We’ve all experienced that moment when we know exactly what someone is ‘saying’ without them uttering a word. Whether they are happy or sad, angry or grateful, anxious or at ease we can often tell just from their body language exactly what they are “saying”. Well, Mr or Ms Seller, what is your house “saying” behind your back to potential buyers?
I showed a house last week to a client. The home had been completely remodeled and was ‘priced right’ for the area. Afterwards I found out there had been 91 showings and no offers. That is almost unheard of in this market. But, minutes after entering the house my client said, “Something just isn’t right”. She couldn’t put her finger on what it was but I knew! The house was talking behind the seller’s back and it wasn’t saying anything nice. The house said things like, “whoever laid this tile floor didn’t know what they were doing”. It also said told us, “The sellers didn’t care enough to straighten that wall or fix that door; I wonder what else they didn’t care about?” It said, “Wow, a newly remodeled house is usually spotlessly clean but no one bothered here.” We also heard it say “Hmm, maybe you should worry about what else might be wrong?” So we decided not to go any further because “something just wasn’t right”.
There are endless articles and lists that tell a seller what they need to do to get their home ready to sell but often what may seem to be a small thing, and easily ignored, is what makes the biggest statement.
Here are some suggestions to keep your home saying only nice things behind your back:
- Your house shouldn’t be clean it should be IMMACULATE. A little bit of untidiness like a clothes basket full of clothes in the laundry room or clean dishes drying on the counter is easy for a buyer to understand but dirty baseboards, dirty windows, cluttered and dusty cabinets, grease and dirt covering the garage floor, a mud splattered back door or a furnace and water heater covered with dirt and dust will have your house saying mean things behind your back.
- Every door and window should open and close easily or your house just might say, “they don’t really care about fixing the small things so the rest of the house must really be bad.”
- Do NOT use air fresheners FIX THE PROBLEM. Otherwise, your house just might say, “the basement must be damp” or “the dog or cat must have peed in the house”. It might simply say, “I think they’re trying to cover something up”. If the cat peed, replace the carpet, rug or furniture, if the basement is damp, fix the problem. Whatever is making your house smell, make it go away, don’t just cover it up.
- Have someone you can trust to be completely honest AND who you will listen to (your Realtor or a friend) walk up to your house, open the front door and tell you EXACTLY what they notice first. Make a list of things to be corrected and then FIX them.
- Next ask them to take off their shoes and walk through your entire house. Have them write down everything they see and feel. You’d be amazed what you notice with your shoes off. They will see what your buyers will see. Have them make a list of anything negative and then FIX it.
- Don’t forget about the outside. Dirty or broken door knobs, holes in the yard, walls that are falling over or fences that need repair. Check steps and handrails and for goodness sake pick up the dog poop!
Your house is always talking behind your back; make sure it’s saying something nice.