Some home features are subjective and could very well appeal to the right buyer. Worse case, they pose a problem with an easy solution. For example, a lime green accent wall will turn off most buyers but can be easily remedied with a bucket of paint. However, there are 5 deal killers I’ve found in the literally thousands of showings I’ve done that consistently put a halt in the showing. And it’s a shame because sometimes buyers really love the home until they discover the deal killer.
If you’re a seller, and you realize that one of these applies to you, don’t worry. We’ve also included solutions below to keep your showings from getting derailed:
Above Ground Pools and Hot Tubs Create Hassel
Although above ground pools and hot tubs can be fun, relatively inexpensive splurge purchases for a family, by the time that family is ready to sell their home these features usually look grimy and outdated. So, instead of buyers seeing a large backyard or a deck that would be great for entertaining, the buyers only see features that are going to collect pollen/leaves and require maintenance. As their real estate agent, when I can tell that these features are a buzz kill for an otherwise great showing, I usually inform them that we can get the seller to remove any item like this (a non-fixture) prior to closing. However, buyers never see this as a solution. Instead, they start talking about the dead grass the pool will leave in the yard once it’s removed. Or they wonder how the custom deck with steps leading up to the hot tub will look once the tub is gone. Or they ask if this request would hurt their negotiations on price.
Many sellers don’t realize that adding a hot tub or in ground pool pigeon holes their home to only the buyers who are looking for these features. The easiest solution is to go ahead and get these removed BEFORE listing the home to avoid buyer turnoffs altogether. Think of it this way: sellers are going to have to get these taken out at some point. It can either happen after the home is listed (when the property has already scared away buyers) or before it’s listed (so that the home hits the market appealing to as many buyers as possible).
Converted Garages Raise Red Flags
It’s extremely rare for buyers to get excited about a converted garage during a showing. Although in theory these can make good recreation rooms or “man caves” the tradeoff is that there’s now no place to park cars or store lawn equipment or tools. Especially If the garage is heated or cooled by a stand-alone unit (a window unit without the window), home buyers wonder how well the unit works or how long it will last. Depending on how well the space blends in with the rest of the home, the buyers might also question whether it was a DIY project that will cause problems in the future.
In Mount Pleasant (or any other coastal city), converted garages can also raise the cost of flood insurance drastically because it lowers the floor joist that is used as the lowest point in the home. Depending on where the home is located, a two foot change in this number can affect the flood insurance rate by thousands of dollars. This is why we’re seeing a trend of so many of these converted garages get converted back into an actual garage! Regardless of where you live, it’s a smart idea to go ahead and re-convert these spaces. Although it’s a pain (and added expense) to do, it will pose an even bigger problem if you can’t sell your home or have to take a major loss due to price reductions.
Cigarette, Pet, and Unidentifiable Odors Might Convey with the Home
As much as we love our dogs, we’ve always understood that we need to get them, their toys, and their beds out of the house for showings when we’ve had to play the role of sellers with our own property over the years. Sometimes we take for granted that other sellers don’t know to do this.
Even buyers who are dog owners don’t want to see fur lining the sofa, half chewed toys, or a dog who barks and claws during the entire showing. The same rules apply for smells that come from litter boxes, cigarettes, garbage disposals, trash cans, refrigerators, diaper pails, and other unidentifiable places. Cleaning (even if it requires hiring a professional cleaner) and removing these sources are easy fixes that keep buyers from turning up their noses at your home.
Any Room Cannot be Called a Bedroom
No matter how much sellers want to make their 2 bedroom house a 3 bedroom listing, buyers are quick to call this bluff. Technically, a room should have a closet to be called a bedroom. However, there’s also an unspoken rule that the room should function like a bedroom. For example, a bath should also be nearby without having to climb stairs or walk to the other end of the house. The reason this trick becomes a deal breaker is that a listing should create realistic expectations for the buyer. If a buyer expects to walk into a 3 bedroom home and instead finds 2 with an office, he immediately puts up his guard and begins questioning the seller’s desperation, honesty, or judgment. However, if this home office had been properly disclosed from the get go, it could have saved a lot of time and wasted showings. Sure, a 2 bed house is going to fall into fewer buyers’ search criteria and therefore get fewer showings. However, those lost showings were never going to turn into a contract anyway because buyers who need 3 bedrooms usually need 3 bedrooms.
Sticking Around for Showings Makes it Awkward
The absolute worst is when a seller tries to point out all the great features in his home during the showing. Even in a best case scenario, simply hanging out in the home and keeping quiet makes it awkward for everyone involved. The buyers need freedom to be able to check out closet size, comment on features, and discuss price openly when seeing a home, so a seller’s presence dampers the experience. I’ve found that buyers are usually eager to move on to the next listing any time a seller sticks around for showings – no matter how nice the seller seems.
If a seller is concerned with opening his home to strangers, the best solution is to get the listing agent to be present for showings instead. Although this is not a very common practice, it’s certainly part of the agent’s job to ensure the home is shown (even if she has to show the home herself). Buyers will feel much more comfortable with another agent around instead of a lurking seller.
Selling Your Home and Need an Opinion?
If you’re considering selling your home in Mount Pleasant, we’d be happy to meet with you to discuss your home’s value and what needs to be done to get your home show ready! As one of the top selling real estate teams in Mount Pleasant, we take pride in our knowledge of the area and our ability to create the smoothest selling process possible!