Getting ready to sell? Or maybe you've already got your home listed and have had a few showings. Either way, there are some hard and fast deal-breakers that sellers don't think of - and these deal-breakers can scare a potential buyer off without them even knowing why. Take a look at the pictures and see if any make you uncomfortable - imagine how a buyer would feel!
10. Laundry - Dirty or Clean!
I'll often recommend running a load of laundry right before a showing so that the laundry area smells clean, fresh, and well... like laundry! However, leaving any laundry out is a big no-no. As
a mom of 3, I understand how hard it is to stay on top of the nonstop laundry - but try not to have it visible at all! Tuck all hampers into closets - and if there's not room for that, get a basket to tuck under the bed with the laundry in it or designate a dresser drawer as a hamper. If it's in the laundry room, tuck it away into cupboards - even when it's in the dryer I know I get a bit uncomfortable, so I'm sure it makes buyers uncomfortable too. If all else fails, throw it in your vehicle with you while you go out for the showing. Remember: you are trying to sell your property as quickly as possible, and these minor inconveniences are temporary! You've got this!
9. Family Pictures and Items With Your Last Name
We've all got them, they help make it feel like home. In our foyer is a picture of our home that says "The Wozniaks" and in the kitchen is another one that says "The Wozniaks, est. 2009". The thing is, those are what make the house feel like OUR home. Not the buyer's. This is a whole other blog post, "3 Good Reasons To Remove All Personal Items When Staging", but trust me, you want to remove all pictures of yourself and your family, and anything that stakes your claim on the property.
8. Bills and Mail
Aside from the bills and mail having your name on the envelope, if these are open they are extremely personal! This can be embarrassing for you, but it also makes it awkward for whomever sees this sensitive and personal information. This also allows the buyer to obtain a lot of your personal info (ex: a credit card bill, your power bill for your cottage, school information of your children...). All this info goes hand in hand with #7...
7. Prescription Bottles
You may think tucking prescription bottles into your medicine cabinet is getting them out of sight, but 9/10 clients I ever take through a home will pull on the medicine cabinet in bathrooms to see if it opens or not. They aren't opening to be snoopy, they just are curious if the storage is there. Regardless, I recommend taking any pill bottles with your name with you in your purse. Another idea is to make a basket that you can have in and out of the house with articles like this that you use daily but don't want the world to see.
6. Things You Think Are Funny
Your morning mug that has a swear on it, or the cushions on the couch that you got for your 10th anniversary that have a punch line about where you've done the deed may give you a chuckle, but they make strangers uncomfortable. There, I said it. If it's something you wouldn't want your boss or grandmother seeing, then best to pack it up for your next home now. Sure, someone might have a chuckle, but when you're staging your home to sell it you want to appeal to the masses. Meaning 9-10 out of 10 people, not 1 out of 10.
5. Pets and Pet Items
I know, you love your pets. We love our cat, Simon, at our house too. But we need to remember that although we love out pets, not everyone loves them like we do. In fact, pets can be a major turn-off for many buyers. If you can take your pets with you or have them go to grandma's for showings, that's a definite help. I also suggest removing any pet beds, litter boxes, food containers and toys if possible. If this is too much, make sure that litter box is cleaned out!
This may or may not come as a surprise, but my next 5 items that make potential buyers uncomfortable are all in the primary bedroom and ensuite area:
4. Shampoo, Conditioner, Shower Gel, etc.
4. Shampoo, Conditioner, Shower Gel, etc.
When it comes to bathrooms, you want to think of them like a hotel room. Buyers know someone lives there and uses it, but they don't want to see any evidence of that. A shower or bathtub full of half used bottles makes the buyer's subconscious mind associate the shower with the owners of the house. This makes them instantly uncomfortable and want to leave. This actually goes for all of the next 4 items as well. I suggest getting a mason jar with a pump and putting shampoo, conditioner, and shower gel in there - and that's it. The shower looks nicely organized and clean (wipe the bottles down after use), and no other items are in the shower (like in #3...)
3. Toothbrushes, Razors, Loofahs, Pumice Stone, etc.
No one wants to see what you do to be as good looking as you are - keep those secrets to yourself instead :). Did you know that a cleared countertop makes the entire bathroom appear bigger? Get a basket or two for in drawers or in the cupboard under the sink and tuck all personal items in there when you know you have a home showing coming up. Again, make it look so clean it looks like no one lives there.
2. Used Towels
These are a definite no. When we sold our house last year, I would run through the house and remove every towel from every bathroom and the kitchen and throw them all in a laundry basket and throw it in the back of my SUV. Unless you want to sabatoge your showing and give people the heeby-jeebies, don't leave any used towels out. Instead, buy yourself some new ones to put out for showings only. These can be your treat to yourself when you move into your new place and you can use your new towels there!
1. Alarm Clock
This is an easy one to just tuck into your night stand, but it has a big impact. The Primary Room is the one that is the most personal, so potential buyers are already on edge going in there. If they see your alarm clock, they subconsciously associate it with you being woken up, which means they are now picturing you in bed. Even if they don't know who you are, they know someone sleeps in the bed. And then the bells in their subconscious are really clanging the uncomfortable bell. Again, make it like a hotel. Clean, fluffy, inviting, and not at all personal.
A lot of home staging has to do with a buyer's subconscious awareness. They may not even realize what makes them uncomfortable, but you want to be reactive rather than proactive. Remember: the houses that sell fastest and for top dollar are the ones that are free of any evidence that anyone really lives there. Make it a fresh canvas for the buyers to pictures themselves living there and it will be sold in no time!
Save this post so that when/if you are planning to sell, you can go back and use it as a quick and easy checklist! Good luck in your home sales and if you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact us!