Wednesday, January 27, 2010

7 Ways to Lose a Buyer

Way back in the olden days…way back in 2007, homes all across the metro area were selling in a matter of days. And sometimes a home had multiple buyers driving the purchase price higher than what the sellers were asking.

Today this seldom happens because there are so many homes available for purchase buyers can find just about anything they want at a price they are willing to pay. The market changed when the housing bubble burst. Almost immediately, foreclosures diluted home values in neighborhoods throughout the city. And buyers waited; like vultures waiting for the wounded animal to die, they waited to purchase watching to see just how low home prices would go. And some are still waiting.

Many of the realtors I talk with tell horror stories of buyers looking at thirty and forty properties and still not making a serious offer. When they ask what their customers are looking for, they get the response, “we’re waiting for the price to drop”. And for the sellers whose homes remain unsold on the market month after month, keeping the house in “showroom condition” becomes impossible.

So what’s a seller to do? My network of realtors offers the following 8 ways sellers can lose a buyer. I offer these to you in hopes that you will not repeat the same mistakes that have cost many a seller a closed contract.

Unappealing Curbside View. Think of this as your home’s handshake. The way your home looks when potential buyers drive up makes an impression that sticks with the buyers. Trimming all trees and bushes as well as edging the yard and putting fresh mulch in the beds is a must. Power washing the exterior to remove wasp and mud dauber nests is an absolute must.

Clutter with chaos. Most people looking to buy a home have outgrown the one they are in. This usually means their home is cluttered and chaotic. That’s why closets should be only half filled and nothing should be on the floor. The rest of the house should be dressed according to the rule of three. Kitchen – no more than three appliances on the counter top. Bookshelves – one third books, another third pictures and vases, and the final third empty.

Dated fixtures. Most sellers take their refrigerators and washer and dryers but leave the oven and range. These fixtures aren’t cheap, but if they are too outdated, they can be a definite cause your buyer’s eyes to roll. Those old ceiling fans may still work, but are they older than your average buyer? If so, it would be a good idea to replace them.

Wallpaper. Grandma may have had it, and you may have grown up with it in your room. Okay, you may even like it yourself. But it’s a definite fashion faux pas for today’s buyers.

Acoustic ceiling. It really doesn’t matter if the ceiling is that old acoustic ceiling tile or the blown on glitter globs of popcorn, it puts off buyers. There are other homes as nice as yours and priced like yours but look better than yours because they took the time to remove the old acoustic ceiling.

Honest dishonesty. How many times have you read something like this? “Nestled in a quiet corner of the neighborhood, the rustic romance of this home makes it a stand out from other area homes for sale. Seller offers liberal allowance for buyer’s choice updates.” What all this means is that this home sits in a cul-de-sac sandwiched between two other homes leaving a very small pie shaped front yard. It’s in a quiet part of the neighborhood because the houses on either side of it have been foreclosed and vacant for nine months. It’s described as rustic, which really should have been rusting. Honest dishonesty only puts off serious buyers. Just be truthful.

Busy body seller. Walk in to just about any large furniture store in the city and within seconds you’ll be met by a sales person who won’t leave you alone. Tell them you’re just looking and they’ll ask thirty questions about size, shape and color. When people come to look at your home, don’t be one of those sales people. In fact, it’s best to leave the house.

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