Psychologically, when buyers tour a home, they’re trying it on to see how it fits, just as they would a skirt or a pair of pants. If your house is cluttered with too many personal items, it’s like the buyer is trying on those clothes with you still in them. A fit is unlikely.
“Anything that makes your house scream ‘you’ is what you don’t want,” Dana says. “I tell all my clients that how we decorate to live and how we decorate to sell are different, and right now, we’re decorating to sell.”
Sellers should try to eliminate personal items, including family photos, personal effects and even unique colors, she says.
“As soon as you have family photos, buyers get very distracted. ‘Oh, did I go to school with him? What do their children look like?'” she says. “Suddenly, you’re selling your family, and you’re not selling the home.”
If you really want to hook a buyer, Dana offers a tip: “I try to place a mirror strategically so that people can actually see themselves in the home, so they can actually picture themselves living there.”
7. Snoopy sellers
Realtors and buyers alike generally bristle when the seller greets them at the door for a showing.
“It’s so annoying,” Goldwasser says. “They will want to walk around with the potential buyer and put in their two cents’ worth. It’s not good. Normally, there are one out of 10 sellers where it’s OK to have them there, and that’s because they know what is up with the property and how everything works.”
Goldwasser makes a point to shoo his sellers away from showings when he’s the listing agent.
“They like to think they know what they’re doing, and that’s fine,” he says. “But when you’ve sold thousands of homes and you have a system, you know how to get people the maximum value for their home. That’s why they hire you, right?”
8. Misrepresenting your home
Misrepresenting your house online in the multiple listing service is a sure way to really upset buyers and their Realtors.
One of Cannon’s buyers loved a home she saw online. When he drove by to take a look, he was surprised to find acres of ramshackle mobile homes across the street.
“Sellers are going to paint the best picture they can,” he says. “Some listings I’ve looked at and wondered how in the world they got that gorgeous photo without showing all the junk that’s around it. When you get there, you wonder why didn’t they just be upfront?”
9. Poor curb appeal
Much is made of curb appeal, and for good reason: It’s your home’s handshake, the critical first impression that lasts with most buyers.
“You have to totally trim and edge your yard to get it into the most immaculate condition you can,” Goldwasser says. “It’s a big mistake to not freshly mulch the beds and trim the trees. Every little detail counts.
“To not power-wash the exterior or leave mud dauber and wasp and bird’s nests in your eaves and above your doors? You’ve got to be a fool to do that.”
Whether inside or out, less is more when it comes to clutter.
“I usually start in the closets,” Dana says. “Your closets should be half-full with nothing on the floor. Why? Because most people looking for a house have outgrown their previous house. Showing them that you’ve still got room to grow gives them a reason to buy.”
Kitchens and built-in bookshelves should showcase spaciousness by following the rule of three. For kitchens, there should be no more than three countertop appliances. Meanwhile, bookshelves should be divided into thirds: one-third books, one-third vases and pictures, and one-third empty.
The home office should be very generic so any type of professional can imagine living there, Dana says.
“Otherwise, it can be a distraction: ‘What does he do for a living? How much money does he make?'” she says.
Dana’s tip for toddler parents is to pack away extraneous “kiddie litter” and keep a laundry basket handy.
“When you get that phone call one hour before a showing, toss everything in that basket and take it to the car with you and your kids, and you’re all set,” she says.
By Jay MacDonald • Bankrate.com