As we approach Halloween, I thought I’d put together a list of how listings can scare away potential home buyers. While many Realtors® already know this information, this list can be very helpful to homeowners. Feel free to take these elements and remind your buyers not to scare away their prospects!!
As a Realtor®, you know that poor pricing is the first thing that will spook a buyer. If the listing is too expensive, they’ll obviously choose a better-priced option down the road. An overpriced listing means no sale until the price is brought back into reality.
However, underpricing is also scary – it sends the giant red flag that “something is wrong with this house!” Remind even very motivated sellers that not only does underpricing leave money on the table, it will scare away serious-minded buyers.
Clutter and Dirt
Everyone knows to wash a car before they sell it, but somehow forget that this translates into homes as well. If there is a lot of clutter or dirt in a listing, buyers will get freaked out – it basically sends a message that a home has been poorly maintained. No one wants those kinds of unexpected surprises!
A deep cleaning can seem overwhelming to some homeowners, so make sure you have a cleaning service on your vendor list. You may even be able to work out a deal with them where your listings get a percentage off of the full service.
Bad Photography or Video
Showcasing a home at its best is essential to getting top dollar. If you have dim photos or murky video, you’re obviously not showing the best parts of a home – you’re just scaring people off!
Hiring a professional photographer can be expensive, and some homeowners are sure they can do it themselves. I recommend having a “scare file” of poor home photos, side by side with much better photos, and ask them which they would buy.
Overly personal décor and poor staging are setting buyers up for a frightful experience. Many times sellers will say, “But I love this color!” I’m sure you do, but you’re selling – and your buyers don’t! Remind them that they can decorate their new home however they like.
In addition, old ratty furniture and oversized pieces can really dampen a buyer’s mood. Some home buyers don’t want to pay for staging and storage, but this is another opportunity to remind them that they will get top dollar if they spend a little up front.
I’m always amused by those Febreeze “nose-blind” commercials, because so many sellers are exactly like this! I’m glad they’re used to living with two dogs and three cats, but the smell is significant. Odors scare away buyers because they’re an indication of poor upkeep.\
Depending on the odor, it can be expensive to get rid of it, but it’s worth every dollar to a motivated seller. If a seller is completely unwilling to handle odor issues in the home, they may not be that motivated to sell. Certainly, the home will sit on the market a long time, if it sells at all.
In another case of “If they let this go, what else is falling apart?” let me present landscaping. Homeowners are very focused on the inside of the home when it comes to selling, but outdoors is just as important. A ratty yard, dirty pool, or poor landscaping shows that the owners don’t care as much as they should.
No buyer wants to be surprised by something hiding behind the walls or under the roof of a home they just purchased, and poor landscaping is a major red flag that there could be something scary lurking inside.
It’s easy for buyers to get spooked – sometimes they all seem to be looking for a reason not to buy, instead of enjoying the home. When your sellers have addressed these six issues, though, your listing will be well on the way to selling quickly and at top dollar.
What issues have you seen scare a buyer away? Share in the comments!