Don't turn buyers off! Here are 11 things that are easy to fix:
Buyers will get a dark and dingy feeling when light is low. Add light fixtures, floor lamps and table lamps. Remove or reduce window coverings, blinds and shutters. Trim and prune trees and bushes that shade windows. Replace flourescent bulbs with bright incandescent light to warm up the colours. Use paint that will reflect light. Add wall mirrors to small spaces.
smells of pets, smoke and food can have buyers headed for the door. There are many products on the market to help. Since occupants can be unaware of smells, have a friend, a neighbour, or your REALTOR detect them for you. Be aware that some buyers are affected by allergies as well.
your place should be QTIP clean. Appliances should sparkle, windows should gleam. Clean corners, under and over things, every nook and cranny. Many a buyer has hurried out of a great home just because it is grimy.
Signs of neglect:
broken things, squeaky floors, missing trim, dry wall dings, crooked doors, curling vinyl, missing tiles, burned out bulbs, wrinkled carpets, don't let your list go on and on. Superficial defects can have buyers wondering what hidden defects are lurking out of sight. The buyer may walk, or worse, he may overcalculate the repair cost and may under-offer more than it would take to fix it in the first place.
buyers get scared that there are leaks, mould and poor air quality. Reduce the dampness in the basement, clean up any mildew and stains until you can permanently stop moisture from entering by checking your downspouts, perimeter drainage and plumbing.
remove distractions for those seeing your home. Your family art work, collectibles, treasures, and curios, while priceless to you, will keep buyers from imaging themselves and their family moved in and feeling at home. Repaint rooms that have dramatic colours and choose more neutral tones.
find a place to store your things, in the garage, with a neighbour, family or storage facility, and keep only those things you need in the short term. You are moving soon, so start early. Leave a spare and minimalist look, along with space in the closets.
piles of magazines, stacks of files, a web of charging electronics, work out weights, pet beds, hanging laundry, curled wallpaper, overdone throw pillows and afghans, can all give a negative feeling. Pack things away out of sight. Your buyer may be a different generation looking for a dining room and not a toy room.
Not being ready for showings:
showings are not a surprise; this could be your chance, so be ready. Delaying a showing can bring an end to that spark of buyer's interest. In fact, an agent could be on your street with buyers who like the look of the house already. If you can open the door, take a walk to accomodate short notice, you might catch the buyer at just the right moment.
Being emotionally invested in the property:
now that you need to sell, change gears from an emotional attachment, to promotion of a financial asset. Your home is now a commodity. See it through the buyers eyes. Listen to the opinions of others, including the comments after showings. Understand the comments are not there to be negative; take advantage of the input and put more money in the bank.
Ignoring curb appeal:
In most cases, buyers start with the internet or a friend or agent, they look on-line. Second they drive by the house to see if they like the community, the street and then the house from the street. If the outside leaves them cold, they never get to see the inside. All the staging in the world will not help at this point. Clean up the yard, put away clutter, rake, trim and weed lawns and borders. Invest in something seasonal: winter decorations, seasonal flowers, fall arrangements.
Coral Robinson B.A., Broker
RE/MAX four seasons realty limited, Brokerage
67 First St., Collingwood, Ontario, L9Y 1A2