7 Ways Home Sellers Turn off Homebuyers

aggressive catI have shown a lot of property in my years as a Realtor in Southwest Florida.  Most of the interesting stories have come from showing properties with tenants as they don’t really want the house to sell and have no vested interest in making it presentable.  I have woken people up to show even though I had made an appointment; at one property the woman didn’t even get out of bed but invited us into the master bedroom while she stayed in bed!  I have met aggressive dogs and once a very aggressive cat that scared me and my customer very badly.  I have not met an aggressive rabbit though!  Here are some interesting and fun stories about what other Realtors have found when they have shown property.  Always try to have your home as ready as you can for showing.  You may think the nude baby pictures are cute but the buyer may not!  Best to put anything questionable away and bring it out after the offer is negotiated and the inspection finished!

By Marcie Geffner
(TNS)—When it’s time to sell your home, you can invest a ton of time, energy and money into getting the place ready for sale. You might declutter, stage and even remodel the house to make it as appealing to buyers as possible.

Sometimes, though, no amount of preparation can overcome something in the home that, rightly or wrongly, offends some buyers and gives them negative impressions of you and your house.

These potentially troublesome items create a dilemma for real estate agents, says Maura Neill, a REALTOR® in Alpharetta, Ga.

“We tell our seller clients to depersonalize a house,” Neill explains. “You want buyers to feel as though they could make themselves at home, move in and be comfortable.”

The risk of ignoring the agent’s advice is considerable. Buyers “may turn around and leave,” Neill says.

With that in mind, here are seven things that might offend buyers and result in fewer offers.

Live Animals
dog-329280_960_720Believe it or not, some sellers keep live, unclean and potentially dangerous animals in homes for sale.

Wendy English, a former real estate sales manager in Medfield, Mass., recalls an uncaged rabbit that she says was “disgustingly smelly” and would chase people and try to bite them when they entered the home.

“The homeowner just loved the rabbit, didn’t see any problems with it, thought it was the cutest pet ever and was maybe immune to the smell,” English says. “The rabbit was definitely horrible.”

Courtney Self, a broker/owner in Torrance, Calif., experienced what might have been an even worse situation.

“I had a listing with monkeys that flung their feces when we would show the house,” she says.

Animal-Head Trophies
Dead animals also can be problematic.

Barry Bevis, a broker/owner in Tallahassee, Fla., recalls a for-sale home that had a “trophy” room over the garage.

“The pictures of the house (online) had these giant elk heads and deer heads,” he says. “It’s better to leave it out. You’re going to offend too many people.”

bison-283920_960_720By the way, not everyone loves pets either, so food bowls, litter boxes, play toys and the like should be removed from a home when it’s on the market, Bevis says.

“Many people are allergic to animals or feel like the animals cause too much wear and tear,” he explains. “If you have any evidence of pets in your property, it’s going to turn off a large segment of buyers.”

Flags
“You never expect to see a Nazi flag hanging on the wall,” says Neill, “but we walked into a seemingly vanilla suburban house and into what appeared to be a teenager’s bedroom and there was a giant flag with a swastika on it hanging on the wall.”

Indeed, any sort of emotionally charged or polarizing display like, say, a Confederate flag, can also be offensive.

“There’s a debate about whether it’s heritage and pride or racism and bigotry,” Neill says. “Depending on who you talk to, you get a different answer.”

Bevis recalls an incident when such a flag created a negative impression.

“I was showing a house to an African-American couple,” he says. “I opened the lockbox and the key was (stamped with) a Confederate battle flag. It really did turn these folks off just a little bit. Immediately they didn’t like the people selling the house.”

Sports Memorabilia
Sports team rivalries fuel strong emotions, and a seller’s spirted support of the “wrong” team can create a sour impression.

“Having your house decked out in your team might not offend buyers, but it will color the way they think about that house,” Neill says. “It’s usually not (just the owner’s) team’s stuff. It’s also stuff making fun of their rivals. Buyers don’t want to walk into a house that’s berating their team.”

English says long-distance relocating buyers (known as “relos”) are most likely to be put off.

“Relos will come in and see Patriots stuff, Red Sox stuff, and it does rub them the wrong way,” she says. “Sellers don’t necessarily realize how strongly someone might react to their favorite team.”

Nudity
Whether it’s baby pictures, artwork or pornography, nudity makes some buyers uncomfortable.

In some cases, sellers don’t realize they’ve exposed too much information. In others, sellers want to make a statement, even if it’s at their own expense.

“Anybody who has a tasteful painting usually will get the reasoning that it makes sense to take it down,” says English. “The not-tasteful stuff, I think those people are going for the shock value, which doesn’t help sell the house.”

Self offers a few examples of things she’s seen in for-sale homes: a statue of male genitalia next to a bed, wallpaper patterned with nude women in a guest bathroom and a drunk heir (yes, a live person), shirtless and passed out on the floor.

Mystery Rooms
When buyers want to see a for-sale house, they expect to see the whole house, not just parts of it.

That makes a locked room a big turnoff, English says.

Whatever’s behind the door might be innocuous, but buyers have no way to know for sure as long as bolt-1751089_960_720they’re kept out.

“Every so often there will be a house where the homeowner will have a locked room that you can’t see and that always makes buyers say, ‘Forget it,'” English says.

Mysterious objects can trigger a similar reaction.

English recalls a home that had a very large rock covered with plywood boards in the basement.

“Part of the home inspection was that the buyer wanted to remove the plywood and see what was underneath it. It was just a rock, as the seller had said, but everyone called it ‘the coffin,'” she says.

Drugs
Despite relaxed laws in some states, marijuana and other drugs are still federally illegal and their thermometer-1539191_960_720presence or evidence of use, including odors, in a home can deter buyers.

Derek Turner, a broker/owner in Ventura, Calif., says he encountered an empty beer can wall and marijuana paraphernalia on a coffee table and kitchen counter in a for-sale home.

Turner says, “My client did not write an offer.”

©2017 Bankrate.com
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC

Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2017. All rights reserved.

Remember it is always toasty in Naples and I would love to list your house and sell it!  But when the buyers visit you want them to be talking about how awesome your home is, not how weird all the things were they saw there!

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