Remember when you prepared to go out on a first date? You made darn sure your clothes were ironed, your shoes polished, your teeth brushed and flossed (maybe twice), and perhaps you dabbed on a bit of cologne or perfume. In the middle of dinner, you might have even snuck into the bathroom for a spray of Binaca (do they still sell that?)
All of this was done in an attempt to impress your date, or at the very least to not turn them off. First impressions matter.
They matter when you are selling your home too. Not everyone owns the most beautiful move-in ready home with granite counters, stainless steel appliances, a perfect paintjob, and clean, stain-free carpets. So, while you may not be able to sweep every potential buyer off their feet, at a minimum, you can most certainly avoid the following
5 SUREFIRE WAYS TO TURN OFF A BUYER:
Ferocious Dogs: Nothing against pets. To many people, their dogs and cats are a part of the family. However, when you're trying to sell your home, Mr. Pit Bull or Mr. Rottweiler may make potential buyers skip your home. There have been times that I've been with clients who wouldn't even allow me to open the door when they heard loud barking inside.
When you are selling your home, it's often best to take the pets with you while your your home is being shown, leave the animals with friends or family while your home is on the market, or put Fido in a cage in the basement.
Outdated furniture and decorations: You may love the flowery wallpaper and pink carpeting, but it's unlikely that the new buyer of your home will. Most buyers understand that they'll redecorate after they buy your home, but strange colors and ugly appliances or furniture and bizarre wallhangings can certainly be a turnoff. Rooms overstuffed with clutter can also make it hard for a buyer to imagine the home without "all the stuff"
You may consider some quick, simple and inexpensive fixes such as repainted with neutral colors, storing excess clutter in a garage or storage facility. Another option is to hire a professional stager to really make your home shine.
Smelly!: There's a reason you put on cologne or perfume before that first date. Our sense of smell is very strong. Can you imagine walking into a beautiful home only to turn around after catching the first whiff? Pet odors, mildew, strong cooking smells, cigarette smoke can be the strongest odor offenders.
Take some time to thoroughly clean your home. Air fresheners can help but don't fully cover up these scents. Additionally, overdoing the air fresheners can make potential buyers suspicious of lingering odors.
Darkness: Darkness was one of the Ten Plagues that were inflicted upon the Egyptians in the Bible. Don't plague your home sale -- "Let There Be Light!" Dimly lit rooms appear gloomy. Buyers are attracted to homes and rooms with lots of natural light. Darkness may work for haunted houses, but it doens't work to help sell your house.
Make sure you replace or repair lights that don't work, keep the shades up, and clean the windows to let in the maximum amount of light into your home.
Wet Basements: In Florida, there's no such thing as a basement -- it's called a pool! In Virginia and D.C., many, if not most, homes have basements. Signs of current or past water damage are a certain turnoff for homebuyers. I've had some clients who only want to view homes after a big rainstorm to make sure that the basements do not get wet.
If you get water in your basement, get your foundation inspected for damage. You may also need to install a dehumidifier or sump pump.
If a homebuyer is going to make it past the first date and enter into a relationship with your home, you've got to make sure that your home makes a good first impression and doesn't turn them off.