Is Your House ‘For Sale’ A House of Horrors?
It’s Halloween time again and a great time of year to list your home for sale. The winter cold & dark has passed; the suns out and Spring is in the air.
Any time of year can be a good time to list your house for sale but Spring is particularly so.
You still, must get it ready to sell! A couple of houses we’ve seen over the years reminded me more of a horror show than a show home.
Blood Soaked Walls…Experiments in Painting Gone Awry
The fine profession of painting is often underestimated by homeowners who want to save a dollar and see painting as something they can tackle without too much trouble.
Some succeed, but many fail and fail badly. Whether it is colour choices (dark red may be your team’s colour but not in the dining room) the type of paint used or how it’s applied… is immediately obvious to home buyers, that no professionals were used here.
Good painters don’t necessarily come cheap and having a whole house painted could cost you thousands of dollars and you’re not even going to get to enjoy it. But it could make the difference between selling your house quickly and likely get a higher price for it.
The old saying about painting being 80% preparation and 20% actual painting couldn’t be more true and sadly when showing houses, we often see where this rule was not applied.
Brush strokes on walls, horrible trim work with dark paint hitting the ceiling and a different colour in every room does make a pleasant buyer experience. Applying crafty techniques, you picked up on ‘The Block’ or ‘HGTV’ does not always work to enhance a room.
Every person has their own view of what they think is tasteful and pleasing. Boring beige nearly always wins out because it’s a neutral base that allows buyers to imagine how it will feel for them.
Death Trap Handyperson Specials Throughout the House… Permits Anyone?
Plumbing, Electrical and General Contracting all have various degrees of difficulty and skill sets. The key is to know what your level of competence is or is it time to call in a pro.
Most of us can change a lightbulb, replace a fuse, fix a leaky faucet even get more adventurous after a couple of trips to your local Bunnings or favourite Hardware Store.
However, changing a toilet or adding lights, moving or adding sockets, installing fans or adding decks can all be done safely and correctly when using a professional. The problems start when they are not done properly.
Without the proficiency plus years of experience and despite the “expert” at the home improvement store telling you it’s easy-peasy things can be.
Some of these projects often go badly, if not immediately, over time and may crop up when the building inspector finds them.
A reputable licensed contractor would not start work on your house without arranging the appropriate permits. When it comes time to sell depending on the work done, having those permits could save you some headaches.
Overgrown Graveyards Are Fine for Old Churches
First impressions are everything and you don’t get a second chance at them. So, those buyers that just pulled up in front of your ‘abandoned haunted castle’ looking yard have subconsciously crossed your house off their list or have reduced the price by a couple of thousand dollars.
A little goes a long way out front and does not require the skill set of a plumber or electrician. This may be something you could tackle yourself or pay someone to do the heavy lifting and you do the pretty stuff… but do the pretty stuff.
Plant flowers, throw some fresh mulch down, trim back the shrubs and trees and prop up any headstones that have fallen over.
What Is That Smell, Did Your Witches Cauldron Boil Over?
Clients and I were looking at another agents’ properties some time ago and one house had a distinct smell that hit you as soon as you walked in.
With a pretty good sense of smell and having been in countless houses I can usually pick up on cat smells or if someone smoked in the house quickly. This smell which we all presumed to be a cat became so overbearing the clients had to get out of the house.
Even though the house was close to what they were looking for they ruled it out because of the smell.
It is said that you cannot smell your own house so get an outside opinion to see what your house smells like.
If you have pets, you might have an odour problem. Though not always as I have been in homes with cats and you would never know it.
Homes can also get musty over time if they are not aired out and air conditioners can get mouldy and spread that throughout the house.
It’s rarer to find a house with smokers these days but when you do it can be a shocker. Depending on the severity of the smell, it may need new carpet, paint and an odour eliminator as a minimum to get the house sold.
Skeletons in The Closet…Maybe Can’t See In
If your closets are stuffed to the gills with clothes, shoes, suitcases enough to make it difficult to see all the way in or estimate how much space is in there, it might be time for a trip to Goodwill, the Salvos or Savers.
Home buyers need to be able to envision all their stuff in your house and if all your stuff is blocking their view, it looks like there isn’t enough room.
Two of the top items home buyers look for in a house are closet space and storage space.
People for the most part are very similar and while buyers might comment on there being too much clutter in a house there’s a good chance, they will have just as much themselves.
If you must keep all your stuff, consider renting a pod or storage unit and clear up some space in the house.
Does Dracula Live Here, Why So Dark
It’s always impressive to walk into a house for sale where all the lights are on and the window and blinds are open.
The opposite is true when you find a house that is dark and grey and any available light is blocked by blinds or window treatments. If you suffer with a house that is a little on the dark side get all the blinds up and open, pull back the drapes as far as they can go.
If trees are contributing to the overcast look, consider having them trimmed back to allow for more light. When you can get the house ready for a showing turn on all the lights, let some fresh air in if possible and open those blinds.
Is Your Garage a Torture Chamber of Stuff
Every once in a while, when viewing houses, you will open the garage door to find a sea of junk and stuff that either got moved there from the rest of the house or is just always there.
Some folks never park in their garage or can’t get in it While others treat the garage just as they would any other room.
It is important to clean out the garage for the obvious reasons. If the buyers looking at your house, happen to like cars, need a workbench or plan on keeping garden equipment or an extra refrigerator out there it hurts when they can’t see the floor for all the stuff. \
That old Holden, Ford or Chrysler Charger you’ve been fixing up for the last decade needs to go and the oil that’s been dripping onto the floor needs to be cleaned up.
Whenever I see a car on blocks in a garage and engine parts in the kitchen I get the feeling that not everyone is keen on selling the house… might be tough negotiating this one.
It may be a sellers’ market where you are but some things just need to be fixed to get your house sold.
Buyers will not take on your neglect along with their new mortgage payment.
So, fix up the House of Horrors before they get there and you’ll sell your home faster and probably for more money.
If you are getting ready to sell your house soon, I’d be glad to discuss the process with you, give us a call or shoot us an email.
Happy Halloween – October 31
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