In a previous post, The Hateful Eight -8 Things Buyers Will Hate About Your House, I discussed 8 objections that buyers could have to purchasing your home. In this final installment, I identify 8 other objections that can affect your marketing time and the price that you get for your home and what you can do to at least minimize the impact on your bottom line.
Wallpaper: Wallpaper and borders, old and new, even if it is tolerable and to the buyer’s taste, is usually very difficult to remove and painting over it is not really a good option. It could require a steamer, a scraper, and a sander and sometimes the sheet rock comes with it. Hiring it out could be a costly expense that the buyer is not able or willing to tackle.
Smelly Basements and Sump Pumps: A dehumidifier is a good investment if you have a wet or damp basement. Water seepage is usually obvious and hard to conceal but getting some of the dampness out of the air especially during the humid summer months could go a long way to soothe a buyer who is skittish about dampness and sump pumps and sensitive to musty odors.
Deferred Landscaping: Weeds, out-of-control shrubs & flower gardens can make your home look like a distressed property or an unloved home. Curb appeal is a big deal. Deferred exterior maintenance could also impact your leverage in negotiating if it appears that you have lost interest in the property or are desperate to sell. Mulching, weeding, and pruning are well worth the nominal cost and elbow grease.
Dated Bathroom Colors and Fixtures: There may be no way to manage this other than to put a smile on your face and a shag seat cover on your toilet and try to ride the retro wave. Be prepared to face this negative head on unless you would consider re-doing the whole bath. You can remodel a bathroom fairly inexpensively. If your dated bath is comprised of good stuff from that era I would ask your agent for an honest opinion of how bad it is and what, if any, remedies you have at your disposal. Ask for a reference for a remodeling contractor and get a quote. It may be worth it but not if the rest of the house is dated as well.
Electric Heat: This has long been a deal breaker for some buyers. I suspect that may be less so these days with the popularity and increased efficiency of electric mini splits and heat pumps in lieu of propane and oil. Energy prices in CT are some of the highest in the country and oil and propane fall in and out of favor based on their current pricing. A good option this year may not be a good option the next. You can convert to oil or propane but at a substantial cost and one that may not be returned to you at time of sale. I don't think all electric is all bad anymore.
Lack of Central Air: Most, if not all, recently constructed homes have central air. Central air is a blessing on the hottest days of the year and/or if you or your family have allergies and want to keep pollen out in the spring and fall. Lack of central air is a deterrent especially in the higher priced homes where it is an expected amenity in that price range. Be prepared to suffer a price adjustment when compared to similar homes that offer central air in your price range. Whole house fans are helpful but not the same. Prior to our warming climate there were only a few days in the dead of summer in Northeast Connecticut where soaring temperatures could prompt a quick trip to the mall or a local swimming area to cool off. It seems those few unbearable days have evolved into multiple heat waves of 10 days or more with 80% humidity making central air a central theme of the summer months.
Smokers: If you smoke, you probably can’t smell what a non-smoking buyer smells, in most cases, the minute they cross your threshold. I've seen this cause buyers to literally flee the home to their car. This is huge and not easily remedied. You can employ many tactics such as professional cleaners, smoke paint, carpet replacement, new window treatments, window washing, upholstery cleaning or furniture removal, to rid a home of evidence of a current or previous smoking inhabitant. It may work. It may not. It's tough. There are deodorizers on the market for a quick fix but they soon wear off and frankly, I’ve wondered if they are not more harmful than the smoke. Many of these homes suffer protracted marketing times and ultimately a substantial price reduction if the residue cannot be successfully eradicated. Of course, if you found a smoking buyer it probably would be less of an issue.
Rusty or Damaged Baseboard Heater Covers: Last but not least, the dreaded rusty, dented baseboard heater covers. Whether this is just a by-product of life, kids, pets, a bad aim, or a high moisture environment, they should be replaced before you expose your home to potential buyers. They are usually standard in size and inexpensive to replace or for the frugal among us, some scrubbing, scraping, painting, and Kilz if you must.
Advice to sellers: You get one shot at a good impression when someone comes through the door. If you've made this list in some way, it would be wise to attempt to eradicate some of these issues before you put your home on the market, not after. Some objections you will not be able to overcome or manage for financial or practical reasons and that's okay. Good smells, good paint, good stuff, all make for good vibes when a buyer is weighing your property against another in a similar demographic.
Replace. Resolve. Repaint. Refinish. Repair. Refresh. Relax. Your Work is Done.
If you’re wondering what your home could bring in today’s market and what, if any, improvements you could make to make your home as appealing as possible to home buyers, contact us and we’d be happy to take a look, give you recommendations and provide a likely selling price.
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