If you're getting your house ready to put it on the market, keep in mind that buyers are looking for their dream home. Your job is to make them believe that your home is their dream. In order to sell them the dream, though, you'll need to avoid the ten things that will completely kill the illusion and guarantee that no home buyer will ever by your house.
Dream homes don't smell. If you have pets, if you smoke or if your basement gets damp and mildewed, your house will tattle on you. A house that smells doesn’t’ sell - it's that simple. You may not even notice the odors yourself - but someone who doesn't live in it and isn't used to them will. Ask a friend for their honest opinion - and if they tell you that your house has unpleasant odors, don't try to cover them up. Tackle the root causes by cleaning down to the shine - and then avoid building odors back up. Move the cat's litter box outside, and if you must smoke, do it in the yard. Don't overlook more transient odors either. Avoid cooking pungent, garlicky or highly spiced food within a few hours of a home showing. And while baking chocolate chip cookies or apple pie won't sell your house, it certainly can't hurt.
2. Evidence of pest control
People living in dream homes don't need to put out mouse traps or roach bait. Make sure that any pest control items are well out of sight when you're showing a house to avoid any hint that there's a pest problem in your house.
3. Clutter and personal items
When prospective buyers are looking around your home, they want to see themselves in it - not your family. Buyers don't want to buy a ‘lived in home’. They want their own, special dream home. Put away pictures, albums and mementoes, clear off countertops and get rid of clutter.
4. Overstuffed storage space
When you clear away the clutter, move it further than the nearest cabinet. If your closets look like Fibber McGee's, spend a weekend paring them down. Buyers will want to open closet doors and see attic and basement storage space. If those spaces are overcrowded, they won't be able to gauge the amount of space they have. Not only that, overcrowded closets subtly hint at other hidden ‘secrets’ - if you're hiding your clutter, what else might be hidden behind the walls?
5. Stained ceilings and walls
Water stains on your ceilings and the tops of walls are evidence of leaks - either in the roof or in the plumbing, and that's trouble no one wants to buy. If there IS a leak, get it repaired. Once it's fixed, prime and paint the damaged walls and ceilings.
6. Dirty bathroom
It doesn't matter how clean the rest of your house is if your bathroom is dirty. Scrub the tiles, get rid of every sign of mildew and make sure that the fixtures shine. Not only does a dirty bathroom smell bad, it hints at a basic lack of cleanliness about the entire house.
7. Dated and worn-out wall-coverings and flooring
Threadbare carpet, worn and missing floor tiles and outdated wall coverings all suggest a house that hasn't been cared for or kept up to date. Unless they're specifically looking for a ‘fixer-upper', few buyers will look twice at a house that they'll have to redecorate before they can live in.
8. Unkempt landscaping
The first impression that buyers get of your house is the most lasting. Make sure that your house has ‘curb appeal’. Shaggy lawns, weeds choking the pathways and cracked driveways are all turn-offs to potential buyers. Spruce up the outside of your house - fresh paint if you can, mowed lawn, and an attractive entry to their dream home will go a long way toward making an excellent first impression.
9. A price that's too high
Even if your house is in tip-top shape, if you've priced it too high for the market, it will not sell. If your house is in the $150,000 range, and you're asking $175,000 for it, prospective home buyers will compare it to other houses in the $175,000 range - and likely find it lacking.
10. Pets, children and other interruptions
No matter how much people like pets and children, there are times that they'd rather not have them around. Remember that you want prospective buyers to feel comfortable and at home in your house. They'll find that difficult to do if their exploration of their possible dream home is interrupted by an over-enthusiastic dog or your children.
Andrew is the web owner of Home Selling Tips: How to sell your own house fast , a website that provides informational guide on home selling and buying, mortgage loan, foreclosure, real estate investment and more. You can visit his website at: http://www.buy-and-sell-house-fast.com/