Guess what Homefixaters? I just bought me a house! Now I truly belong on this website as I will be really, really fixated on this new home for a while. But I’d like to chat a bit today about the journey of getting our home in the hopes that when any of you eventually sell your place, you won’t do what so many others before you tragically did. Now, I know you’re likely all much smarter than this, but because everything I’m about to relay are things I actually encountered while viewing homes this time around, I’m sharing these tips anyway.
We ended up seeing quite a few places in a short period of time. Some of the homes we looked at got multiple offers (that in some cases resulted in homes going for well over $100k of their asking prices) and some of the homes stagnated on the market, eventually getting (and having to accept) lowball offers from a developer – if they got any offer at all. The difference between these places weren’t stainless steel appliances or larger bathrooms or location – it had to do with some of the truly gross, obnoxious, and distracting elements that turned people off.
For The Love Of God, Clean Your Home
Some presume that because they like their home, other people will – and so they put no effort into sprucing the place up. I don’t care if your home rivals Buckingham Palace – no one wants to walk around in, let alone move into, someone else’s filth.
Have some pride – people are judging your house, and in a way, you. We toured places where people hadn’t bothered to wash their dishes, sweep up the floors, dispose of dead plants, dispose of dead mice, and super disturbingly, flush the toilet. Gross. I wanted to bathe myself in Purell after leaving a few of these homes. The last thing on my mind was an offer. If cleaning is not your forte hire a service from a resource like Angie’s List. to do it for you.
Turn Off The Alarm System
If you have a bunch of showings, don’t rely on the real estate agents to key in your alarm system code correctly, especially if there’s a “trick” to it like holding down a particular button for five seconds before it fully disables. At a home we went to, we thought we had entered the code correctly, but a minute into our showing an alarm started screaming and an authoritative voice started barking over the system. The homeowner, who was spying on us across the street, came running in, cursing us for setting off the alarm – which had apparently gone off three times already that day. Gee, maybe that’s not our faults then, is it? Later as we were in another room, the system went off again when another agent was showing her client the garage. Again, the maniacal owner came running in telling all of us potential buyers that we were “idiots” for not being able to manage her alarm properly. Well, this “idiot” had no interest in doing business with such a cow.
Just keep the home locked with a key in the lock box and turn off the alarm system. If you can’t bare to have your alarm off for an hour in the middle of the day, what are you saying about the safety of the neighborhood?
If you need your agent there, fine, but you – the homeowner – should not be hovering about. People want to be able to walk into a space and snoop, inspect and make observations about it to one another. With you there, people won’t feel as comfortable doing this – and if they’re not able to really explore your home, they’re not going to feel comfortable putting on offer on it. If they have questions, they’ll send them through the agent.
If you’re showing a home that is tenanted, have your renters leave for the open house as well. Pay for them to all go to a movie, if you need to. In the homes we went to that were tenanted, it was these people that did the greatest disservice to the homeowner during their BUSY OPEN HOUSES by doing the following (and I kid you not – we really encountered each of these things): being asleep in bed, napping on the couch, walking around in their underwear, yapping to people coming in about all the things going wrong with the place, cooking fish, having a fight with their girlfriend on the phone, creepily following the open house guests everywhere they went, taking showers, smoking pot in the house, and glaring angrily at everyone. Get out, get everyone out.
… And Take Your Damn Cat With You
My severe dislike of cats is well documented, but that’s not why I suggest getting rid of your cat for showings: cats stink. A litterbox has got to be the most unattractive thing I could open a door to discover. In one home, the smell of this litterbox was so overwhelming that my realtor nearly vomited – and she’s come across a lot of gross stuff in her years of showing homes. Plus, many people, like myself, are allergic to cats and the instant I see that one is around, I’m no longer interested in the place. The same tip goes for any pet. We toured a place that kept their dog outside – which is fine unless you wanted to take a look at the backyard. Man’s Best Friend was barking his head off and looked ready to lunge at anyone that went near his territory. Have your furry friends stay with a friend, family member or a kennel while your home is being shown.
Losing Your Religion
You love Jesus, I get it. A cross here, a Last Supper portrait there. A Buddha figurine in the garden to mix things up. Fine. But I can’t really get a sense of a room when you’ve painted scripture all over the bedroom wall, have Mary figurines in every crook and cranny, and have covered your ceiling with posters of the Messiah. For serious. One can’t help but think they’ve stepped into Carrie‘s house. The same thing goes for the new age types who have inspirational sayings and posters and plaques everywhere. I want to be in a home, not a self-help book.
Coming up – some tips on staging your home to really make the most of your opportunity!