Things I Hate Telling Home Sellers

Today, I decided to make my post a lot more like a “Dear Diary” entry.

Dear Diary,
I’m going to confide some of the deepest darkest truths that I hate telling home sellers. So here goes. In no particular order:

1. Your house stinks. This is a tough one. I always look around and try to spot the source of the smell. Sometimes it literally knocks you over from the front door and when you live there, you can’t smell it. It can be delicate, and it can be tricky but I can’t be a chicken and let my clients be one of those “Smelly cat” properties that sends good buyers running for the hills and gets the investors all excited because they know they will be buying for pennies on the dollar.

2. The paint colors you have lovingly and painstakingly selected are not great for selling. In fact, they are terrible. Ahhh, color. I love color and it is so helpful when selling if used in the right way. However, there are so many colors that are beautiful but do not belong on a wall. Ever. There are also colors that do belong on a wall and are great colors but are so taste specific or not in keeping with the style of the home that they will distract buyers and prevent offers. There have been a few times in the past when I haven’t been strong enough in my recommendations. Consequently, the seller decided that those bright, bright colors were perfectly fine. The home sat with price reduction after price reduction. Gulp. I feel responsible. (This does not mean you should paint your home white or off white or antique white… ok?)

3. Your wall paper and wall paper border need to be removed. Yeah, I know wallpaper is cool again. And all the HGTV designer shows feature funky wallpaper on accent walls. Ok, ok I give. Depending on what it looks like AND IF your wallpaper was put up in the last 12 months – I just might not recommend you take it down. Don’t think though that the resurgence of wall paper makes your 1990s or early 2000s era wallpaper cool. It’s taste specific and yes, it dates your home. Buyers perceive this as a huge amount of work to remove. After all, isn’t that why you haven’t taken it down yet yourself?

4. Buyers don’t like colored bath fixtures. I know the sink and toilet are vintage fixtures, found at ReSource or salvaged from a remodel. And that the right buyer might find them funky and cool. However, that pool of buyers is much smaller than the pool of buyers who won’t. My job is to give your home access to the big pool of buyers not the small one. You can still use them, they can be re-finished for a lot less than replacing them.

5. Buyers loathe Hollywood Light Bars. Yes, I know they are dead easy to change out. Black wire to black wire, white wire to white wire, and green or copper to ground (copper). I about croaked when I sold my house and buyers deemed my entire house dated because the master bath had not yet been updated. (They looked past new granite counters, new stainless appliances, gleaming hardwood, floor to ceiling windows, updated lighting and other updates… what?) Lesson learned. Change them out, and the faucets while you are at it. Your pocketbook will thank you. Profusely.

6. A flooring allowance is a terrible idea. Sorry. Save yourself $10,000 or more and change it out now. Choose a decent quality neutral that is on sale. Buyers will take your allowance and then further deduct what they think it will cost (which is always way more than actual) plus your house just won’t show as well as houses with updated flooring. You are better off just making it look great. Problem solved. In some cases, it’s like making your house worth $20k more.

7. Your decor isn’t great for selling. It could be too grandma, too country, too modern, too stark, too southwestern, too funky, too bachelor, too dated, too taste specific or just too much… I tiptoe around this one the most because sellers love their decor and think it is wonderful. Hey everyone has different taste and that’s one of the great things about the world. However, when it comes to selling there are things that definitely don’t work and things that definitely do. I remind myself that if my goal is to help sellers get multiple offers, I need to do my job. There are so many ways we can make that decor more appealing and more current. Woo – what a relief.

8. All signs of animals, exotic or otherwise should be eradicated from the main living areas of the house. Depending on the home we can have a dog bed in the laundry room but things like crates, cat boxes, food bowls, exotic pets, bird cages, should be 100% out of sight for showings and photos. Hey, I know your furry friends are a part of the family and I love animals too. I grew up on a rather large ranch surrounded by animals and share my home with a cat and a dog. The thing is though, nearly half of all buyers don’t like pets. Or at least they don’t like them in the house. Why eliminate 50% of your target market?

9. The kid toy explosion – it must be reined in. Oh, this is a common one. And it’s not always toys, it might be strollers, baby seats, baby backpacks, baby swing, diaper bags and the myriad of items that go along with having kids these days. Even though most buyers like kids, they aspire to live in a home with enough room that these items are never in the living room, dining room, family room or kitchen. Yes, they are buying a fantasy. Sort of like everything else we buy right?

Well Diary, I’m tired. I’ll have to confide more later… until tomorrow.

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