With the current shortage of inventory and home prices on the rise, it is definitely no longer a buyer’s market. In fact, in metro areas including Atlanta, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis, Phoenix, Seattle and Portland, typical home prices rose more than 10 percent from spring 2012 to spring 2013 according to Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller home –price index. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t some major turn-offs that can make your home undesirable even in a hot market.
1. The number one no-no is a dirty home.
More than anything, potential buyers are turned off by filth and grime. Put extra effort into steam-cleaning tile and grout and if necessary, replace carpets. If your carpets are old and smelly you’re dead in the water. You want your home to be neat, clean and free of all debris. If it reeks of cats or the kitchen sinks and counters are dirty potential buyers will be on their way out the door before they see the rest of the house.
2. Fatal error number two; odors from food, pets and smoking.
Many realtors advise their clients not to cook fried food, fish or any greasy food while the house is on the market, that’s how critical it is. You also need to eliminate all traces of pets, not just pet odors. Keep pet paraphernalia out of sight and have a plan for making sure animals are not around when the house is being shown. That dog bowl or litter box will immediately turn off some buyers because even if they like dogs or cats, they worry about what accidents the animal may have had in the house. The same applies to smoking. Remove all ashtrays, clean all curtains and upholstery and consider smoking outdoors while your home is on the market.
3. Keeping any outdated fixtures and appliances.
New cabinet hardware and doorknobs probably won’t cost you more than $400 to $500 dollars, but they can make a huge difference. The same holds true for dated ceiling fans, light fixtures and kitchen appliances. Even if they are clean and well-cared for, outdated fixtures and appliances can make your home seem a bit tired and less well-cared for – even if it isn’t true. But a little updating could help you get the highest price possible for your home.
4. Finally, don’t let clutter take up space in your home.
Shopping for a new home has been compared to shopping for clothes… buyers are trying on your home to see how it fits. But if your personal items clutter up your home it will be nearly impossible for a buyer to visualize their personal things there. Eliminate family photos, personal effects, children’s toys, clutter and religious or political items. You may not want to have your home professionally staged but pare down the decorating and the amount of furniture in your home as much as you possibly can.
One trick is to think of your home as a nearly blank canvas, or as a beautiful but basic black dress that can be accessorized according to the buyer’s taste. This even applies to your closets. A good rule of thumb is that closets should be half-full, with nothing on the floor. Most people looking for a house have outgrown their previous house and showing them that there’s room to grow gives them a reason to buy. One fun realtor’s tip: place a mirror strategically so that people can actually see themselves in the home. Believe it or not, it helps them see themselves living there.
The Master Builders Association of King and Snohomish Counties provided information contained in this article. For more information or to find a qualified professional, visit the Master Builders website.