As a veteran home buyer, I can say without a doubt that we look everywhere you think we wouldn’t. Home buyers investigating a house generally are trying to get a picture for whether or not A) their things will fit in the home space-wise and B) whether the fixtures there are suitable to their needs. To put your best face forward, you must be prepared for snoopy buyers to look everywhere. Here are 5 common areas that could leave a negative impression if not in tip top shape:
Everyone seems to have them; some are more disorganized than others. Especially in the kitchen, where cupboards can certainly kill any woman’s love for the house, regardless of its other attributes. They should be in good repair and stylish. Investing a little money into new knobs or fixtures can really enhance them, not to mention a nice finish if they are wood or even fresh paint will make them more appealing. Inside, they should be neat and free of unsightly junk. When decluttering your house of other unneeded junk to stage your house for sale, don’t forget your cupboards and pantry. The same goes for any medicine cabinets. Remember, there isn’t much expectation of privacy when your house is being shown. While the potential buyers aren’t going to rifle through your belongings, they are going to look in cupboards, closets, garages, etc. very carefully.
Most people who are home buyers do look at your appliances carefully. A clean stove top and microwave are a must, especially if they are built in and will convey with the property upon successful sale. If you plan to convey appliances with the sale, make sure they are clean and in good working order. Even if your appliances are not new, your potential buyer is most likely spending a large chunk of money just to close. If they are moving from a rental, they may not own appliances, or if they are moving from their own home, they may be conveying their appliances in their own home sale themselves. Nothing turns a buyer off like food buildup in a microwave.
Yes, people really do peel back that shower curtain to take a look. While you may have spotlessly cleaned the rest of the house, the shower is an often neglected aspect. Just pulling the shower curtain closed does not a clean shower make! Ensure that your shower is clean and spotless (may I suggest the Scrubbing Bubbles Automatic Shower Cleaner to make this a hassle free experience?) and free of mildew. If your bathtub is not a one piece unit, then freshly caulk your tub to make it spanking clean and fresh looking. The same goes for the toilet. It should also be sparkling clean as well.
4. Pet Food Dishes
While you may be running your dishes through your dishwasher on a daily basis, Fido’s or Mitten’s dishes are widely neglected. Keep two dishes for your pets and regularly run a set through the dishwasher. I once saw a TV show where they filmed a doggy door placement, the rest of the home was immaculate, and it was obvious that the homeowner had cleaned and straightened for filming, but then the camera panned to the dog’s dishes. It was disgusting!
Lighting is especially important. You want your home to be bright and cheery. Ensure that all light fixtures are working properly and do not have burnt out bulbs. Additionally, if your home has a basement, see what you can do to brighten up that dreary spot. Always make sure that any steps are well lit and install a hand rail if necessary for safety. While you may not think you need a hand rail, potential buyers may have a need for one due to age or having children.
While most of us do not have the time to spend our entire day getting our home ready to be shown at a moment’s notice, some attention should be paid to the little things that could leave a bad impression with potential buyers. When we purchased our home two years ago, it was obvious to us that the homeowners were detail oriented people. Their lack of clutter and immaculate upkeep of the home, down to cleaning under the appliances, left a favorable impression with us, enough to come back for a second, closer look. Their attention to the smallest detail showed us that they took good care of their home and we felt confident in making an offer without fear of finding defects after the sale was completed. Little things are often the things most noticed.