As the spring buying season kicks into high gear, sellers are tidying up their properties, getting ready for a parade of interested buyers. But while straightening up a house is an important step to creating an inviting atmosphere, there can be other factors to consider.
“Sometimes…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,” notes a recent article by RisMedia.
Buyers like to picture themselves living in the home they’re viewing. When that house is highly personalized, they can quickly feel alienated. Below are six elements to avoid:
Live animals: Buyers won’t be as enamored with your pets as you are. It’s best to leave dogs outside or with a friend or relative during showings. Ditto dangerous or aggressive animals. (One agent recalled a listing where she encountered monkeys “that flung their feces when we would show the house”!) Also, eliminate pet odors by cleaning and airing litter box rooms, dog runs and other places your pet inhabits and remove food bowls, toys and any other evidence of pets.
Animal trophies: Elk heads, buffalo heads and other trophies may please the homeowner who bagged them, but buyers aren’t always comfortable with such items. Store any trophies until you move.
Flags: Some flags can make sellers unlikable to buyers. One agent recalls seeing a Nazi flag on the wall of a teenager’s bedroom. Another recounts showing African-American buyers a home in which a Confederate flag was displayed. RisMedia warns against any item that is “emotionally charged or polarizing.”
Sports memorabilia: Sports fans are passionate about the teams they love— and those they revile. Memorabilia of the wrong team can negatively color the buyer’s feelings about the homeowner.
Nudity: Nudity in baby pictures and artwork and, of course, pornography can turn off buyers.
Drugs: While marijuana is legal in Colorado, not everyone approves of pot and other drug use. In addition, the smell of marijuana can permeate a home. Remove all evidence of drug use.