From pet beds to princess palaces, here are 10 features that could make your home less attractive to home buyers.
1: TURNING YOUR GARAGE INTO A FAMILY ROOM
As a Realtor, I see this infraction happening a lot. But most home buyers want a secure, covered place to park their cars. This is especially true in the winter.
So when you turn the garage into a family room, you’re going to repel most home buyers by default. Furthermore, what if your buyer doesn’t have a family? Or what if they would prefer to gather with their family in the home, instead of the garage?
The garage should be used a storage location — Not only for cars, but for lawn mowers, boxes, Holiday decorations, and other household items.
2: CONVERTING A BEDROOM INTO SOMETHING ELSE
There’s a reason why the first question that a home buyer asks a real estate agent is, “How many bedrooms does it have?”
This is because bedrooms are essential to the home — And lots of home buyers in Dayton have families. Here, home buyers are often looking for a new home because they need more space — Sometimes that means having a baby, getting married, caring for a family member, or planning to do any of these things in the near future. If the home can’t accommodate these needs, they are going to move on.
If you have to convert a room into an office, playroom, man cave, craft room, or game room, make sure that it can easily be converted back to a bedroom. This means refraining form built in cabinets, special flooring, and wall mounts.
3: LAYING DOWN CARPET INSTEAD OF HARDWOOD FLOORS
Most buyers in today’s market prefer hardwoods to carpet, especially in the main living area. Carpet was cool in the 1950’s, but home buyers in the 21st century don’t care for it. Now days, most people find it to be difficult to keep clean and a heavy-duty magnet for allergens. Carpet is an absolute nightmare for parents with kids, owners of pets, and party-goers who love to entertain.
What’s worse is when buyers realize that there are hardwood floors located under the carpet. In this case, they automatically start calculating the cost of ripping up the carpet — Which always begs the question, “What condition are the hardwood floors in underneath?” And since they can’t see the floors, they get frustrated and just assume the worse.
One final note on this topic, the absolute worst place to see carpet is the bathroom (closely followed by the kitchen). I don’t see this often when showing homes, but buyers will point it out as a negative. Every. Single. Time. Nothing turns a buyer off more in a home.
4: TURNING YOUR KIDS’ ROOMS INTO A MINIATURE THEME PARK
If you turn your daughter’s room into a princess palace, you will immediately turn buyers away, because this communicates dollar signs. This is especially true if they home buyers have no children, teenage children, or all boys. The home buyer will have to paint the room back to neutral colors, tear down any miniature built-ins or doll houses, and remove decals, stickers, and hanging fixtures in order to bring the room back down to earth.
5: ADDING AN ABOVE GROUND POOL OR TRAMPOLINE
I’m sure that both items are barrels of fun, but when you’re selling a house, this is a huge turn off to potential buyers. Not only are they a huge eye sore, they often leave dead spots in the grass — And in the case of the pool, water damage on wood. Both are also huge safety hazards for parents with small children.
6: LEAVING DIRTY DISHES IN THE SINK
Dirt, in general, will repel any buyer walking through your home. But dirty dishes are one of the worst offenders because the kitchen is usually the first place buyers look when searching for a new home. The kitchen is the deal maker and the deal breaker. If you welcome them with dirty dishes, you can bet that you’ll be subjected to the latter.
7: MAKING BUYERS TAKE OFF THEIR SHOES
It’s totally understandable why a seller would request shoe removal. Lots of people walk through your home when it’s on the market and sellers hate the idea of having other people’s dirt tracked into their home.
However, buyers don’t want to be inconvenienced by taking off their shoes every time they enter a home either. Sometimes, home buyers will visit up to 5 homes in a day for weeks on end — That’s a lot of time, energy, and effort for shoe removal. Furthermore, if your floors aren’t clean, buyers won’t feel comfortable removing their shoes and will probably just leave the house, sight unseen.
The answer to this dilemma is simple: shoe covers. They can easily be purchased from the medical supply store and neither party will be inconvenienced by wearing them.
8: SMOKING CIGARETTES IN EVERY ROOM IN THE HOUSE, FOR YEARS
Cigarette smoke permeates into every part of the home — The walls, drapes, carpets, paneling, everything. Furthermore, cigarette smoke is often difficult to remove without hiring some serious experts to paint, wash, wipe, destroy, and rebuild. When you smoke in every room, you are communicating to potential buyers that they will have to put more money into to get the smell out. And this could be a costly process.
If you’ve participated in this offense, start mitigating your losses now. Relegate smoking to one part of the house, or better yet, outdoors. Start cleaning and painting rooms where you’ve smoked. Doing these simple things will help you to get top dollar for your house.
9: PUTTING PETS FRONT AND CENTER
This is a hard fact to swallow, but not everyone loves puppies. Some home buyers will think that your dog’s bed is cute, and some will be visually assaulted. Some people have debilitating allergies to animals, some people are neat freaks, and some people just don’t like pets.
Even if your potential buyers are pet lovers, seeing your pet’s belongings with fur, saliva, dirt, or dust can be displeasing to the eyes and the nose. Make sure that all toys, beds, blankets, and litter boxes are out of sight.
One final note, make sure that your dog or cat is being held in a secure location. I once had to skip showing a home because the family dog would NOT let me in the house. In another home, I had to herd cats to keep them all in. We love our pets, for their sake and that of the buyers, keep them contained (or better yet, out of the house)!
10: KEEPING OLD FIXTURES
Today’s home buyers want to updated fixtures. This can be anything from granite counter tops, to stainless steel appliances, to led lighting. Trends change over time. What was cool once, may not appeal to today’s buyer; think shag carpet, tile counter tops, white appliances, brass chandeliers. To get top dollar for your home, you must let them go.
*In an older, historic home, newer is NOT always better! If you remove original fixtures from their place in the house because they’re not to your taste, set them aside. Pull them back out when it’s time to sell, so the newer owner can choose to restore if they’d like to.
IT’S YOUR HOME… FOR NOW
Enjoy your home and do whatever you want with it. If building the ultimate playground in your child’s room just lights them up every time they enter, then go ahead! Make your home your own, just keep in mind that when you sell, it may cost you a little more.