Cashman Partners is dedicated to helping our sellers maximize their value in the eyes of prospective home buyers. In rare cases, we can walk in to a property and prepare it by simply fluffing pillows and bringing in a few fresh flowers. In the majority of our listings however, it takes neutral professional eyes to help our clients see what we know buyers want to see. It’s a delicate business no doubt, since we are attached emotionally to our homes. But in this very competitive Arizona selling market WE want to be the next house to sell.
With that said, working in partnership with our sellers is critically important. As the shift to a buyer’s market continues, decisions are being made more slowly, and negotiations are taking longer. Deals are falling apart during the inspection period, when buyers discover things that are transaction killers for them. Putting your BEST product out there is essential. We will have a big challenge getting the money our sellers want unless the home is in move-in condition. Having read an article this morning on the Realty Times website by Blanche Evans, I was inspired to take her top five turnoffs and apply them to our business here and what we have seen.
What are the top five buyer turnoffs?
Overpricing. Our sellers consult with us on this subject and our answer is this: Buyers shop in thresholds. If they are looking in price ranges UP TO $1.5M and your home is positioned at $1.525M, you will not get picked up by these people. Hit targets just under those thresholds and you’ll be the home they REACH for, not the one they can afford MORE than. $499K instead of $510K, $849K instead of $859K, etc. Even the best marketing team in the world will not be able to sell an overpriced home. What are the signs? No calls, no showings, and ultimately, price reductions and a delay in selling your home.
Condition Issues & Deferred Maintenance. What buyers see on the outside is a harbinger of what may be going on inside. Repairs that have not been made and maintenance that has not been done send a message: The sellers have not taken care of their home either because they can’t afford to or because they just “let it go”. Condition may not have a price tag, but a buyer would much rather move into a home they know has been meticulously cared for as opposed to a tired, beat up home. Things like weather stripping around doors, scuffs, dings and unfilled nail holes on the walls, broken door and cabinet hardware, cracked or missing tile grout, missing switch plates or smoke detectors, noisy or unbalanced ceiling fans, mismatched or burned out light bulbs…the list is endless. But these things really need to be addressed BEFORE the home goes on the market.
Odors. What happens when you meet a person with bad breath or body odor? Well, the same applies to homes. This is an enormous turnoff, and homeowners who have lived with smells become acclimated and may not notice them. This includes pet odors (the worst of which is cat urine), cigarette or cigar smoke, heavy food smells, water damage, dirty laundry, etc. We have been with buyers who walk in to a home and never make it past the foyer. You can have a well priced home with great condition but if there’s a smell, it won’t sell. Of particular importance with pet urine, is that replacing the carpet and pad is not enough. Often sellers will have to chemically treat and re-seal the concrete after carpet removal, just to eradicate the odor.
Too Much Stuff. This is where it gets personal. Cashman Partners’ clients know we are making suggestions to remove “clutter” based on our experience with buyers. When buyers walk into your home, they need the latitude to envision themselves living there, with THEIR furniture and THEIR clutter. If there are sentimental things that may not be packed up, we ask our clients to let us know and we will be sensitive to this. But an over-furnished room diminishes its size, and an over-accessorized counter top may overshadow the beauty of the granite. We believe in showing that a home is happily lived in, certainly. But our job is to find that delicate balance between staging to sell and comfortable clean living. Keeping personal, religious, and political items out of sight is best. We don’t know what our buyers’ hot buttons are. Something simple may turn them off and we may not have a clue. And above all, please do your dishes!
Dated. This is a BIG word in real estate. Dated kitchens and baths with old appliances, brass fixtures and formica counters, dated flooring, finishes and lighting fixtures automatically put big price tags in our buyers’ brains. They may walk in and say something will be $5000 to update, when in fact it may only be a few hundred. Dated finishes automatically reduce the purchase price, often times by way too much. Remember that most people are not able to envision something different than what is there. They can’t see potential. On the buy side, we take time with our clients to help them visualize concepts, but not all agents can or will do this. Some things sellers cannot change – maybe the architectural style of the 1990’s or the low clearance ceilings of the 1970’s. Perhaps your home really is “retro” and you can actually create charming decor around your dated items. Some architecture allows for this, but most of the time, you will be competing against home sellers who HAVE renovated and will command a premium price. This gets down to our sellers’ expectations. If you don’t want to do any updating, you cannot expect a premium price in the neighborhood.
Cashman Partners takes the time to really work through these things with our sellers, creating punch lists to help our homeowners stay organized with their “honey-do” lists. We believe in presenting a perfect product every time, even if it has intrinsic challenges. As we have said time and time again, 90% of our buyers are looking on the internet first. If your home isn’t ready to list, get it ready and do it right the first time for a perfect first impression!
Contact us today if you are contemplating the sale of your home, and we’ll help you get there.