Home Selling Series, Part Two: Creating an Inviting Home Atmosphere

In Part One of the Home Selling Series, we discussed behaviors which turn off buyers, and how sellers could avoid those behaviors.  In Part Two, of this three part seller series, we’ll discuss which home aesthetics can turn off potential buyers— and how to avoid these appearance pit falls when selling a home.

Tara shared three ways a home’s appearance might turn off buyers in her article 6 Things That Turn Home Buyers Off (and What Sellers Can Do To Prevent It)!. Two involve how the home is viewed during showings and the third involves marketing appearance. The terrific news for sellers: it is not difficult to avoid all three turn-offs!

A home which is not in the best shape, is dirty, smelly, or stuffed to the gills with personal belongings, will not show well (number 2).  This buyer turn-off seems to be a no-brainer, but it never hurts to make mention of this fact. It will pay off for sellers to give a home a deep cleaning, and de-clutter, prior to listing.  Purchasing a home is always one of the most important purchases people make.  Purchasing a home during the economic climate our country has experienced in the last two years is an incredibly dear purchase, one that buyers are making only after very careful consideration. Presenting the best possible first impression to buyers is extremely important.  A home which has been meticulously cleaned prior to listing will show better.

What are sellers to do, if their house needs some TLC before putting it on the market?  The perfect place to start is to do an audit of the home. Here’s a checklist sellers can use to perform the audit, and determine what items need to be spruced up. If the home contains carpeting, and pets have occupied the home, it may a good idea to neutralize any pet odors trapped in the carpet. [Note: When vacuuming wet carpet always use a wet/dry vacuum, which is set up to handle vacuuming up water]. If any floor coverings are going to be replaced, and pets lived in the home at some point, this video explains how to clean the subfloor to neutralize any pet odors which may have penetrated it. Natural light always brightens a room. It will also freshen it up.  Sunshine, it turns out, is not only a natural stain remover, but also helps fight odor causing germs because UV light kills some germs and dust mites.

After doing an audit of the home, sellers may want to do some upgrades to increase the appeal of the home.  Repaint walls with neutral paint colors, and consider replacing flooring with hardwoods rather than new carpeting, to create a “blank canvas” for potential buyers. Neutral colors can help buyers visualize how the home fits their lifestyle. Consider skipping major upgrades to kitchens and bathrooms.  A big buyer turn-off is a new, highly personal upgrade which they do not find appealing (number 5).  Buyers do not want to be wasteful and immediately replace a new upgrade to a home, especially if they think the list price of the home reflects the cost of the recent upgrade. In the theme of the “blank canvas,” it might be more appealing to buyers if you purchased new, energy efficient appliances for the kitchen rather than completing a full remodel. Replacing the home’s front door is a simple, cost effective project which currently gives sellers the best return on investment. First impressions and curb appeal mean a lot!

Once the home is prepped for sale, and an agent is selected to work with, sellers will begin the listing process. Along with all the paperwork involved in listing a house for sale, the home should be photographed for flyers and online marketing. The first introduction to a listing is often through the photographs potential buyers look at online. It is a huge buyer turn off (number 6) if the photos are odd or unappealing; it’s even worse if there are no photos of the home at all. Tara mentions in the article a listing which featured a lovely green front lawn, and in the photo of the front yard the family dog is doing his “business” right on the lawn! Sellers, take the time to go over the photos being used in your home’s marketing material— for both the print and online advertizing. Work with your agent to help stage the home for the photos, and ask your agent to photograph the home on a sunny day, if possible. This way the home’s natural lighting is nicely featured in the listing photos.

The final installment of the home selling series will discuss housing related “hot button” information which buyers get excited about— and how sellers can use this information to attract potential buyers. Stay tuned!

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