problems, it’s not hard to see why 60 percent of respondents mentioned this issue.
Foundation problems are costly, with an average repair ranging from $1,800 to $6,700. In many cases, a fix involves gutting the house.
Most homeowners end up paying more than $4,000 to fix structural issues. If hydraulic piers are involved, costs may run well over $10,000. That’s intimidating to all but home buyers with the deepest pockets!
Placing your home for sale is a big decision. Often it’s out of necessity due to major life changes like job relocation, divorce, or financial issues. Preparing a house to sell only adds to the stress. The good news is HomeGo buys houses as-is—no hiring a real estate agent, no open-houses, and no time and money spent cleaning and making repairs. Sell to HomeGo and you never have to deal with nit-picky house buyers.