Some Wilmington home sellers don’t quite realize that more goes into showing a home than setting an appointment. It requires presenting the home in a way that will make Wilmington home buyers look beyond the current state of the home, i.e. furniture that might not fit their tastes or empty rooms lacking vision, to see what it would be like for them to live in the home. This means paying attention to the details and staying on top of house chores, because one never knows when they’ll have enough time to clean up.
Realtor.com surveyed buyer’s agents to find out what the worse offenses were that they’ve seen made by sellers presenting their homes. Here are the top 10:
- Lingering Home Owners. Agents have walked-in on sellers sleeping, showering, eating, etc., which can be extremely awkward for buyers. There are also cases of home owners following the agents and buyers around as they view the home. While we understand that some sellers may be afraid of having something stolen or are eager to hear what the buyers think, it’s better to give them space to talk and take precautionary steps before the showing, like putting away valuables, than leave the buyer with a bad feeling.
- Dirt and Clutter. Offensives include: dirty laundry left laying around, dirty dishes in the sink, old food on the counters, un-flushed toilets, mildewy shower, stained carpets, unmade beds, full trash cans, etc. Pick up and clean up before the showing.
- Personal Items Left Out. Never leave your bills out during a showing. You don’t want to leave a credit card number, payment info, account info, etc. where it can be taken, copied, or read. Not only can your identity be stolen, but some of that info could affect an offer being made on your home.
- Pets and Their Messes. First thing, never assume your pet is “friendly” when they are home alone and facing strangers. A number of agents have reported being told that a dog is friendly only to be kept from entering a home by a growling, defensive pooch. If you can, either put them in the garage or a room (with a warning in the showing instructions), or remove them entirely. Also, make sure their messes – of the lawn variety or the toy and food variety – are cleaned up. You don’t want anyone stepping in feces or tripping over bowls.
- Wild Animals Roaming Around. Anything in the animal (or insect) category should be removed. If you need to, call an exterminator. You don’t want buyers walking in on bats in the attic and skunks living under your porch, because they won’t want to deal with any sort of infestation.
- Bad Smells. Lingering cooking smells, cigarette smoke, and pet odors can leave a buyer with a bad impression. It’s important to make sure your home smells fresh. Realize that we grow immune to the smells of our own house; so, have a friend, who doesn’t live in the house, do a smell test before you show it.
- Poor or Strange Improvement Projects. I must reiterate that buyers have a difficult time looking past the current state of a home to see a potential future in it. Bad paint jobs, incorrectly installed cabinets, mismatched or missing hardware, incomplete flooring, botched plumbing jobs, and even rooms being used for something other than their intended purposes can leave a less-than-favorable impression on a buyer.
- Distracting Decorating. Two words, “nude art”. I just blushed while typing that, but it happens more often than you think. While you may have a certain outlook on this subject, others may not. It’s important to remove sensitive displays like this to avoid alienating any buyers. Also, leopard print walls should be painted over, collectibles should be put away, and replica rooms (did you see the one made to look like the Star Trek Enterprise?) should be deconstructed.
- Dark Homes. This is especially true during autumn and winter. You don’t want your home to appear bleak. Buyers like warm and inviting. So, turn on the lights and open the shades before your home shows.
- Poor Accessibility. This ranges from no key in the lockbox to strange instructions for accessing the house to being too inflexible on scheduling. You want to make showing the home as easy as possible for anyone who may want to buy your home, so make sure buyers are able to view it.
If you have any questions about preparing your Wilmington area home for showings, feel free to give us a call at 910.202.2546 or send us a message through our Contact page.