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By Tara-Nicholle Nelson | Broker in San Francisco, CA

4 Ways to Hater-Proof Your Home, Before You List It

In my experience, there’s one fundamental truth about haters:  you can never fully escape them. The only way to live a 100% hater-free life is to never stick your neck out, and never do anything because, as the saying goes, you simply cannot please all of the people all of the time.

And this is particularly true with real estate and putting your home on the market - because homes, locations, aesthetics and such are so much a matter of personal preference, some people will find something to criticize about even the most perfectly staged, priciest properties on the market.  

As a home seller, your job is not to try to make your home be all things to all people.  That said, you don’t want to be the house that nearly every buyer and broker sees, rolls their eyes and utters the same few, predictable deal-killing criticisms. Fortunately, what is predictable is avoidable. Let’s explore the most common things buyers hate about listings they see. In the process, you’ll get equipped to sidestep those issues and, in large part, hater-proof your own home.

House Hater Complaint #1:  Odors. Some of you might think I’m beating a dead horse, here. But as long as house hunters keep emailing me to ask why, in the name of all that is sacred, they keep seeing homes that smell like all sorts of madness and mayhem, I’m going to keep repeating this message.

Viewing a home sounds like it’s all about the visual of the experience. And visuals are critical - your home should be in its Sunday best, so to speak, when it’s being shown, in terms of being spruced, staged and clutter-free. But when a buyer comes to see your home, they don’t turn off the rest of their senses. And there is nothing that can turn a buyer off from a home, they’d otherwise like, quicker than a powerfully bad odor - in particular, cigarette and pet odors in a house that seems to have been well-cleaned create the concern that they might be permanent and that the buyer might not be able to get rid of them without dropping some serious cash on cleaning or even removing wall, window and floor coverings.

If you are a seller and you know that someone has been habitually smoking in your home or that you have had a “challenge,” let’s say, with pet accidents, do not ignore the problem. And do not think that because you had the carpet shampooed or the drapes cleaned, or because YOU can’t smell anything, that the problem is gone.  The fact is that the human sense of smell very quickly gets used to smells that it lives with or is surrounded with on a regular basis.  So it’s critical to get your agent, stager or even your friends and family members - who don’t live with you and love you enough to be honest! - to help you detect bad smells and odors, and make sure they are eradicated by any means necessary, before you place your home on the market.

House Hater Complaint #2:  Glaringly extreme overpricing. There’s the kind of overpricing that makes a buyer say, “Hmmm - seems a bit high. Let’s go see it, but we might have to offer a little less than the asking price if we like it.”  Then there’s the kind of overpricing that makes buyer say “I’ll wait until a price reduction” or worse, hold their sides from laughing.

When overpricing is glaring, many buyers and buyer’s brokers will comment on it or inquire about it. What they are less likely to do is actually come out and see the place - especially if they weed it out online after comparing its specs to all the other homes in the area and the price range.  Often, homes this severely overpriced simply don’t sell, or not until after they’ve had some serious price cuts or have been on the market so long buyers begin to feel confident about making lowball offers.

In fact, the goal is the opposite - you want your home to stand out as a property that is not dirt cheap, but does present a good value for the money - that’s what motivates buyers to get out of their chairs and into the property for a viewing.

Here’s how to hater-proof your home’s listing against this issue: fixate on the comps. Smart sellers deactivate their emotional attachment and very human tendency to overvalue their precious homes by poring over the sales prices (not list prices) of similar, nearby homes that have recently sold. Your agent will be happy to help you walk through this data and will almost certainly recommend a list price, but ultimately you make the decision about the price point to list your home at.

Also, consider using your broker’s first Open House as an additional hater-proof measure: if the agents overwhelmingly comment that they think the home is significantly overpriced, listen.

House Hater Complaint #3:  Dirt and messes. Possibly the single largest source of House Hater Complaints I’ve ever heard are the dirt, messes, piles and personal belongings that buyers find so distracting, when they walk into a home for a viewing or Open House. Obviously, homes that are filthy from floor to ceiling are fertile fodder for haters, but often those homes are bank-owned or otherwise distressed so that the sellers aren’t likely to do much.  What is underestimated is how often even savvy home buyers are distracted (and disgusted) by relatively clean homes that just have a few outstanding messes, like piles of dirty dishes in the sink, piles of dog poo in the yard or even piles of papers, mail, books or clothes lying out in plain view.  

Will one or two such items ruin the sale of your home? Perhaps not. But a few of them (or more) can certainly distract a buyer enough that they fixate on your messes and, in the process, fail to see what is so great about your property.  And as I see it, cleaning up, meticulously, before every single showing is free - so it makes no sense to even run the risk of turning off a prospective buyer by letting messes get in the way of their ability to visualize themselves and their families flourishing in your home.
House Hater Complaint #4:  Lots of little malfunctions.  All of us tend to think our homes are in fantastic condition.  After all, you have the furnace maintained regularly, you’ve got granite and dual paned windows - maybe you even had the floors refinished or the walls painted in preparation for putting your place on the market.

That’s all fantastic - all the non-cosmetic work you’ve done to maintain and improve your home should be trumpeted in your marketing materials, and the cosmetic items will (or should) speak for themselves. But here’s the thing: buyers who visit your home won’t be running your dishwasher or testing the furnace (at least not until inspections).  What they will do - almost unconsciously - is:
    •    flick light and fan switches
    •    open or close window coverings, closet, room and entry doors,
    •    open and close drawers, cupboards, gates and fences and
    •    hold the handrails as they walk up and down the stairs.  
They will hear leaky faucets and point out water spots from long-ago repaired leaks, and they will notice (or potentially trip on) uneven exterior tiles, paths and walkways. And even though these items might be vastly less expensive to fix than the roof or sewer line you had replaced, they are much more visible and noticeable to a buyer.  In fact, buyers don’t always even know that the little malfunctions and repairs that need doing are little or inexpensive. And when they notice a bunch of these sorts of things in a single property, they can jump to the conclusion that the whole place is rickety.

Since these little fixes are inexpensive to make, have them completed before you list, if at all possible. You might even ask your agent to walk through the property with you and to give you a handyperson reference for someone they know works efficiently.

Agents and Buyers:
 What things have you encountered in multiple listings that make you cringe, eye roll or otherwise immediately dismiss a house?

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By Gary Youngman,  Wed Jan 23 2013, 16:14
Good read... Points well made -
By Patty Hardrick,  Thu Jan 24 2013, 06:40
Dirty blinds and curtains
By Maria Hardy-Cooper,  Thu Jan 24 2013, 09:28
Over the top amounts of bric-a-bracs, figurines and personal photos.
By Leeann,  Thu Jan 24 2013, 09:36
Extreme bright, dark or unusual paint on the walls of every room. One house I saw for sale had a Redskins room complete with dark maroon and gold paint with a Redskins mascot wallpaper border. As a buyer I'm already calculating how much I'm going to have to spend to have some crazy rooms repainted.
By Mary Lou Childs,  Thu Jan 24 2013, 09:51
Don't forget to clean the return air grille and replace dirty filters in them. These are usually in the wall, large, and in plain sight.
By Rachel Broach,  Thu Jan 24 2013, 09:56
I would like to add outdated wallpaper to this list. Most people do not want to see wallpaper when they are looking to buy a home. So, please remove it and paint a nice neutral color. It just takes some time and elbow grease plus a gallon or two of paint, but is so worth it if you want to attract buyers.
By Yager4933,  Thu Jan 24 2013, 09:58
Outside: peeling paint visible from the front door, weedy unkempt yard
Inside: dirt and darkness (closed curtains and blinds)
By Jjrg7,  Thu Jan 24 2013, 10:03
Wallpaper is the worst
By Greg Crutcher,  Thu Jan 24 2013, 10:11
Fragrant candles and incense burning in all living area in an attemp to disguise pet odors. What an awful combination.
By Pattie Rock Young,  Thu Jan 24 2013, 10:15
Don't try to fix or eliminate an odor with a strong air freshener in every room...to me that's worse than the odor itself!! Leave out small dishes with cider or white vinegar in them...you'll be amazed at how quickly this helps to remove the odor...and sellers...don't fry food, cook bacon before showings....those smells linger too long
By Colleen Moorhouse,  Thu Jan 24 2013, 10:16
Excellent article. So true! Some sellers just don't get what clean is. Even when you try to tell them and give them the information they just don't get it. We all have a different sense of cleanliness. Especially the short sale sellers. They don't care. I just looked at one and the carpet was a mess.
By Cheryl Cairns Realtor/LMC,  Thu Jan 24 2013, 10:26
Smelly cat boxes/dogs, heavy/dusty blinds or drapes, dirty windows, too little light in each room, too much wallpaper, borders, country/ethnic/ornate deco, too much furniture, worn/dirty/older carpet, religious artifacts, dirty doors, floors, light switches. The only smells should be fresh and clean smells. Clean, clean, then clean again!
By Lilibuts,  Thu Jan 24 2013, 10:34
Sellers aren't the only ones who need advice... Realtors, puuuullllleeeeesse! Open the BLINDS or curtains in your photos!! I want to know what the view looks like from inside. (If it is hideous or even just the side of another building.... it's a deal-killer!) Also Realtors: Put the lid of the toilet down when photographing bathrooms!
By Jennifer Mclennand,  Thu Jan 24 2013, 10:42
Great article! Spot on! Along with the other comments my fellow agents have made.

Jennifer McLennand, Keller Williams
By Tommy,  Thu Jan 24 2013, 10:47
Placing a slice of apple pie in a heated oven prior to showing.
By Susan and Steve Hanson,  Thu Jan 24 2013, 10:50
I agree completely! And unclutter, clutter eats equity.
Love the comment above about putting down the toilet seat, that is so true.

Susan Hanson
William Raveis RE
By Tonia Hedman,  Thu Jan 24 2013, 10:51
By Lisa Egstad,  Thu Jan 24 2013, 10:54
Wallpaper is a turnoff - like wearing someone else's clothes! And it's so important to declutter and remove the family photos and especially the hunting trophies!
By Pamela Petterle,  Thu Jan 24 2013, 10:54
Very helpful. I will share these at my office meeting next week.
By sdcondogirl,  Thu Jan 24 2013, 10:54
Great point, Lillibuts! Sellers are not the only ones to blame. And NO realtor has the right to cut down any house--they must remember their station--WE are paying THEM and they are to act like it! Oh, and be responsible enough to update seasonal photos. We can not begin to sell our houses if they look like they have been on the market through one season too long.
By Deborah Wilkinson,  Thu Jan 24 2013, 10:57
Great article and comments - getting to finer details: take away school affiliations especially where a strong civil war exists. I had a buyer who refused to see a home where a rival college flag was flying outside the home. This can also extend to religious symbols.
By Monique Cole,  Thu Jan 24 2013, 10:59
Open toilet seats are one of my pet peeves. Close the lid! Realtors, too, close the lid before you take the photos.
By Ebonymom1,  Thu Jan 24 2013, 11:03
What do you do if your biggest "hater" comment is that it is an unpaved road in a big city? The city isn't going to pave it just so we can sell our house.
By Ruth Zeiss,  Thu Jan 24 2013, 11:07
70's wood paneling makes my buyers cringe.
By myhappyhammer,  Thu Jan 24 2013, 11:11
Worn out - faded and/or rusted door knobs/handles on the front door! If you can't make an appealing entry what chance have you got of getting them to look inside?
By Laura Filip,  Thu Jan 24 2013, 11:15
I would say house haters quote for me is this bright colored walls dark carpet , smells like a cat and smokers.......
By Micheal Powell,  Thu Jan 24 2013, 11:15
Ridiculous showing instructions.
By Ellen Derby,  Thu Jan 24 2013, 11:17
thanks for the tips. I think we've got these all covered. The last one is a good one to be sure we keep up with... in a house 162 years old it's the little things that tend to need a little attention... squeaky door hinges, screen door knobs that need a little jiggle sometimes, and for some reason the bathroom window is always dirty: on the outside... not from little hand prints.
By Itsnotme1207,  Thu Jan 24 2013, 11:19
pets. i don't want to see, smell, or hear them or their accessories. please take your dog with you. some people are afraid and if i can't see your backyard bc fido is at the backdoor barking at me then i'm leaving. i can paint and remove wallpaper, but i'm not going to buy a house that i can't see a room or the backyard bc of your dog.
By Jlhaberkorn,  Thu Jan 24 2013, 11:22
Never forget that smell IS your first impression and it's important! An inexpensive easy trick to give your whole home a cozy "homey" smell is truly simple... bake cookies. Seriously, there is nothing more inviting than the smell of freshly baked cookies. When you put your home on the market go and buy a tub of chocolate chip cookie dough and keep it on hand in the fridge. That way when you get a call about seeing your home your first step is to preheat the oven, then while that is happening go about your cleaning, organizing, and staging. Then about 20-30 minutes before you leave your house put in 4-6 cookies, not only will your home smell fantastic but it's a nice little perk to have refreshments for your potential buyers and their agent; Add a pitcher of lemonade and you're golden. Even if these aren't the buyers for you, your home will be on that agents "must show" list, because of the extras. (Oh and don't forget to turn the oven off ;-))
By Catherine Marcus,  Thu Jan 24 2013, 11:22
Fake flowers.
By Sjj-az,  Thu Jan 24 2013, 11:22
Sellers, do not, I repeat, do not try to cover up defects with furniture placement, rugs, etc. Savy home buyers and some realtors advise their clients to look under rugs and move furniture while viewing homes for sale. Instead, repair the defect. If a potential buyer uncovers a defect that appears to have been deliberattely disguised, they may walk away even if it is a simple carpet stain, wandering what else are they trying to hide?.
By - Jeffrey Slaff -,  Thu Jan 24 2013, 11:25
A boxspring and mattress sitting on the floor without a frame is unforgivable. And I have seen it n nice homes
By Sue,  Thu Jan 24 2013, 11:25
Although sometimes it's impossible to avoid, tiny stacked laundry units in gross-looking closets turns me off right away. The beauty of owning a home/condo is not having to go to a laundromat to get clean clothes - but I also don't want to be doing laundry with a machine that has been shoved into a tiny closet in a small hallway.
By Gloria Duy,  Thu Jan 24 2013, 11:27
If all of your furniture is shabby it makes your house look shabby. You know you are going to throw it out when your house sells anyway. Just buy or rent a few new pieces. I sold my house for 10K more than my neighbor in a much shorter time frame, I think because it showed so well. No pets, clutter, personal stuff, nice decor. I bought a new home for 20K off the asking because of dirty pink carpet. It cost me 4 K to replace...tthe sellers should have done that and the money would be in their pocket.
By John,  Thu Jan 24 2013, 11:35
I've actually walked a house with unflushed toilets. Immediately walked out.
By deansautomotive58,  Thu Jan 24 2013, 11:42
geez..I am reading this and wondering what planet you guys all live on? no offense, but if people look at a home and it is the right price and the right area, size etc does anyone else have imagination other than me? Messes can be cleaned, carpets changed, wallpaper removed, other peoples laundry, religious items and family pictures get packed in boxes and hauled away WITH THEM. The dogs and cats go too..some of this stuff sounds like buyers excuses when they dont like the home for some other general reason. Unless the house is EMPTY and ALWAYS HAS BEEN, people live there, eat there, make love there, (yeah that too) go to the toliet there, and when they are sick they throw up there too! The cat pukes hairballs on the carpet and the dog throws up too. Lots of baby spitup is all over the babies room too. The people laugh there and cry there, sometimes they even DIE there! Especially if your house is over 80 years old or so. ITS A HOME FOLKS. Every home has defects even a new one. Welcome to the brave new imperfect world we all live in. So much of this stuff is so picky, I wish I was these folks as I could worry about these insignificant things instead of larger issues! GROW UP! guys no offense but you come off as crybabies, and so do the clients.
By Patholmes,  Thu Jan 24 2013, 11:42
Family portraits. Hearing that the house is being sold as a result of a divorce and seeing the pictures of the precious children hanging on the wall does not motivate me to purchase their home and add to their losses. Take the pictures down.
By Darrell Powers,  Thu Jan 24 2013, 11:44
I'm a REALTOR and have found Pet and Smoke ODORS can be guaranteed removed totally by this company's product..
By Juan Jimenez,  Thu Jan 24 2013, 11:53
A pre-listing home inspection can help with home hater item #4
By Lauren.zagorac,  Thu Jan 24 2013, 11:59
I can overlook a lot of things but NOT the current homeowner lurking. If you are trying to successfully sell your home, please don't be IN it when people are viewing it. One lady stayed in the bathroom for 15 minutes of my walk through then the bathroom was, let's just say, 'off-limits' after that. Another home owner followed me around. If you haven't moved out yet, PLEASE just don't be home when your house is being shown.
By Carrie Copenhaver,  Thu Jan 24 2013, 12:09
@deansautomotive58 - yes its true, people do LIVE in their houses... However... when you list your property for sale you must understand BUYER mentality ... they want to see themselves in this house. By your comments I must assume you've never taken a client through a home buying process... ITs actually very interesting... at the end of the day - if you want FULL RETAIL on your home (&most sellers do) then you MUST present a property that is appealing to a Buyer ... remove personal items, get rid of clutter, lower the toilet seats, make it shine - - - Remember you are always competing with other houses .... what will you do to make yours stand out??
By Heather Lantow,  Thu Jan 24 2013, 12:10
I'm a buyer, not a seller. I've found that, regardless of 50 teddy bears lining the living room wall and garlic cooking in the kitchen, I know when the home is just right for me...regardless of the current owners taste. It feels right. It feels like home. I look at the wallpaper, the creaking door or the lopsided handle as a challenge, not a reason to give up...but then again...I'm no hater ;)
By lflsmsg338,  Thu Jan 24 2013, 12:12
How is Clean and Vacant. Refrig away from wall unplugged. I had an agent in to check. Said clean and GO. Sell! I would like to hear. Of course, pro buyers keep coats on it is winter. Happy that the thermo is on 63. I set on 61 still paying bills after four months trying to sell myself.
By Glenn Litkowiak,  Thu Jan 24 2013, 12:15
Many great comments...these are the perfect group of comments everyone including Realtors should read. When I go to list a home, or even view a home to ask the owners to list with me, at the front door I take one step in and pause for a moment with some exchange in conversation. Then I "very" gently tell them that I have not seen your home yet and that any comments/suggestions that I make is only to help them get rid of the "hater" buyers comments and to increase their homes look to appease buyers" . Let me also that this time to say that not all agents are on top of things and this is what makes it bad for the rest of us. Once I get the paperwork signed, I sometimes hear.."aren't you going to take any pictures?"I say (again very gently) NO, because the home is not ready to photograph. When sellers ask for your assistance in selling their home and then just don't want to hear what needs to be done, then they have to be reminded that you asked for my help...and these are the things you need to do before pictures, let me know when you are done and I'll gladly come back!! Sellers take note (didn't see this in the comments early on but....) I know you love your kids and grand kids, but take all the "artwork" and school schedules from the refrigerator!!
By Frank Harmon,  Thu Jan 24 2013, 12:19
Very helpful. Good points to put in front of thr seller.
By Lisa Small,  Thu Jan 24 2013, 12:27
I have to agree with deansautomotive58. I've prepared my buyers before showing homes advising them to overlookthings that won't be there once the seller moves. If there are pet or smoke odors, that can be different. Odors are likely to be there when the seller moves unless the seller agrees to correct the problem in writing before closing. If there are issues with the property, be sure to politely give the listing agent feedback. It's very helpful when dealing with sellers. Many sellers are so stressed out because many Realtors/agents advise their sellers to keep their house like a showroom. Realtors are not showing showrooms, they're showing people's home where they live. It's important for Realtors to prep their buyers ahead of time and handle situations that may come up calmly without taking things personally. This has worked well for me on both buyer and seller ends.
By Ben Hendricks,  Thu Jan 24 2013, 12:30
Most home owners never use their front door, however we use it to show the home. Make sure porch and front door are in good shape. Also agents please fill out feedback about the showing. It helps the listing agent explain what's wrong with the property.
By Ann Divine,  Thu Jan 24 2013, 12:33
Febreeze is my "go to" friend. When I host an open house, I de-odorize even if I don't smell anything. It really helps as some people are very sensitive to odors and pick up things we don't
By Joseph Roraff,  Thu Jan 24 2013, 12:41
Creaky wood floors
By Carol Alaniz,  Thu Jan 24 2013, 12:41
I'm a former RE agent (stress was too much for me, so I left) and what I HATE is bad photos on online selling sites. My husband and I found a home online we thought we'd like to see but the photos were so bad--ALL of them were blurry-that we decided against asking for a tour. I can't understand why it is so difficult for agents (many agents, actually) to take good photos. It takes only a few more seconds to compose a photo and make sure it's good to be put online and also in the MLS books. Really, when I see such bad photos, I don't blame the owner, but pity them, as they are paying commission and the agent is not doing the photos correctly to sell the house. This drives me absolutely bananas.
By Park,  Thu Jan 24 2013, 12:42
Worst house I ever went into had an unflushed toilet as well as a giant leather sofa that blocked access in and out of the living room! Flush your toilets people! :)
By winnie78,  Thu Jan 24 2013, 12:44
My home needed everything when we bought it. New kitchen, bathrooms. I don't recall the what the furniture looked like. What I saw was a house in an outstanding community, with a great layout (center hall dutch colonial) a nice lot (100 x 150) and a lot of potential.

Really??? Anyone who is going to pass on a house that meets their needs because the owners family photo are on display or because there is some wallpaper to be dealt with, is not serious. Like someone above, I blame realtors and the HGTV shows for this notion that a house has to be move in ready or no one will want it. The house across from me was listed at 899K, sold in a week for 860K and the new owners are gutting it.
By Scott Stephenson,  Thu Jan 24 2013, 12:48
I once walked into a house as a buyer only to find the irate disabled elderly bedridden owner in the bed in the master bedroom, complaining that he didn't want to sell his house and his children were forcing him out. We agreed with him it was horrible and promised we wouldn't take his house away. How incredibly stupid can you be???
By Fred Miller,  Thu Jan 24 2013, 12:50
All of these points are good ones, especially pre-listing inspections, neutralizing color schemes and removing wallpaper (and please, PLEASE don't let your sellers paint over wallpaper!! Do the right thing: remove it, then paint the walls.), de-cluttering and getting rid of odors. Photograph the home only when it's truly ready to be shown. And, yes, keep the toilet seats closed! It's also a good idea to gently (or firmly, if necessary) remind home sellers to stop picturing the home as "theirs," and fully grasp the fact that strangers are going to be looking at their home, trying to picture themselves living in it. If you're having a hard time convincing a seller to do all these things, take them to see a couple of nicely staged homes for sale nearby. Show them their competition, and then ask them, "If you were a buyer walking into [a staged home] or their own cluttered, musty house, which one would they get excited about living in?" Sure, some sellers can see past all that messiness, but do you really want to ask them to?
By Carol Alaniz,  Thu Jan 24 2013, 12:50
@Patholmes: I've never heard of agents telling any buyer the seller's personal business. If you asked if there was a divorce and were simply told, then your agent is a gossip. My husband and I bought our home from a divorced couple BUT we found out from the SELLER, as he was at the house when we did final walk-through before closing. Agents aren't supposed to have big mouths and tell buyers' business. If I had been the seller and found out, I would have reported the agent to the realty board.
By Caroline Fitzgerald,  Thu Jan 24 2013, 12:51
Wallpaper on the ceiling! And some of it was striped no less! Yikes! What buyer in the world is going to want to mess with that??!!! Needless to say, that one took forever to sell!
By Teri Piper,  Thu Jan 24 2013, 12:58
good ones. So surprising people say paint. Really? It costs $40 for some paint. Or at most a few hundred to paint a room. Do you really expect to have the same taste in decor as every house you go through. Get some vision, people!
By Ruth Hamilton,  Thu Jan 24 2013, 13:00
Excellent, and so true. I have heard these complaints so often. Thanks for brining them up and sharing your insite.
By Lynn,  Thu Jan 24 2013, 13:03
People/realtors rarely address this but killer number one for me is: child messes. I'm shocked at the amount of realtors that take photos of 'play' areas that look like an earthquake happened at Toys R Us. They lovingly post it with all the other photos- and to me it's a huge turnoff. Put the crap away before the realtor comes and keep it put away during showings. No one really thinks tons of kids toys scattered everywhere is cute.
By Amc,  Thu Jan 24 2013, 13:11
I sold my condo for asking price - cash - in a down market thanks to the inexpensive staging my realtor paid for. The buyer picked mine because it was "cute." There were several other identical units available, many of them much cheaper, but they were not very clean and no others were staged. The staging was minor and it cost $400 for 6 months, payable at escrow.

Oh! And I moved all of my crap out, had it painted and carpeted before the staging. You can either blame HGTV or learn from it. I watched and I learned that people will fixate on teeny tiny issues that common sense would tell any normal person to ignore. I also learned that staging can make a place look BIGGER!

My place actually reeked of carpet glue but I guess the cuteness factor overrode the smell. :)
By Mzmaiki,  Thu Jan 24 2013, 13:11
Wall paper and wood paneling. I can't get past the first picture if they have either of those, it makes me think that, if they haven't changed the wall deco in 50 years, why would they have updated anything else.
By Jeffrey A. Mangus,  Thu Jan 24 2013, 13:13
I agree that if your home has pet ofors please do not try nto disguise with candles or carpet fresh. Have yoiur carpet proffesionally cleaned. Me, as professional Realtor/Broker, cant stand to see closets stuffed with debris and clutter and dirty kitchens. Big buyer turnoffs.
By Amc,  Thu Jan 24 2013, 13:14
BEST COMMENT EVER!!!! See below....

By Scott Stephenson, Thu Jan 24 2013, 12:48
I once walked into a house as a buyer only to find the irate disabled elderly bedridden owner in the bed in the master bedroom, complaining that he didn't want to sell his house and his children were forcing him out. We agreed with him it was horrible and promised we wouldn't take his house away. How incredibly stupid can you be???
By Eric D. Lenz,  Thu Jan 24 2013, 13:16
By Marsha Stokes,  Thu Jan 24 2013, 13:16
I think that people are too picky. I agree with a few other posts, Unless the house is brand new, there is evidence of life in it, clothes, smells and everything else. If I like it, I can see past it and i'm gonna make it mine. Nothing a little elbow grease and paint and febreeze can't fix!
By winnie78,  Thu Jan 24 2013, 13:18
I think that how much a seller does in terms of staging has a lot to do with the size of the house and asking price. Houses in my neighborhood are large and expensive. No one is going to be able to fully stage one for $400. My house is about 3500 sq ft and probably worth $1million presently if and when I sell it will be "as is" I am not going to put a lot of money into painting, taking down wallpaper, etc. only to have the seller completely change what I just did to suit their taste. I have seem people take down brand new siding and reside in a color to suit their taste. Same with a kitchen. I like a white kitchen, saw some guy on Househunters who hated a white kitchen. You cannot stage to suit everyone's taste.
By Amc,  Thu Jan 24 2013, 13:20
True, not every house can be staged for $400. I was very surprised and lucky it was so cheap.
By Teffersmom,  Thu Jan 24 2013, 13:28
THANK YOU to those who have mentioned comments like deansautomotive58. Homes that are not brand spanking never been lived in just built to suit your needs new are the only ones that will fit some of the posters here. My home is not new, has issues, was lived in and loved. If some of the imperfections can not be handled... well it truly is NOT for you, please dont come, please dont waste my time that I have to take off from work to clean, take my pets out and do the common sense things that make homes more attractive in the first place. Then I wait around for you to turn your nose up at it because I actually LIVED in my home.
By winnie78,  Thu Jan 24 2013, 13:29
I think the cost of staging/updating has to be weighed. Some people want to do things their way. Again, i recall an episode of Househunters in which the wife was looking for some projects to do in the new house and did not want something perfect. Why is it so hard for a broker to simply tell prospective buyers that this house need s new kitchen and the sellers realize that and have factored it into their asking price?
By Suoitac,  Thu Jan 24 2013, 13:29
Best comment ever! Amen. @ deansautomotive58
By Tina Silkwood,  Thu Jan 24 2013, 13:30
I am on the fence with personal family pictures. We have two up in our 3500 sq ft home so I know it is not overdone but I am torn between, do you put family photos up so it looks well loved and lived in or do you take them down so they can envision it being "their" home and not envading someone elses?
By George Grayson,  Thu Jan 24 2013, 13:31
The only comments that make any sense on this matter from from Lisa Small and deansautomotive58. If a buyer cannot be realistic or recognize good value and fixates on details that are already considered in the asking price, don't waste time with them.
By winnie78,  Thu Jan 24 2013, 13:34
I agree completely that a buyer is not serious if they cannot look beyond the personal property and tastes of the seller and see what they can make of the house.

I wonder if this notion that the house has to be de-personalized and staged is not pushed by realtors to make their jobs easily. I know people who could not look behind the fact that houses had been lived in, they ultimately bought new construction as a result and regretted it for the lack of character and quality that can only be found in older homes.

Keep the photos up, Tina Silkwood. I think it is nice to know who lived in your house before you and something about them and their time there.
By Janet Shawgo,  Thu Jan 24 2013, 13:34
Too much furniture and clutter for the buyer to visualize themselves living in it. Dirty and overpriced made this buyer nearly run out the door. Then the seller emailed screaming at me for the honest feedback that I gave! Needless to say, it's still on the market overpriced grossly!
By srwatts,  Thu Jan 24 2013, 13:48
Doorj transitions with crud in them is a big turn off. It's easy to get some paint or stain and touch up every door transition from outdoors to indoors, especially sliding glass doors.
By Jim Volstad,  Thu Jan 24 2013, 13:54
Used house salespeople (Realtor's) who ask the buyer "what do you think of the house"? As a buyer, it's not my job to get the listing agent information about what I thought about the property.
By Maglei Rethwisch,  Thu Jan 24 2013, 13:54
By Mom,  Thu Jan 24 2013, 13:55
Interesting comments and agree that your home should be in the best condition it can be for your budget when showing. However, HGTV generally, and House Hunters specifically, have turned young buyers into house snobs. It's depressing to see young couples who have modest budgets shopping for homes with "must haves" such as all hardwood or tile flooring, granite counter tops, crown moldings, fancy decks, and fully fenced yards. They haughtily state there's no way they could move into a house without these features. Good grief, what happened to saving money and fixing things up as you go? What a bunch of spoiled brats.
By Wendy Pappas,  Thu Jan 24 2013, 13:58
Moldy grout in bathrooms, kitchen floor grout with food stuck in it....Dirty oven, microwave, fridge...Clutter is a personal pet peeve of mine.....I will walk out....I am currently looking for a home and also currently selling a home....I know what I like to see and try to keep my home looking that way for showings....Its not always easy as I have children but I will stay up half the night before a showing making sure there arent any toys under stuff or dirty bathrooms etc etc.....
By Jo Ann Marrese,  Thu Jan 24 2013, 14:00
Backs up to a fairly busy street with traffic noise. I have a listing like this and even though it is a very nice home, and we reduce the price weekly (to where it is now under market) still no bites. I wish it were as simple as decluttering or eliminating odors : o(
By winnie78,  Thu Jan 24 2013, 14:00
I agree with Mom and I think one of the best things a realtor can do is take a couple like that to a house that has everything they want and watch the sticker shock hit. When they realize that all their wants are way out of line with their budget, maybe they will get real.

What ever happened to the idea of a first modest home and dreams of moving up in the future?
By Maria,  Thu Jan 24 2013, 14:05
I really don't believe on many of the list items, the price is the only thing that buyers look at, I cleaned my house, turn on the fire place, not pets, no odors, I always like to keep plugs for nice aroma, remodel my master bath and bedroom, granite counters, hardwood floors, but cheaper units are sold first, even if they look horrible on the pictures.
By Billie Walker,  Thu Jan 24 2013, 14:05
I think staging is stupid. YOU ARE NOT buying the furniture, look at the house the WAY YOU would fix it. How we always did and believe me, we have bought & sold more homes than I can count!! I do put away clutter, always make the bed, but to totally stage a home, that may not sell for months and YOU STILL have to live in is plain stupid to me, it is MY home, I WILL live in it the way I LIKE IT!! For Heaven's sakes, have ppl forgotten how to use their imagination anymore???? It's, "what can I do to it" I always went for, not what they have/had in it!!! But to begin with, we do not smoke in the house and it is always clean!! I would NEVER live with animal droppings or gross stuff on the floor anyways. JUST MY WAY! GIVE YOUR IMAGINATION A TRY!! Seriously??? Put your pictures away??? I WILL NOT!! My little girl died and HER PICTURES WILL STAY OUT!! USE YOUR HEAD FOR GOD'S SAKES, YOU DO HAVE AN IMAGINATION, USE IT!!
By Vesparider2,  Thu Jan 24 2013, 14:06
I've seen cobwebs in the high corners (get an extension feather-duster) and mouse droppings on the water heater. We're considering two homes, and the mouse droppings may just do in one of them. I was also turned off by an overly-cutsey Victorian. They should have removed the lace trim from the shelves and put half of the figurines away.
By basschickmail,  Thu Jan 24 2013, 14:08
Overpricing is our complaint. Owners are sometimes unrealistic about prices - you can find their homes still listed months after all the other new listings in their area have sold within a few weeks. Smells are the worst for us in person, because there's no way to be sure those smells will go away - and in fact, sometimes they don't.
By Dianne Finnegan,  Thu Jan 24 2013, 14:08
As a buyer nothing says "run" like a messy house that no one lives in! If your grandmother is deceased and you decided to sell the house, clean it up, get rid of the trash! I don't need to see the paperwork from a car that she bought in 1958 in the dining room! (while it was interesting the clutter was distracting). I have been in so many houses that are just full of junk and trash and no one lives in them. I understand that a house is a home, but if it is unoccupied and it is full of trash etc. . . there is no way I can even think that there are serious other issues as well. A dirty house will stay with me. A house that I see pictures of that is dirty and cluttered and looks like no one knew what a broom was, won't get me to go see it either.
By Nancy Demarkis,  Thu Jan 24 2013, 14:09
I read all comments and the article with interest. I will be marketing my home in early March. I have been repairing, redecorating and de junking for months now on my schedule. Painting is fresh, furniture is well staged and minimal now. I have moved things to storage, sold things I don't need and depersonalized plus neutralizing. The home is large, on a beautiful piece of property and I have researched pricing etc. I will be gone when the home is shown and it will be very clean. I have taken my own great pictures for online as the rooms are ready for them. All this is not going to help if someone does not like pets. I have three dogs - all well trained and groomed regularly. Nobody messes on any carpets or chews things. I have new carpeting in three rooms as well but not because of the pets.. There are two doggie doors and a fenced yard. I will take the dogs with me while the home is shown but people will know they/he/she exist. If this is a problem, then so be it. The way I look at it, if the buyer has pets, they will welcome the already installed pet doors and fenced yard so this will be a plus. Some of the suggestions are over the top unrealistic in my opinion. I may post a picture WITH my dog in it so nobody will be surprised.
By nowhiners,  Thu Jan 24 2013, 14:10
Dead animals' heads on the walls.
By Cathy West,  Thu Jan 24 2013, 14:12
I agree with Mag, personally, I would prefer they take the barking/jumping dogs away -it's difficult to answer a clients questions/discuss the property if Fido is barking & growling so loud outside you can't communicate. And, it's so lovely when they leave dog droppings on the carpet for everyone to see & smell...NO ONE wants to pay $400,000 for a house that exhibits dog poo during the showing people!
By Maria,  Thu Jan 24 2013, 14:16
Many owners can't price their homes cheaper because they have loans, that is my situation, I need to downsize, my mortgage has gone up $200 a month on 2 years and has being a struggle to make the payments, my credit is excellent and I can't damage it by going on a short sale.
By Mary Charters,  Thu Jan 24 2013, 14:16
Excessive clutter, strong cooking, smoke or pet odors and disruptive pets. This was a great article!
By Michael Beals,  Thu Jan 24 2013, 14:17
10-4 ,Mom!! Many young couples want a home "Just like Dad & Mom's" right at the start, their first home!! They don't stop stop to remember that their parents quite possibly started out in a one-room apartment and WORKED for 30-40 years to get what they presently own. "Spoiled Brats" is exactly what many of these kids are!!
By Nancy Demarkis,  Thu Jan 24 2013, 14:20
I agree Monica. The home selling racket has gotten out of hand. No inspector is going to come, charge the buyer $500 and say "everything is wonderful". They HAVE to find something wrong. I am hiring a realtor to SELL my home not drag every Tom, Dick and Harry around to hope someone likes it. Because of my experiences with inspectors, my buyers will not be getting the nice fixtures in my shed or garage, shelving is being removed and so forth because I don't want them to cite the entire electrical code about conduit to me so a workshop can have lighting. Been there done that and it's not even a violation but they buyers get scared because they say it on paper.
By Monica,  Thu Jan 24 2013, 14:20
Re Hater #4..Buyers that are so ridiculous with their demands of the little things if they can't find any big things like new light bulbs, replace $4 dirty air filter,lower water temperature,fix loose toilet seat,...are you kidding me ??? I also had to fix a back burner that wasn't lighting, caulk around a shower, put floor guides for closet back on that had been removed by carpet installers, adjust fire door to garage back to original "slamming behind me mode"...and the abuse will pay forward, and so it goes on and on..this whole industry is such a racket...the inspector this and that, the termite guy, the appraiser...so over this...Renting from here on ;)
By Ron Aguilar,  Thu Jan 24 2013, 14:23
this reminds me of looking at used cars
By Mvantil,  Thu Jan 24 2013, 14:24
There's a happy medium between "depersonalizing" to the extent that HGTV and some realtors suggest and showing a highly cluttered house. But you're also told, "Don't sell an empty house." (Personally, I rather BUY a house when empty than when lived in.) My own pet peeve is the air-freshener-or-scented-candles-to-cover-odors thing (including Febreze) -- and where I live a lot of REALTORS do that. Though I know some good ones, I've seen far too many realtors who don't earn their keep, frankly. They expect to get their 6 or 7% for doing virtually nothing. The photos they take are often astonishingly lousy (entirely agree with that comment), they don't update them when it's the cusp of a new season. They don't keep website listings updated. They write bad descriptions, and apparently seldom don't offer needed good advice to their clients. Of course, self-obsessed buyers entirely lacking in imagination (not to mention any concept of reality) are also a big problem. In general, I think HGTV has done the housing market nationwide a huge disservice.
By Michael Beals,  Thu Jan 24 2013, 14:25
Yes Cathy! I will not show a home that has dogs present in the home. Potential customers do not need to be "crotch-sniffed" while they are viewing a home. Sellers- If you want to sell your home- KEEP THE LIVESTOCK OUTSIDE- and let customers view in peace!!
By Monica,  Thu Jan 24 2013, 14:26
Good Idea Nancy. My home was built in 2008, and the center island never had any power going to it but had electrical outlets. Sure enough the inspector said the center island has no electricity. I said yes it never worked but i had to have someone come out and tell us that it was never hooked up and the house would have to be torn apart to find an electrical line to go to it...If I knew then what aI know now I would have just put a plate over the outlet...I don't think the buyer will pull out because of the center island issue but it sure has stressed me out. There are a lot of other things I learned as well. And if I sell again I will be sure to have all my ducks in a row before inspections...Buyer beware...lol!
By Sarah Custer,  Thu Jan 24 2013, 14:29
deansautomotive58 thank you!
By Susan Moffett,  Thu Jan 24 2013, 14:32
One thing you can do is put in stronger light bulbs. A dark room feels dingy. Kitchens need to be super bright. And de-clutter. Remove 90% of the photos from the tables and walls. Rearrange the walls so, while not bare, they aren't overwhelmed with photos or art. Photos and art distract buyers and if they don't care for the sellers taste, it can be a negative.
By Angelo Cosentino,  Thu Jan 24 2013, 14:35
Agreed, and I enjoyed reading this. I am a Realtor in San Francisco & Marin counties where there is so little inventory and it's a sellers market... most everything, dumpy or not, is selling fast and with multiple offers. Good online marketing efforts make the difference. Angelo Cosentino, McGuire Real Estate http://www.angelocosentino.com
By Chris,  Thu Jan 24 2013, 14:35
Buyer NY: Over price homes are a turn off. We saw a home on the market in Muttontown since 2010 1.699m,taxes 33k an one room unfinished basement.
We knew it was over price and we love the school district moreover, we pull the trigger and made an offer of 1.35m
with a commitment letter however, the seller counter with 1.65m. We laugh and walk away. If you are not ready to negotiate don't put your house on the market.
By Donna Miller,  Thu Jan 24 2013, 14:43
I am a Realtor, and I have found from experience that a nicely staged property vs a vacant property is always more readily received in a positive manner. The property is more welcoming and shows its possibilities. I only recently staged a listing with extra furnishings of mine. The effort produced a warm and welcoming feel to the property, and it sold in a very short period of time, with both Seller and Buyer happy.
By heres2ufrome,  Thu Jan 24 2013, 14:45
Unbelievable - the number of complaints to a complaint. Maybe people are selling homes because they don't care about their home or impressing a realtor - why not stage a home or clean it yourself to remove the pet peeves???? PLZZZZZZZZZZ
By Diane Minick,  Thu Jan 24 2013, 14:51
@deansautomotive58 - when a seller decides to put their home on the market, its now a product for sale and for all to view and should be in its best condition, no clutter, personal photos, toilet lids down, clean, clean, clean, etc.!
By Ali,  Thu Jan 24 2013, 14:52
I have only two points that 's very important to me when I 'm looking at a home. The first one is if I do smell any kind of scented candles or scented spray , I Couldn't go in , because I have severe allergies and if I went in I would be finished for the day to be able to view any more homes. I hate that I have that problem , believe me I wish I didn't..... Second , I agree with what most comments said about being clean. If a home is not decently Cleaned, it says a lot about how other things may not have been maintained either, like plumbing , roof checked regular , and this is True too , People Worry About Germs, and illness , the slightest hint of someone not caring about being clean in the little areas that only take a few minutes to keep clean , is a Big Red Flag to me and I don't want to even go in.
By Dan Dreher,  Thu Jan 24 2013, 14:54
Replace light bulbs and clean ceiling fans - - nothing is worse than 1" of dirt on the fan blades !!
By Billie Walker,  Thu Jan 24 2013, 14:56
We have to sell our home on 9 acres, not because we do not like it nor want it, but because my husband had a stroke and now it is too much for him. Our home is always kept very clean, very nice, freshly painted over a yr. ago, but 2 old ppl don't do much damage. I think it is silly to have to put away my deceased daughter's pictures if ppl can't use their imagination. I always looked at a home and thought, oh, I can do this or that, not the furniture, not the pictures, etc. I love my home, it is gorgeous and a gorgeous setting nestled in the hills of Tn. I will be sad when it does sell, but not everyone sells because they don't care about it. It just got too big with kids gone and only 2 ppl live there. Until his stroke this past yr. he cut all 5 cleared acres, we kept a garden and canned. Cannot do it anymore, so a hard decision was made. We have to sell. Bottom line and yes, we left room to negotiate.
By Anita Flynn,  Thu Jan 24 2013, 14:57
My pet peeve is DIRT....my mom used to say "Clean is only as expensive as the soap!" and "Elbow grease is free!" I'm a REALTOR and have experienced many Buyers who have no vision at all. The statistics show that only 7% of people can envision a home with their own things in it....I am also a Stager and after working for home owners and other REALTORS I would have to say I believe it!! It may be sad that we are where we are today with the expectations and lack of vision that most Buyers exhibit, but as the saying goes "It is what it is", and we are stuck with it. I see the homes I have staged sell all the time for more money and a lot faster (or ACTUALLY SELL after having been on the market before with other Realtors who did not stage or take decent pix!). The stats are that these homes usually sell within 30-60 days. A LOT faster than most! (If they are priced right, of course.) To sellers I say...you must view the home through the eyes of your potential buyers....depersonalize and yet keep the home warm and appealing...clean up, clean out, (do some pre-packing) and make sure there are no odors...and get the landscaping and lawn under control as much as you can! It's your only chance to make that all-important first impression (9 seconds). Don't forget, the buyers won't even get out of the car to be impressed by all you have done inside if the place has no curb appeal!! Cut the bushes down from the top and round them out....trim the trees from the bottom up to neaten and expose the home....repair and paint if needed and be sure your front door entry area is free of cobwebs and dirt as much as possible! Change the lockset on the front door if need be, so REALTORS can enter easily and smoothly with your potential BUYER in tow :)...I could go on and on, but you get the idea...good luck to all the sellers and buyers out there.
By Candy Cargill,  Thu Jan 24 2013, 15:03
By deansautomotive58, Thu Jan 24 2013, 11:42
geez..I am reading this and wondering what planet you guys all live on? no offense, but if people look at a home and it is the right price and the right area, size etc does anyone else have imagination other than me? Messes can be cleaned, carpets changed, wallpaper removed, other peoples laundry, religious items and family pictures get packed in boxes and hauled away WITH THEM. The dogs and cats go too..some of this stuff sounds like buyers excuses when they dont like the home for some other general reason. Unless the house is EMPTY and ALWAYS HAS BEEN, people live there, eat there, make love there, (yeah that too) go to the toliet there, and when they are sick they throw up there too! The cat pukes hairballs on the carpet and the dog throws up too. Lots of baby spitup is all over the babies room too. The people laugh there and cry there, sometimes they even DIE there! Especially if your house is over 80 years old or so. ITS A HOME FOLKS. Every home has defects even a new one. Welcome to the brave new imperfect world we all live in. So much of this stuff is so picky, I wish I was these folks as I could worry about these insignificant things instead of larger issues! GROW UP! guys no offense but you come off as crybabies, and so do the clients.
By crsquared,  Thu Jan 24 2013, 15:06
False advertising. Advertising a home as 4 bedrooms when in fact it's 3 with a pass through room to another bedroom, or advertising a front porch when the front porch is a slab of chipping concrete, or claiming beautiful landscaping when the only landscaping is mulch and a couple of bushes.
By Katam032601,  Thu Jan 24 2013, 15:10
The absolute WORST is when the pictures are awful. There is zero reason to look further. Definitely a lost sale.
By lucas,  Thu Jan 24 2013, 15:12
Make sure the tenant is out. I had a tenant that followed the buyers around pointing out the fixtures that weren't staying with the house. Get the hell out and let the buyers speak their minds!
By Barb Mihalik,  Thu Jan 24 2013, 15:24
Dated window coverings, too many silk plants, smelly potpourri being used to cover up even worse odors, carpets with mysterious. unidentifiable stains, tarnished mirrors, rusty garage doors and front doors in need of paint or cleaning, doorbells that don't ring, smoke detectors chirping in need of battery replacements, weeds and overgrown yards, non working hot tubs, rotting decks, cobwebs, wasp nests, unmade beds, hair in sinks and tubs, unflushed toilets, just to name a few.
By Catresea Ann Canivan,  Thu Jan 24 2013, 15:26
My Dad ran the accounting department for a large firm many moons ago and I remember he always said "work smart not hard" IOW spend what time and money you have on the most easily-fixable, inexpensive problems first. It's all very well to tell sellers to tear down wallpaper and wood paneling, and fix every malfunction in your house. In this economy, a lot of sellers don't have a lot of time or money to put into "staging". I know my husband and I don't. We also have a cat, she is a member of the family & I will not hide her away to sell my house. I guess I'm lucky she's a shy cat and very clean... most people don't even know she's around. If a potential buyer is highly allergic to cats well this just isn't the house for him or her. You can't please everyone. I remember a house we bought that broke plenty of your "rules" but we fell in love with the architectural style and didn't care a whit that the house had very old windows & doors that all didn't work well,was barely insulated & painted in strange (to us) colors. The seller seemed to draw attention to the house's good points... a beautiful fireplace with fresh flowers on the mantle and one vintage-looking beautiful photo of people who could have been relatives of the owners. That photo certainly didn't put us off at all. We also loved the hardwood floors... if you have them it's definitely worth pulling up the rugs to show them off. Not too much work, free because we did it ourselves in the house we'll be showing soon, and wow what an improvement! IMO our most important job as sellers is to keep the house clean, clutter free and as sunlight-friendly as possible. It doesn't cost anything to open the blinds & pull back drapes.
By Gloria Duy,  Thu Jan 24 2013, 15:32
I am not a realtor. I totally disagree with Dean and Candy. I have imagination, but if a house needs a lot of work I am adding it up in my head and am going to give you a low offer. My homes have all sold fast, even in this economy because they showed PRIDE. If all of the stuff you see has not been taken care of what about the stuff you can't see? The only houses that have sold in my town were really nice or really cheap. If you can't flush your toilet or clean up cat puke don't blame your realtor for not getting you top dollar...or a sale.
By captaindrywall,  Thu Jan 24 2013, 15:33
Wallpaer is so bad, It must be removed. Of course I do that for a living.
By leighusa54,  Thu Jan 24 2013, 15:37
Also make sure that all the holes and cracks where roof rats can get through and get to your attics and chew on wiring. They love to munch of wring because it trims there teeth as teeth grow consistently which is the number one cause of house fires. As a buyer it is super wise to bring a sheet of paper and write the good things about the house and the bad. Double check everything before putting any money down. We live in an area where mice, roof rats, snakes migrate and in the cooler months they will seek shelter and warmth.
By Stephen,  Thu Jan 24 2013, 15:38
I think deansautomotive58 is completely correct. I can't tell you how many listings I got because the previous Realtors had stupid pet peaves. If it's something easily remedied and obvious then fine but moving is stressful enough. The real problem is Realtors lack the imagination it takes to help their clients see through the imperfections because they can't either. If they would just tape record themselves they would see how they cut their own throats over and over again.
By Makbul.patel,  Thu Jan 24 2013, 15:41
I like how you Americans say messes; dog messes, child messes. I am more used to just saying mess!
Anyways, I hate, just truly hate dogs and all their associated 'messes'. I've passed on a few houses in the uk because the owner kept a dog. Yuk. And greasy fried smells, hate them too.
By GMT,  Thu Jan 24 2013, 15:44
All comments I agree but my pet peeve is wallpaper wallpaper wallpaper -- especially in a small house.
By wendy.campbell,  Thu Jan 24 2013, 15:49
Sorry deans automotive58, if I'm dropping down a cool half mil for a house, I should not have to have that much imagination. Clean your damn house or I'll keep my money in pocket and move on to the next cleaner home.
By Juan Jimenez,  Thu Jan 24 2013, 15:59
Fred Miller,

You are a smart man
By Troy Schuyler,  Thu Jan 24 2013, 15:59
LOL, we can tell em and tell em. Getting seller's to listen is another story:) Nice post! http://www.roseburghomesforsale.com
By Karen Leonardo,  Thu Jan 24 2013, 16:05
Amen to the haters list! As a stager I always insist my clients focus on these issues and other preparation tasks, BEFORE we ever attack "making it look beautiful" through staging. The staging phase never hides what will be turnoffs or the items that eventually show up on inspection lists.
By Mtnmatthews,  Thu Jan 24 2013, 16:09
I just bought my first home and had to look at many others to find that special place in my price range. I could look past most minor cosmetic things, different decorating styles and minor fix-its, but 2 things really stood out in all of the homes I looked at. First was if a strong smell hits you in the face when entering the home. Be it air freshener, pet odors, cooking smells, cigarette smoke or an unidentifiable funk, strong smells are awful. Enough homes had these that those that had a neutral smell when entering really stood out. Secondly, dirty bathrooms. I really can't believe how many homes had disgustingly filthy bathrooms, not just build up but filth. I am talking about toilets and tubs that looked like (and smelled like) they haven't been cleaned in a year. I wish I could say I only saw this in short sales or REO's but I saw this problem across the board. The rest of the home may look great but if the bathroom is gross I pretty much figure the seller hasn't cared much for the entire house. I can't believe the number of real estate listing photos that show dirty toilets?? Effort spent cleaning the bathroom and dealing with hard water build up and rust stains along with airing out the house goes along way.
By Shalu Thaman,  Thu Jan 24 2013, 16:21
Thought this article was written for the sake of writing something. The part about odors, messes & dirt is the most basic advice that a Listing agent gives to the homeowner ie. IF the homeowner is oblivious about it.
The part about the overpricing shows a disconnect on the part of the writer as this has not been happening for quite a while. Yes, listings are harvested by greedy & unethical agents for buyer leads, but in NJ there are few & far between listings that are overpriced as inventory has been tight & buyers are still having a tough time being approved due to tight credit & lending by banks.

Also disagree about the odors as have not encountered this aspect in my showings over the 'down market years' .
Realtors have worked harder to educate sellers & homeowners have responded cooperatively for 2 reasons; these are sellers who have a need to sell & with less equity in their homes , it is smarter to make these minor adjustments than act tough about them.

Sorry Tara, no meat in this one.
By Amy Westerlund,  Thu Jan 24 2013, 16:35
Listen to the expects, us as Realtor's see hundreds of homes a year.
Take a little time to update inexpensive things that will bring you more money to your bottom line.
By Alicia Douglas,  Thu Jan 24 2013, 16:36
I will not even set foot in a house that has cats!!!! Even if I love the house. 1. I am extremely allergic. 2. The smell and hair is ALWAYS all over the house. I find it so gross! If you are selling your house please keep the pets out of it. If not, please clean up after them.
By Cynthia,  Thu Jan 24 2013, 16:38
Great article - oddly needed to be said. I looked at a home with a collection of hunting trophies thoroughly filling the wall space. I know, people have different opinions about hunting and that's okay, but it was just gruesome walking around with what seemed like the head of every blessed creature on Noah's ark staring down at us. The overwhelming smell of mens' cologne didn't help either. Bad vibes, bad chi, whatever you want to call it - it was refreshing to leave.
By Voices Member,  Thu Jan 24 2013, 16:41
Yesterday I showed the most perfectly kept, super duper clean listing. The well-trained owner, an older lady, let us in and stepped out to the patio. We were awed by the housekeeping but when we went to close the master closet folding door, the wood at the top where the pin keeps on the track cracked open and nearly hit my buyer. We were so embarrassed! Even a perfect house can pack unknowns.
By ejljr,  Thu Jan 24 2013, 16:42
What I see in my tours of open houses is sometimes really terrible. And who's at fault? Primary fault is the owner. But the realtor is at fault also for not getting his clients to shape up the house. I see it too often. When you have owners who have no idea what they are doing, you need a realtor who is firm and get the sellers to clean up, shape up.
By Maureen,  Thu Jan 24 2013, 17:20
I hate the "freshly painted" description only to find all the walls have been painted bright white! At least paint them a nice neutral beige. Wall paper is the worst! Who wants to deal with ripping it down? Also wallpaper borders... good way to ruin a room!
By Deb Poulton,  Thu Jan 24 2013, 17:22
Ok as a realtor I want to give advice on what will make a house I list stand out. There are a lot of houses for sale out there and every buyer wants to get the bwst bang for their buck. In a neighhood with similar homes that there are 3 others for sale all priced similarly if paints and staging makes it look bigger and more cared for do you want to sell first last or never. Some buyers see past things others may not have good imaginations.
By Jlhaberkorn,  Thu Jan 24 2013, 17:22
Buyers are now a product of a flooded market. While I understand people saying, "have some imagination" or "you can clean or fix this or that when you move in"; what you have to realize is that we are in a completely different market than we used to be. The market is now flooded with inventory. It's not that people CAN'T look past things or fix things, but unlike a couple years ago most buyers don't need to. There is so much inventory that they can usually find a similar house without the laundry list of "Things to do". So while I understand where people are coming from when they say "it's insane that people are being so crazy picky"; what you have to think about is that 99% of buyers(unless they're actually looking for a fixer) when asked to choose between two almost identical homes; one clean and staged and the other one a mess, will choose the clean staged home. With so many homes out there buyers CAN be picky, because if your house is a wreck, chances are there's a home just like it a couple of streets over that isn't. So the point again is not that people CAN'T use their imagination or look past horrid odors, unflushed toilets, etc.; it's that they no longer have to. (Also it is a known fact that most people clean up their homes, at least somewhat, before showing it. So if you walk in and it's a disaster and smells like something died, most would wonder if THIS is "cleaned up" for these owners, what major things have been neglected over the years along with the small things of cleaning)
By morenasalinas,  Thu Jan 24 2013, 17:23
Too many different colors on the wall, loud wall colors, dark cave like wall colors, or to unique type of colors. I know it's a somewhat easy fix for a buyer I find it turns many off.
By Elainecb44,  Thu Jan 24 2013, 17:56
I hate it when I see a refrigerator with all kinds of stickers, pictures, magnets that cover the entire refrigerator. Taken them down so it looks neat and orderly. Buyers don't want to see your child's pictures or other artwork; same goes for photos in your home.
By Roxann McDaniel-Doise,  Thu Jan 24 2013, 18:13
I can sure tell by the comments, who is a homeowner (seller) & who is showing homes to potential buyers on a daily basis (Realtor). If you are a seller & happen to have the only home for sale in a particular area that is "hot" then fine, live in your house & have it look like its show-readiness is an after-thought. But don't be surprised if it stays on the market a while, & finally sells at a price lower than anticipated. On the other hand if you are competing with other homes, have the need or desire to sell your property quickly & for a competitive price, your house better be competitively fit at the very least. In my market area of The Woodlands, TX the market is hot & Realtors, at least those of us who are experienced & depend on selling homes as our livelihood, know from experience that a house gets only 1 chance to make a 1st impression & it better be a positive one or the showing will either end prematurely or if the buyer is interested after comps are run, the offer may be less than stellar. Buyers run the show when it comes to looking at properties & no amount of "selling" by their Realtor can win a buyer over if the house turns them off due to a seller's desire to "live" in the house rather than be serious about getting it sold.
By Bruce,  Thu Jan 24 2013, 18:22
We were looking at homes to buy last year and walked out of one because my wife couldn't stand the sight of all the animal trophy heads on the wall. Also, another one was a turn off because of the religious objects all over the place. Finally, the owner who was dying of cancer, was in a wheelchair with an oxygen bottle nearby, but was smoking--that was depressing. Of course if the prices had been $20k under the market for these homes we wouldn't have cared about these turn--offs.
By Davidm,  Thu Jan 24 2013, 18:28
We talked my Dad into buying a house he didn't even want to look at. There were trash piles in the back yard and the place needed work. But he got a good deal on the place- out in the country with two acres of land. So yes- you can use your imagination.
OTOH, my sister only sold her place after she moved elsewhere and the place was empty.
Not everyone uses their imagination and mentally deletes the unattractive stuff, so it's best to present the place as spotless and uncluttered as possible.
By Mary Williamson,  Thu Jan 24 2013, 18:33
I agree wholeheartedly with House Hater Complaint #4: " Lots of little malfunctions" . Time and again I have seen buyers scrutinize the dozens of small malfunctions and ignore the great assets of an well priced home. But my pet peeve and deal-killer is bathroom clutter in the form of shampoos and personal products. It can make even the nicest bathroom scream for a total remodel..
By Valerie Dison,  Thu Jan 24 2013, 18:45
If a house is uncluttered, clean and well cared for the house will sell. Buyers will take the sellers as being serious. And serious sellers attract serious buyers. Keep toilet lids down, there is no need for them to be up. Really grips me when I see seat and lids up in realtor pics. That is a crime!! also odors turn people off more than dirt, clutter and anything else put together! Don't try to cover up smells with scented candles. Use candles but use the unscented kind. Candlelight is very soothing and just like a woman, a house looks good in candlelight! I am offended by the person that called Realtor's Used House salespeople. We happened to have gone through a very difficult class and exam to do what most of us love and that is real estate. We help people find a place to call home and home is the best place there is!
By George Grayson,  Thu Jan 24 2013, 18:45
Since when is selling a house based on hate? An agent who has viewed the property, agreed to list it, and I agree to pay 6% on a $500,000 sale equal to $30,000, had better not bring a "hater" onto my property for any reason.

Agents, do your job. Most sellers want to offer good value and don't want to be bothered with fearmongering.
By blisstraveler,  Thu Jan 24 2013, 19:05
After reading this i am considering cancelling the use of an agent and selling my home myself. I have been in sales, marketing and leasing for years. Pre-sale is as important as pre-qualifying, The agent is geting a large sum for their efforts and not giving up their property. Agents sound like poor sales people if they can not place a person in the home with other's belongings still in the home. I would start with" imagine the fun you will have making this your home", easy sales techniques that agents are too lazy to employ. Real Estate Agents expect me to cancel my life at their whim for clients who have no intention of paying anywhere near the price I am asking. They compare my no HOA home with a vast area of homes around mine even though I live in a select cul-d--sac area with a pool, spa, cabana, 1/3 basketball court, sound prewired in all roons, 2 fireplaces, 3 car garage listed ar 299,999! On top of that they expect me to stop lighting candles, use fabreeze which gives me a headache and not use my home. Tomorrow I raise the price because prople looking at the home can't afford to maintain the home and I am mad that my agent would forward this to me. The reason I am selling is I currently have opportunites to walk again outside this area, this is abeautiful home. Yes I am packing and clutter improves as we pack, Yes I am usually in bed, however I am saying this is a beautiful home, you will love it. I intend to purchase a home after selling this one, I can look at the structure, the features, through clutter, paint is easy. Oh yes the master suite and public areas have beautiful shutters throughout, there is a media room which can be made into a bedroom with closet and study with buily in office and desk. Yhis house is beautiful and a stral at this price while I will be walking soon, I am not presently so will be in bed.....My number is 702-635-5541. If you want a great place to live call me..
By ivanporritt,  Thu Jan 24 2013, 19:41
Excelllent read. Very well made common sense points for both selling and buying. I am English & my wife is American. I have been around this World more times than i care to mention. The worst thing I have seen and pointed out when looking for long-term renatl or to buy: Carpets the worst thing ever (especially in the corners where no machine can go or person can scrub the same, dusing around objects (vases, ornaments etc), personnel photos (10yr+ wedding ones, children from school & now grown up, holiday photos from years gone by etc), flowers too many is overpowering, Too clean shows there are problems as well as not enough.
Agents that point out the obvious or too infomative with only good points. A little history is fine: when it was built, how many owners its had, how long the current owners have had it. Inform buyers about good points, yes, but also mention a few bad ones ying-and-yang, good and bad is in evyday life so why not in a home.
By Bmm11772,  Thu Jan 24 2013, 20:52
I have owned and sold two homes and after 10 years of apartment living in NYC am ready to buy a house again. I think it all comes down to common sense. Clean, put away your animals, and deodorize But I disagree that a stager will make or break a sale. HGTV is to real life home buying as Law and Order is to real life courtrooms. IF ANYTHING HAS BEEN STAGED IT'S THE BUYER'S RESPONSES ON HGTV! I hope there are not that many real brats out there that are coming from living with mom and dad to the buying market. Of course they script the show, otherwise it wouldn't be entertaining.
Buyers should be able to see past any clutter or defects and I think that the responsibility of coaching them through this should fall upon the buyer's agent. I saw a house that was an estate deal that was chock full of 80 years of junk but behind that was a gem of a Victorian house waiting to be lovingly restored and it was such a great deal (it was out of my commute and I sadly passed). Reality check- if you want to buy a house and you don't want to do any work, BUY A NEW HOUSE BUILT TO YOUR SPECS! But realize, new homehunters, that owning a home IS WORK and you will have to do some kind of work or repairs in due time. Good luck.
By Loni Jones,  Thu Jan 24 2013, 20:59
All of these coments are great suggestions! Im a realtor also and wish agents would realize that unless the house is a foreclosure that it should be staged. We stage all of our listings and take pride in each and every one. See our first "guided" video tour we just did. Would love some of yall to comment on it too. We are trying to take the lead in what we do and bw innovative. So please, if you have time, let us know whAt you think ;) http:/tinyurl.com/702candlelight
By Lny Dri,  Thu Jan 24 2013, 22:06
, Independent Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ect.-13.
By Simone rosa,  Thu Jan 24 2013, 22:20
My biggest pet peave with every realtor who's shown a house I'm in (never a listing agent working for me) is that I get minutes or NO advance notice of their intent to show up with clients and then they act surprised or put off when the house isn't spotless. My favorite was the agent who let herself into the house while my entire family was SLEEPING and then got pissed because I greeted them on the stairs, in my robe & pjs, and refused to let her and her clients upstairs to see the bedrooms. If agents expect a house to be spotless and devoid of all residents then you HAVE to give people advance notice of your intent to show it!
By Andi Ryan,  Thu Jan 24 2013, 22:55
Smoking in the garage also causes odor in the house and most home sellers can't smell this. Smoking right outside the door blows into the house and causes lasting odors as well.
By Ebel_ma,  Fri Jan 25 2013, 05:26
While selling my late fathers home I'm also looking. One of my favorites was the one that had black mold in the living room, plain as day...and I was using a flashlight. Bathrooms and kitchens tend to be the nastiest rooms but bleach works great. When it comes to odors, especially in older homes (or with smokers) it's musty. Amazing what tri-sodium phosphate can do with nicotine and such, same with Killz paint. Who, of the buyers out there, is NOT going to scour the house they move into whether it's older or brand new?
By Mary Petti-ABR,SFR, Relocation,  Fri Jan 25 2013, 05:38
In no particular order...stained, filthy, unvacuumed carpet or 1970's sculpted/shag carpet...paneling, especially when painted over to "disguise" it...tons of busy wallpaper...laundry piled up in the laundry area/bedroom floors...unclean pet cages that stink (rabbits, hamsters, guinea pigs)...one of MY personal gross outs is filthy switchplates and areas around door handles with finger marks and BLACK grime...thick layers of dust on ceiling fan blades and on wall ducts...cats walking on counters while showing the home...mold/mildew on grout in showers (ever hear of scrubbing bubbles?) LOL...
By Maryj612,  Fri Jan 25 2013, 06:20
When we sold my late father-in-law's house we spent some time cleaning, but more time decluttering. It was located in a decent area of CA, in a desirable school district. Considering he lived in it for over 60 years it was in very good condition because he was an experienced licensed former contractor and an excellent carpenter - all kitchen cabinets were made by him and he added a Master Bathroom in the 60s that was better than most bathrooms I've seen; in addition, he was very orderly. The problem was the realtor that we didn't hire. Basically, after interviewing a few realtors, we hired a realtor that, once he was hired, brought in an associate he said was "better equipped" to handle the property. Meanwhile, I had taken the time to see other properties in the area and knew dad's was better than anything else listed for sale in his general area. As a matter of fact, most of the properties did not show well at all and did not have as much actual property. To make a long story short, the "better equipped" realtor ended up listing it for less than what it should have been listed for and when I voiced my objections to the realtor we actually expected to help us he said he was disappointed too but there was nothing he could do because he was "new" and she was "more experienced. It was like they were playing good cop bad cop. I was pretty annoyed, but also had bigger fish to fry at the time and time was running out because dad could no longer live there alone. Obviously, we needed to sell his house for him and we ended up chalking it all up to experience. NEVER, NEVER, NEVER hire a realtor without making them sign something stating they are actually the one that will be handling your business, not an associate that you did not interview/hire. The bottom line is, she low-balled it to sell it quickly; it sold within 3 days. I suppose she made top salesperson for that month, but I've often wondered at how many others' expense.
By Eli,  Fri Jan 25 2013, 06:39
When i pull up to a home and see either sloppy or no landscaping, broken fences and dog poop all over the lawn.........I don't even get out of the car! And smoking in the garage!!! I was ready to purchase a lovely condo until i walked into the garage. the smell nearly knocked me over.....just disgusting and ruined the sale. needless to say, the condo is still on the market, and has been for over 6 months.
By Burgess,  Fri Jan 25 2013, 06:45
In my opinion a fully staged home is asking a lot from the sellers. There should be no reason to ask a seller that is still residing in the home to change their furniture, remove personal items, and stop living in the home they own. The seller and listing agent should however be responsible for making sure that when it is time to view that the house it is clean and odor free. Scent is strongly linked to memory and a bad smell makes a much more lasting negative impression than anything visual. Its not too much to ask the sellers to keep the home free of clutter. An organized closet and kitchen shows off the available space better. Picking up items off of the floor and keeping a space neat allows for less distractions. A clean home is a happy home and nobody likes to live in filth. These items are common sense. Other than that I have no problem with someones personal items and touches to a home. I recently bought my first house at the age of 26. While I was looking at the house I looked past the ugly paint in the bedrooms, the wallpaper throughout the kitchen and bathroom, the wood paneling in the basement, and the flooring throughout. All the rooms were clean and needed minimal work to change them to my taste. What I did care about was the hardwood floors throughout hidden under albeit clean but ugly carpet/linoleum, the newly replaced double paned windows throughout, the roof replaced in the past 2 years, the recently added second bath in the downstairs, the brand new hot water heater, the 3 year old furnace still under the extended warranty, the finished basement had sub flooring installed, and the fact there were no leaks or moisture in the basement( no mold). Stuff like this is what realtors should really be focusing in on. Making sure the buyers understand that you can just as easily paint the house just like the sellers could but its not so easy to remove mold from a basement or replace a roof. Explain that yes there nice perfectly staged furniture looks great in the living room but will the buyers furnishings fit as nice in the same space. My realtor hated me because I completely ignored most of the cutesy stuff she focused on and went to town taking measurements to make sure all my stuff would fit comfortably and inspecting every nook and cranny. I made sure I didn't buy a lemon of a house that would fall apart just because it looked nice.
By Ang,  Fri Jan 25 2013, 06:50
I am in the process of buying a home right now. My husband and I love the house because it is a bit artsy and has some Japanese style. BUT I've heard that a lot of people rolled their eyes the moment they pulled up to the house. Also it smells like old people. Yes, that flaky skin, old people smell. Had we not already been in love with the house, it definitely would have been an issue. The sellers have moved back to Australia, they left clothes in the clothes and a half consumed bottle of wine in the kitchen. The house is clean but they could have left some charcoal in the house to absorb the old person smell. Once we close I will be spending a week prior to moving just trying to get the smell out of the house.
By Prosebyme,  Fri Jan 25 2013, 07:26
Terrific article and comments. If people are that picky I might as well just let the bank foreclose on my home and let them take care of everything. In this economy people are losing their jobs, unemployment is running out and they are not finding new jobs but they are trying to keep a foreclosure off their credit reports and do not have the money to stage homes as they do on A&E and HGTV. I bought a house that was staged back in 1995 as it was in the same neighborhood that I grew up in and did not have to disrupt my childs life. I bought it from an individual b/c I told the realtor my highest price and she consistently showed houses way out of my price range. That is my pet peeve. Everything else cosmetic can be negotiated or changed prior to closing.
By Claw2,  Fri Jan 25 2013, 07:26
Yay, Mom, Heather and Dean! My exact thoughts. If you can't see past personal items, or only want the latest and greatest on a low budget, then you are completely unrealistic. Mom, I shake my head when I see some 20 year old bitty whining that the refrigerator isn't stainless. Even the cheapest models are offered in a stainless finish - why not look and see if it's a good *quality* appliance & not what the finish is (and stainless, my eye. It's a PITA to keep clean!)

As for photos, staging, etc. I don't expect all personality to be removed from the house. If I wanted a house with zero personality, I'd just buy a Mcmansion slapped together on a 2X4 lot that builders have been so fond of putting up the past 15 years or so. Staging, to me, is just as bad as putting a plant over a spot in the carpet: they are trying too hard & what is it they are hiding? All of these suggestions are cosmetic - except maybe the odors - I look at is the house going to burn down because of faulty wiring? Are the attic and basement dry? When's the last time the roof, water heater, furnace, windows, were replaced? Those are the important & big ticket items that are no fun to fix.

As far as those comments regarding unflushed toilets: sometimes, it's a previous looker who left that! I was selling my home from a distance, and had my neighbor come in 1x/week, and he would tell me he had to flush the toilets all the time. Don't blame the sellers, blame gross, spoiled, dimwit buyers!
By Sha-Ron Cassel,  Fri Jan 25 2013, 07:34
Skewed or completely fals photos in the listing that make the home look better than it really is. There were several homes that we would have NEVER looked at, but based on the photos we gave them a shot. We ran into several properties that we could not find the rooms that were posted. We know that mistakes are made, but the odds were just not right.
By Dana Scanlon,  Fri Jan 25 2013, 07:42
Tara, always spot on in your insights and direct style! The house needs to be presented in its best possible light to attract the best offer. I agree that we have all gone overboard about granite and stainless steel: in 10 years when these are "passé", we are realtors are going to have to sell them somehow when the next fad has gripped everyone's imagination. But there is no excuse for leaving the house looking like a whirling dervish just came through.
By Ang,  Fri Jan 25 2013, 07:45
Oh, another thing. In the process of looking for a home, not a house, a home. We viewed a cute little house, but I swear it was just too perfect. I didn't mind that one room had green and pink paint and a big owl decal on the wall. It just bugged me that the house was too perfect. I actually told my realtor that the owner should go into staging because her house was so perfect. But it was so perfect that it didn't feel like a home. It actually looked like a model home. Wallpaper is a big turn off. Also I think whether there are odors or not, cats in the home should be disclosed prior to viewing. I am super allergic to cats and I actually refused to view reasonable homes that I could tell had indoor cats from the pictures. Pet dander can stay in a home for six months after the animal has vacated. That's a serious consideration for someone with allergies. Buyers, if you can put in a fence, do it! Especially in the south where people spend a lot of time in their backyards, I don't want the whole neighborhood to have direct access to my backyard.
By Loni Jones,  Fri Jan 25 2013, 08:03
I love everyones honest input on here! Please watch our guided tour on a my listing. Its not your norm cheezy pictures that is zoomed in on with music in the background lol. It is REAL with some funny. Feedback welcome! ;)I agree though many changes need to be made in thr real estate market. You are paying these agents a commission to sell your home. They need to make some effort! Pictures are everything. Http://www.tinyurl.com/702candlelight
Again, feedback please :)
By Mary Branson,  Fri Jan 25 2013, 08:03
The house next door to me had a photo on multi-list of the master bedroom with a VERY visible crack running down the wall next to the wee fireplace in that room (a delightful attraction of the house). The realtor had taken the picture. (Crack was never fixed inside, either). Half the people who looked at the house, if I was outside, demanded of me what the foundation problems were. I just said I had no idea, thereby being less than pleasant to those who might be my new neighbors. It was extremely annoying. Realtors, please control your buyers AND sellers and, for goodness sake, watch what you put up on the internet.
By Juliewaara,  Fri Jan 25 2013, 08:14
For most people their home is the most expensive thing that they will ever sell. It is importment for there finances to make the most of what they have. Yes , I agree that HGTV has raised the bar to over picky buyers, but so has the market that we live in. It is a buyers market in most places and the cost associated with a few small improvents, cleaning, some fresh paint, staging, good photographs, goes along way for the relatively small investment. Much better than a huge price reduction or paying for it to sit on the market for a long time.
By Elden Teall,  Fri Jan 25 2013, 08:15
You are a better buyer if you have sellers experiences. Best advice I can offer is to sanitize your home by showing as much wall, floor and ceiling as possible by removing extra furniture, family pictures etc.
Have all lights turned on even if daytime before showing your home. Do not escort without being
asked to join the potential buyer. Let them discover deficiencies on their own merit. Elden
By Burgess,  Fri Jan 25 2013, 08:19
@Mary Branson just the epitome of a friendly neighbor. I doubt that the buyers demanded anything from you but more likely asked a simple question of you and you couldn't be bothered with a potential new neighbor. If I was them I would be glad to have had a brief interaction with you because I know for sure I would hate to end up living next to someone who is rude.
By fire_ball13,  Fri Jan 25 2013, 08:20
Sorry, I found this article to be redundant and not helpful. First of all, you need to keep repeating because there are NO solutions offered. In one comment left, the commenter mentioned the fact that there are, in facts, products to take odors away: Realtors, suggest these to your clients. As far as room paint/wallpaper again: Realtors, DO YOUR JOB!!!!! Writing up an offer is a tool for negotiation...DUH!!!!! If your clients like the home other than the paint or wallpaper then write it up in the offer that seller is to repaint (be specific on rooms etc) This is just so ridiculous!!! When I was a realtor, i had ALOT of clients that did NOT mind all the family photos..In fact, they were completely understanding that, in most cases, kids lived in the home and it is easier on the kids to keep their surroundings, although clean and kept, unchanged. Get over it!!! As a realtor, it is your job to not complain!!! It is your job to point out the positive that have everything to do with the house and not point out all the things that have nothing to do with what will be taken with the sellers!!! Most of the time, believe it or not, it is the agents that ruin a sale! Agents, get there before you clients by about 15-20 mins and walk through the house and flush any toilets, etc. DO YOUR JOB!!!!!! A good amount of my sales we wrote in the contract a floor covering, painting and/or appliance budget! Also, there is a place in the contract for repair costs: USE IT. Furthermore, in a time of short sales, there are too many houses, I am sad to say, where the family DOES NOT want to move; it is very emotional and hard on the kids. Therefore, when a short sale/modification fight has taken up 2 years and leaving the family in limbo, who gives a care if the kids' rooms are still painted and the family pics are up!!! It is an extremely difficult time and the least amount of change for the kids, the better! Again, realtors, do your darn job and point your positive out (of course not the total deal breakers like pet excrement and overflowing ashtrays on the floor and whatnot) but the stupid stuff that will not effect the buyers after the sale, do your job! If the client really likes the house but there is something that is "workable" or a solution can be taken care of before/at close of escrow and the buyers and sellers can both be happy, do your darn job and use that contract/purchase offer and your "sales skills" the way you are supposed to! And sellers agents, you will have to put money into your listings at times. If it is as simple as buying an odor extracting solution for your seller and helping them take care of it because they are frazzled and stressed due to loosing their home or because they just dont know where to get one or that one exists, help your client out at this horrible time and the sale!!!! It also helps to have a check list to give to your sellers at the time of the listing agreement that they sign explaining specific things you can write in together that you expect out of them to have their home ready for listing. Again, do your job realtors!!!!!!!!!!!!! The more creative you get and accepting of how real life is, the better you will do your job!!!!!! Buyers may not like clutter, but if they love the home to begin with it wont bother them as much unless you use your voice to help them!
By Meghan Brandon,  Fri Jan 25 2013, 09:00
The reality is that some buyers can look past things and some can't,
some people can decorate and some can't.
But if you can't decorate and want to sell your home it may be worth admitting and asking someone that can decorate for help.
As a Seller your goal is to get the house sold and get the best price. Right?
Rather than defend your mess and make less, just realize that Buyers are judging your space. They are looking for the best deal for the least money.
So, take a step back, look at this from the business end. No one is going to own your soul after you sell just because you made your house look a way that isn't really "you " to sell it. You will just have more $.
There is competition out there that is trying harder with staging techniques. For those buyers with plenty of money but little imagination and no desire to do a big remodel, the home that they will love and buy will be the one that shows the best the 1st time they see it. This may be an actual tour but will more likely be online. If the house is full of stuff or dated in pictures they may take it out of the running without a second thought.
Consider as a seller that you have an opportunity to make several thousand dollars more and sell quickly if you spend a little time and effort to paint declutter and stage each area of your home to show it for it's highest best use... even if you never used it like that. A little effort and inconvenience will make a big difference in the end .

The biggest sale killers in my experience are cluttered dated dirty spaces and sellers present at the showing. It makes the buyer uncomfortable.
Best showings are clean open staged spaces from the time you drive up to the property and lots of light, and warm or cool homes depending on the season. Buyers also pay more for these places because they don't see problems to negotiate. If there are issues with your house, even if you considered that in the selling price, a buyer will offer less because of them. Do repairs before listing. Wait an extra month to list if that's what it takes because it needs to be in top condition for the first buyer who sees it. If you can't wait to list... you need to call in all your favors , take a weekend and get your house ready. Do not just put the house on as is because you need to sell ... if you really need to sell do it right the 1st time.
You would brush your teeth before a date right? Even if they aren't the one it makes a difference if you try.
People also talk after they see a house and if it's awesome but not for them they may tell other buyers about it, if it's crappy and not for them they will also tell other buyers , who will in turn not buy.
Enjoy your Real opportunities y'all.
By Carolyn F Embury, SRES,  Fri Jan 25 2013, 09:53
My haters want a home that is 5 to 10 years old to have all the latest updates: granite; wood floors, etc. they want a new home for a resale price.
By Bruce Chronister,  Fri Jan 25 2013, 10:07
As a buyer, I would accept nearly any challenge as an opportunity for me to "re-do it MY way," if it means a SIGNIFICANT adjustment in the asking price.
By Christine.parker67,  Fri Jan 25 2013, 10:23
Hurray!! We accepted an offer! What really gets us is a filthy front door and unkempt lawn.. Granted its winter but you can still pick up stray litter and clean up the outside! We don't mind dated interiors but the price should reflect such things...having 2,500 sq feet but a kitchen and baths from the 70's, 80's is not the same as a house within a mile that has the same sq footage but updated baths and kitchen...those sellers that think they could sell at the same price point need to take a good hard look at the competition and decide to go lower nj their asking price!
By Prosebyme,  Fri Jan 25 2013, 10:47
When we were house hunting in 1994 I saw many houses that had pictures in them. To tell you the truth I felt like I was invading their privacy, but that was my own feeling; someone else may feel differently. The things that stuck out the most with me was how clean the house was (regardless of the style). One house I opened the back door to go out into the yard and the door fell off. Another had car parts under the bathroom sink instead of pipes and the door jamb was backwards with the tub a good inch away from the wall with 2 x 4s stuck in there. Whatever you purchase have your engineer inspect every single little thing before you put your name on the dotted line. That last house? They told me they never had a water problem, yet 2 years later there was a video of that house with only the roof visible. Check flood zone areas too before you sign!
By amschultz68,  Fri Jan 25 2013, 11:47
I could not agree more with the posts about HGTV! Buyers expectations have become ridiculously high and realtors and stagers are jumping on the bandwagon too. I recently sold a house due to a corporate relocation so the house was priced to sell - it was spotless, all new carpet, de-personalized per my realtors recommendation and the feedback we got was it was too sterile - so we hired a stager...her advice was to add "greenery" as in artificial plants! Thanks but no thanks! The house sold in 60 days - but it took about 50 showings to find that right person! It all comes down to marketing and getting people in the door. As a buyer the one thing that makes me a hater is high maintenance landscaping - I immediately become overwhelmed wondering how I will be able to take care of it!
By YiayiaMouse,  Fri Jan 25 2013, 12:13
I appreciate By Maryj612, Fri Jan 25 2013, 06:20's comment.

Although the majority of Realtors are likely doing the right thing by their sellers (and buyers), as with all professions, there are those who are not ethical in these transactions. An unethical Realtor sees no harm in talking a seller into under pricing or accepting a low ball offer unnecessarily (remember, they make the money within 30-60 days whether they acted in the best interest of their client or not!). The same holds true in Realtor-Buyer relationships; doing nothing to stop a Buyer from overpaying due to their inexperience in the market/location/buyer role is not unheard of (again - their commission is a percentage of the sale).

These unethical Realtors often justify their actions (in their own minds, if not aloud) by focusing on the "good deal" the Buyer got (poor Seller) or the "great price" the Seller got (poor Buyer). Shameful! (And hopefully not as common as I fear it is... Buyer and Seller Beware.
By Mvantil,  Fri Jan 25 2013, 12:41
amschultz68: Agree entirely re: HGTV. The vast majority of the "buyers" who are featured on the HGTV home-buying shows are people I'd immediately steer clear of. They're whiny, selfish, unrealistic idiots who act like the world revolves around them. (I also seriously wonder about how long some of the married couples stay married.) I have to admit it, though I'm a woman: the women are generally worse than the men, though not always. But a lot of the men are wimps.

Yes, a clean house is paramount, as is a realistic price. But beyond that, whether it has wallpaper, "high maintenance landscaping" (which may not be at all, but may just look like it). I myself am a gardener, as are many people where I live. Beds full of perennials, roses, fruit trees, etc., would suit me just fine, and in fact I quite dislike sterile-looking foundation plantings that look like everybody else's. So I suspect what I'd love amschultz68 would hate.

Whether a house has colors you like or things are styled exactly as you like also -- all that is going to appeal to SOMEBODY. A seller needs only one buyer, though in some cases -- especially if the house is unusual or in a style that doesn't have "mass appeal" -- it may take longer than average to find that buyer. It's not entirely unlike finding the right person to marry!

I personally also don't mind wallpaper (it's making a big comeback, BTW); sometimes it's stunning; all depends on quality, style, color and how and where it's used. I like natural surfaces including bare interior brick/wood/stone; some people hate that. If somebody advertises a house as "newly carpeted," that is definitely not a plus in my book or my husband's. Nor, usually, is "newly painted." I'd "newly paint" in any case, ALWAYS. But again, those are style things, and all such things can be -- should be able to be -- negotiated in terms of price. There's no huge glut of houses where I live in western NYS. Maybe that's why some people do think they can ask somewhat too much for houses that have dated kitchens and bathrooms, particularly. But as someone above reminded realtors: get your client open to negotiating! The thing that buyers need to remember is not to let themselves become emotionally attached to a house they KNOW they can't afford.

Another annoyance (it's rude, actually) re: HGTV is how often the realtors are showing the potential buyers stuff way out of their stated price range. My husband and I would drop a realtor like that like the proverbial hot rock. On the other end of that: buyers have to be realistic about what house-condition and features they're going to get in certain price range. Clearly a lot of those young HGTV buyers are clueless. And based on comments here, perhaps a lot of other buyers and sellers are too!
By silverfox9542004,  Fri Jan 25 2013, 12:44
Sold last year in Michigan for $10K over list price. Secret is only beds & nightstands in bedrooms, 1/2 empty closets and [live out of a suitcase for 3 wks], white sheer curtains or blinds on windows, and white rugs, etc. in all bathrooms [pack rugs away in plastic bags after showings]. AVERAGE AMOUNT OF SHOWINGS BEFORE OFFER IS 10! If it takes more, adjust the price. By the way, put in granite counters [tile squares only was most inexpensive] with new sink, fresh paint, light carpet....and lowered wattage in all lightbulbs just in case. Took pet, pet food, pet bowls with me in car when I left before showing. Weather is great here in South Carolina....
By Nina Gaspich,  Fri Jan 25 2013, 12:44
I have a problem with Realtors and "stagers" who insist that family photos should not be displayed. For one thing, it suggests that people of a certain background might not want to buy a house if they see people of another background in the photos. (OTOH anything truly ethnically insensitive, like old Aunt Jemima-type dolls, should be removed.) Also I happen to LIKE seeing a house that was 'lived in" and was a source of many happy memories for the previous occupants. It actually makes me feel BETTER about the possibility of making my own memories there!
By Melanie Peak,  Fri Jan 25 2013, 15:02
You wouldn't put on a stage performance without rehearsing and preparing --critics and audience would bury you! No one else would come to see you. Its no different with a house that is being shown to sell. If you want an audience -- buyers -- prepare! Your house is your stage -- make it ready for the front door (the curtain) to open. That's what staging is all about! It's merchandising. If you look like a garage sale, you'll get garage sale prices; if you look like Nordstrom,you'll get Nordstrom prices. Easy choice! Don't activate your listing until you have great photos -- don't take photos until the house is show worthy.
By Mrdunn53,  Fri Jan 25 2013, 15:07
A vacant house with all the utilities turned off in the middle of winter (cold weather climates). The inside is colder than it is outside and Buyers practically run thru the house so they can leave!!
By Phebe Watlington,  Fri Jan 25 2013, 15:12
I am so put off by dead deer heads hung on the wall. Makes me unable to relate to living there.
By Lolita Hayes,  Fri Jan 25 2013, 17:04
Aside from the glaring turn-offs like filthy walls & floors, unflushed toilets, peeling paint or busted-up floors, it seems like most buyers spend WAY too much time focusing on smell, wallpaper and minor things that are easy to fix, rather than huge things like heating systems, the integrity of the roof and walls (I've seen sellers try to pass off some real doozies!), or how about leaky, wet basements with rotting sills and joists? Granted, newer homes may not have these, but with building standards getting worse and worse, they may. We saw past the flaws in our 1870's fixer-upper (wallpaper, dropped ceilings, outdated baths) and imagined a Victorian palace after some sweat equity and a few grand. WRONG! We spent 10K just on fixing rotted mud sills, and a few more thousand on failed plumbing, missing wiring. The list goes on and on. Should we have been more careful? Yes! SO I'd advise buyers to skip worrying about wallpaper and take a good look at the bones of the house!

P.S. Someone above mentioned preferring perennial gardens to the sterile plantings often seen (after they've ripped up perfectly good plants and shrubs!). That was one bonus with our Victorian that kept paying off year after year, as we cleaned up more of the yard. I hardly had to do anything but rake to have a mature, beautiful garden and many huge, flowering shrubs! I love it.
By Margotsbirkett,  Fri Jan 25 2013, 17:07
It has never taken me more than 3.5 months to sell a home of mine. One sold in 3 days in a tough location. #1 most important thing CLEAN your home!!! Once I had a realtor list the number of rooms wrong (eventually she had to go). The last one was letting folks in who could not afford the house (please show to pre-qualified buyers) and she let the buyer's realtor continue to update her on the buyer's personal problems. I also saw the bate and switch thing coming with two sisters (one had 25 years experience and her sister had 1 year). I didn't hire them.
By Margotsbirkett,  Fri Jan 25 2013, 17:18
Excellent buying advise Ms. Hayes!
By Elissalan,  Fri Jan 25 2013, 22:27
As someone who plans to buy and sell a home in the next few years, I appreciate all the comments on here. My home is going to require plenty of work and I plan to rent a storage unit to get rid of all the clutter we've accumulated. I know what I'm looking for in a home, so I have to assume other buyers will be looking at the some of the same things. I'm shocked by how many sellers start out with a combative attitude about their home: "I shouldn't have to change things to suit buyers' tastes"; "If you don't like it, don't buy it"; "I'm not going to just give my house away," etc. Who in their right mind would think all the buyers walking through the door are going to want to take the time to remove the old blue carpet, floral wallpaper and update the yellow tile in the bathroom? Yes, there are always buyers who are looking for a project, but the vast majority of people want a house that only requires minimal work. Even people who claim to be able to see the potential in a home get turned off by minor issues. I know it's going to be a lot of work to sell my home, which is why I'm waiting. Unless you plan to accept a price below market value, why not put in the extra effort for a quicker sale and a better price? The only exception I have to many of the real-estate agents' comments is that I don't personally mind seeing a few family photos. I have a family and seeing that children have happily lived in a home makes it more attractive to me. Unfortuately for me, my home has a big negative that's completely out of my control: a long vacant home next door that is falling into disrepair.
By Julie Rosenthal,  Sat Jan 26 2013, 03:53
Hi, Tara,
Thank you for your well-written paper - you have eloquently expressed what I experience daily!
Julie Rosenthal, Broker / Property Brokers International
Jupiter, Florida
By Gail Coplin,  Sat Jan 26 2013, 11:19
Unfortunately, even if your home is a showplace, you can do nothing about the neighbor's barking dog or junker cars/trucks. My personal best was looking at a house for sale (occupied) when a large (not pet) rat ran over my foot!
By Audra Burtch,  Sat Jan 26 2013, 12:53
Tara, great article. You hit what I would say are 4 of the most important things for sellers to remember. Thanks for your insight.
By Christine Pruger,  Sat Jan 26 2013, 13:51
As a Realtor I have to say that for the most part I agree with deansautomotive58 (post below if you can't find) HOWEVER, 1. I can also state that staging does make a difference. If a buyer looks at a room that's empty versus a room with a king size bed, they are more able to visualize what fits in the room. 2. All of this information is great but let's bottom line it....It's the theory of substitution. If you want your home to sell it needs to be the BEST PRICED, MOST APPEALING, with little to NO room for "haters" to find problems. If a buyer walks into one home in great condition and a second with similar qualities in not great condition, we can figure out which they want to buy. This is ESPECIALLY true when an area has A LOT of new construction. A SMART REALTOR, will EDUCATE sellers on what is in the market, they will take sellers to preview local competition or encourage them to check out photos online. Sellers, YOU MUST remember your product is NOT the only one on the market. It's not about whining, complaining buyers, it is about moving your home quickly and efficiently. Put yourself in a buyers frame of mind, if you are looking at homes and see a home on the market for a really long time, you begin to think that there must be something wrong with it. DO NOT LET YOUR HOME GET LABELED!!!

By deansautomotive58, Thu Jan 24 2013, 11:42
geez..I am reading this and wondering what planet you guys all live on? no offense, but if people look at a home and it is the right price and the right area, size etc does anyone else have imagination other than me? Messes can be cleaned, carpets changed, wallpaper removed, other peoples laundry, religious items and family pictures get packed in boxes and hauled away WITH THEM. The dogs and cats go too..some of this stuff sounds like buyers excuses when they dont like the home for some other general reason. Unless the house is EMPTY and ALWAYS HAS BEEN, people live there, eat there, make love there, (yeah that too) go to the toliet there, and when they are sick they throw up there too! The cat pukes hairballs on the carpet and the dog throws up too. Lots of baby spitup is all over the babies room too. The people laugh there and cry there, sometimes they even DIE there! Especially if your house is over 80 years old or so. ITS A HOME FOLKS. Every home has defects even a new one. Welcome to the brave new imperfect world we all live in. So much of this stuff is so picky, I wish I was these folks as I could worry about these insignificant things instead of larger issues! GROW UP! guys no offense but you come off as crybabies, and so do the clients.
By kripplekreekuniq,  Sat Jan 26 2013, 18:29
my pet peeve is when a realtor list a home and has twenty photos to show....eighteen are the same outside pic and one inside showing a corner of the living room...what gives? I would be finding me a new agent quickly!!
By Steve,  Sat Jan 26 2013, 18:42
Personal hygiene products, hairbrushes, soap scum, dirty/filled garbage cans in bathrooms grosses me out when I'm viewing homes. Shag carpeting, wallpaper from the 70's, avocado/pink bathrooms and homes without dishwashers should not be listed as completely renovated.
By Heather C Martinez,  Sat Jan 26 2013, 22:09
Great article Tara, you are Absolutely right! It's so important to get into the mindset of the Buyer! I'm a Home stager in NY, if any of you are interested in getting Top dollar for your properties for sale checkout my website & get your FREE Top Dollar guide, it includes so many of your listed concerns and will give you ways to cure alot of these turn offs!
Best of luck to Everyone & Enjoy!!!
Here's my website: http://hcmdesigns.com/
By Johnny Yankoviak,  Sun Jan 27 2013, 10:19
Great post Tara. It's like my professor used to say, "if your home smells, your competition sells"!
By Dawn Fowler,  Sun Jan 27 2013, 17:37
Mirrors with the backing coming off.
By Patty Mclemore,  Mon Jan 28 2013, 07:28
I think on of the most annoying distractions are dogs whining or barking in their crates while showing. I always encourage my sellers to take pets with them or arrange for a friend, neighbor or family member to keep during that time. Cats snuggling up against a buyer who is allergic or having to watch that the pet freely wandering the home doesn't make a dash out the door certainly takes away from viewing the property.
By Josh Taylor,  Mon Jan 28 2013, 10:58
One of the biggest complaints I get is, "why does the seller have to be there for the showing". Sellers all too often are present during agent showings of their property. They lurk over the shoulders, interrupt to point out non-useful features of the home, and say things they most likely should keep to themselves. Sellers go to lunch!

Check out http://www.sellingtb.com/weblog for more helpful real estate information! Follow us on Twitter @Sellingtb & Facebook
By Shelly Hu 胡秀萍,  Mon Jan 28 2013, 15:53
Great post! Wish the some owner should read this. Check out http://www.seattleRealEstatePlus.com/blog for more helpful real estate information! Follow us on Twitter and Facebook @shellyhu
By Mallorca Properties,  Mon Jan 28 2013, 21:41
Nice post. Thanks for sharing. Its very helpful. I am glad that I found your blog!
By pegster66,  Tue Jan 29 2013, 11:18
The word "hater" infers someone who is jealous. Don't we want that when listing a home?
By Jackie Slavenova,  Thu Jan 31 2013, 04:12
great post!
By Dempsey Pearce,  Thu Jan 31 2013, 17:39
By Dempsey Pearce,  Thu Jan 31 2013, 17:43
great post
By Trinath,  Sat Feb 2 2013, 03:01
it shows you really hard worked on these
By Jo_murphy,  Sun Feb 3 2013, 11:16
very well taken, realtors should give the sellers a list of things to do especially if they notice dirt and neglect. Lots of sellers think their dumps are great. Start decluttering, cleaning and getting rid of your treasures, rent a storage bin and hide them. Good luck
By Mike,  Mon Feb 4 2013, 09:11
good point
By kellieetal,  Mon Feb 4 2013, 11:07
Bottom line is, "do you want to sell your house or not?" If you're not willing to remove your HEART from your home (pics of YOUR life), if you're NOT willing to remove/inconvenience your pet (remember even if your pet is friendly, MANY people can't even BREATHE around your pet because of allergies!), if you're NOT willing to make your house live up to BUYERS' standards (reasonable or not), then you're NOT really doing everything you can to sell. Maybe you're not emotionally ready, or have a fear of commitment, or are even have a just plain lazy streak (hey, we all do in some way or other); but for whatever reason, if you WON'T market your house competitively, it's going to STAY YOUR HOUSE--not the buyers' house. Your house, no matter how much you've loved it, no matter where it's located, no matter what you price it at, WILL NOT SELLL ITSELF; YOU have to sell it, like it's a product on a shelf at a "used house store." If you can't/won't think of your house as a "product" for sale, then you WILL pay more in the form of a lower selling price, or longer wait on the market (all the while YOU get to pay more mortgage bills). So...do you or DON'T you REALLY want to sell? Because your competition WILL do what it takes.
By Wayka Bartolacelli,  Mon Feb 4 2013, 12:17
I thnk the comment made by one realtor that buyers should overlook all the problems with odors, messes, etc. doesn't address the fact these are the drawbacks that costs the seller money when they get an offer. It doesn't make a good impression on a buyer and he will discount for all the flaws. If we are listing agents and we want to do our job for the seller, we have a responsibility to tell them how a clean and well presented home will get them top dollar. People wash and polish their cars when they sell them, why not a home which is a property worth way more than a car. Also, when a seller shows pride of ownership it just makes the buyer feel good about the home. It's really a win win. If you don't assist the seller, you as an agent are not doing your job. Not every home can be sold with a great staging job, but most people can clean the house and make an effort that way.
By Michelle Bryant,  Tue Feb 5 2013, 17:29
Great article Tara. I am in the market to buy a home in the next 2-4 months. Realtors please do not spray the home with Febreeze or other products - some of us have allergies. I wouldn't make it thru the walk thru if you did this and no matter how much I loved the house - I would have to walk away because I couldn't see it all nor enjoy viewing the home! A pre-listing home inspection should be mandatory these days! I also severely dislike the bad photos of homes on online. My husband and I have seen numerous homes online we thought we'd like to see but some of the photos were so bad that we have taken these ones off our list of homes to travel to view. I can't understand why it is so difficult for agents (many agents, actually) to take good photos. Sellers - take the time to check out the photos your agent posted online - make sure they are clear and show your homes greatest features! A good agent is one willing to go back and also photograph any missing rooms, back yard, basement and possibly do a virtual tour!
By Tiffanyferguson28,  Wed Feb 6 2013, 18:04
~horrable paint colors is a dont,and ugly,or old furniture is a no no as well~
By Anthony_shepherd,  Fri Feb 22 2013, 07:42
@Jo Anna Marresse, just put a scented candle on the curb that should take care of the traffick noise.
By ivoryandcat,  Fri Jun 14 2013, 06:33
I have bought two homes in California and Nevada in the last 10 years, the first as the market was spiraling up (California) the second last year after it bottomed out. I always get what I want for less than asking price and below market value because I look at the bones and not the furniture. I will say that wallpaper makes me happy, It takes a couple of hours to remove myself and saved me thousands of dollars on my final price. Same with 1970's wood paneling. What I don't like is listing pictures of an empty house that only show the corner of a room, that tells me nothing about which room it is or what the layout is, only that it has walls and carpet. Beige paint is boring, neutrals are fine but beige is not the only neutral, it looks dingy and dirty, especially in photos. White or pale grey is better. I also went in to a house once that was a great house but had the worst bug infestation I have ever seen, we had them landing on us as we stood unlocking the front door. They were crawling out from under the foundation, that is a problem that is going to cost someone a lot of money down the road.
I spent over 9 months searching each time I bought and that search would have been easier if there were better listing photos, I could have ruled out a lot more homes without going to see them if the photos were better, and I may have gone to see a few that had no photos listed if I could have seen any part of the property, also just including 4-5 shots of the front of the house does not count as listing photos. Not allowing viewings because the seller will be unavailable or the house has tenants is no excuse either, no one will buy the home if they cannot see it or they have to wait through 3 business trips of the seller to get an appointment.
I had no problems with the sellers being present at the walk throughs of the two houses I did buy. I worked out the details with them in person and had the house offered, accepted, and in escrow within hours of my viewings. This does not always happen but in my case it was a positive, I was also able to request that some proposed changes not be made and approved some of the ongoing renovations before they had to be undone by me at an additional cost. An informed buyer is the best thing to have on a house hunt but I know that does not always happen. I knew the value of every house for 2 blocks when I came to see the one I live in now. My offer was made based on the exact value of this floor plan, in this exact neighborhood. I even know how long my neighbors have owned their houses and what they paid for them. Encourage your buyers to do their homework! Zillow is a great tool for research on a neighborhood, even if you are buying from another state!
By d,  Sun Jun 16 2013, 09:03
Great hater proof tips! Now give some to agents who tell their buyers to look past those things and to do their job. A move in ready house is one I don't have to tear down wall paper, paint every wall, steam clean or rip out smelly dirty carpets and do multiple[le routine fixes because the previous owners were too lazy. I am not buying!
By d,  Sun Jun 16 2013, 09:03
Great hater proof tips! Now give some to agents who tell their buyers to look past those things. A great agent does what I have requested for that multiple thousand dollar commission and won't take me to those houses! A move in ready house is one I don't have to tear down wall paper, paint every wall, steam clean or rip out smelly dirty carpets and do multiple routine fixes because the previous owners were too lazy. I am not buying! I have 1 realtor, broker and inspector I will never be using again!
By patty,  Mon Jun 17 2013, 08:42
This is for realtors, make sure you contact the seller to schedule the showing. We looked at a house we loved but then owner came home in the middle of the showing and said she had no showing scheduled and what were we (with the realtor) doing in her home. Very awkward. We put in an offer and the seller declined it, in favor of an offer that was significantly less all because of the realtor's error of not calling the seller before taking us through it. Everybody lost in that deal. No commission for the realtor, less than optimal price for the seller, a buyer who lost out on the home they really wanted.
By asu.family,  Mon Jun 17 2013, 10:18
I have bought 3 homes, paying below asking price for every one. The last one, our home now, is an absolute gem and needed no fixing up, just house wide polishing and updating. I bought it well under the asking price which was already listed $30k under its value. Why did I get such great deals? Honestly, the homes weren't "Hater Proofed".

Hey, I know your dog pees in the back yard, I know you've made children in the bedroom, I know you were only making dinner when spaghetti sauce blew up onto the ceiling....you live there. I get it. All the clutter and nail holes behind your family photos are part of a "lived in" house. You're looking for a buyer that understands that concept. You don't want to scrub your sticky cabinets or put on a fresh coat of paint in the kitchen? You don't care that all your electrical outlets have aged into a gross yellow hue to match the 1980's brass lights? That's fine with me. I'll ignore the mess. I'll even buy your house from you..... after I deduct money for my work, materials and aggravation factor. I'm what you call a "Non-Hater". Simply put, being a Non-Hater means that I love getting you to lower your price more than I hate going to Home Depot to fix your mess.

Sellers don't realize that unless it's a sizzling hot seller's market they ARE going to pay for "hater proofing" their homes - directly or indirectly. The only difference is the amount of cash the seller pockets after the sale. I guarantee ~ every time ~ that if a buyer, has to do more than one of the following: clean carpets, make easy updates, perform overdue maintenance, buy fixtures/faucets, clean, paint or haul junk away it's going to cost you more than DOUBLE than if you, the seller, take care of it up front.

As for Realtors, they don't care how you live. They don't care if you flush or display your collectibles on every windowsill. When they tell you that you need to clean, declutter or paint it's because they are doing exactly what you're paying them to do. Their job is to sell your home - for you - for TOP dollar. They have an ethical and professional obligation to tell you how to maximize your home's sale potential. The more $ you make the more $ they make. It's really just that simple.

Lastly, I buy my cars used. It always amazes me how much work a person will put into cleaning a car they are selling for a few thousand dollars profit. Yet that same person selling a home for $200,000 doesn't get why people "hate" when they see cat food bowls on the vanity of the master bathroom (it's only dry food, right?). I love these kinds of sellers. They're my favorite, especially since I'm super allergic to cats....cha-ching! goes my wallet!
By mimem2,  Tue Jun 18 2013, 06:31
Ya know, I think if I was looking to buy a house...I REALIZE I AM BUYING SOME ELSE'S HOME AND THERE ARE GOING TO BE THINGS LIKE PAINT AND PAPER I MIGHT HAVE TO CHANGE TO SUIT MY TASTE. I THINK WAY TOO MUCH IS MADE OF STUFF LIKE THIS!!!! Come on people, it is someone's home after all, it's not a new empty home to start from scratch on!
By gkern49,  Tue Jun 18 2013, 08:57
@Pegster66: You’ll become much more credible when you learn the difference between “infer” and “imply.” Got a dictionary?
By Good Neighbor,  Thu Jun 20 2013, 06:48
I honestly don't get why some people denigrate a home owner if there are family photos on the wall, as if they're tiptoeing through a cursed structure. Sheesh. Are they really this miserable in life? The whole point is to remember wonderful times and people and these pictures affirm those memories. If you don't like vintage or emotionally connective images that's your deficit, not the homeowner's.
By chiluvr1228,  Thu Jun 20 2013, 14:12
For the realtors: post as many pictures as you are allowed. DON'T post them sideways. Don't post pictures of a room with unmade beds, dishes in the sink and clothes laying all around. I have been looking to buy a place and am shocked at what I see on listingbook. They are either lazy or just don't know what they are doing. I'm sure the realtors with the most sales are a little more meticulous about their pictures. Don't be afraid to tell the seller what they need to do to insure a quick sale. If it hurts their feelings too bad! Do they want a puppet or an honest realtor who will help them?

For the sellers: if you have a bathroom with a broken towel rack and a toilet plunger visible, my first thought is why couldn't they spend $10 to fix this? If they couldn't fix something so simple, what's happening with the major things in the house. What's wrong with the toilet? And declutter. I don't have a very good imagination so when I see a house with clutter everywhere my mind goes to the lack of storage that must be in the house.

Bad smells are a turn-off also. We saw one house around dinnertime (not a good idea realtors or sellers) and the homeowners were cooking liver & onions!

Sellers if you can afford to rip up carpeting, at least in the main rooms of the house do so. Put down hardwood or tile. Nobody else wants to live with whatever is growing in your carpet pad.
By Lcfree2,  Sat Jun 22 2013, 08:13
As a high end buyer of a number of homes over the years, I have to disagree on the bake cookies thing. It drives me crazy when sellers do this. I don't want to smell cooking odors of any kind, pleasant or otherwise. It smacks of trying to hide or distract. As a seller of multiple homes, I would probably delist with any realtor that dredged up that cookie thing.
By Ae,  Sat Jun 22 2013, 19:17
My fav is the plaster of paris mold of the owner's pregnant belly and breasts hanging over the bed...uh, wayy too much information here! Yecch!
By pop9opo,  Tue Jun 25 2013, 08:20
haters? come on now. don't be racist.
By twintumbleweeds,  Tue Jun 25 2013, 09:07
This is great and wonderful if you are a home owner selling or a realtor. If you are the buyer, you want to see that house in its true form - LIVED IN. Only then will not-so little problems become evident.

De-cluttering. Great. Makes that house look neat. If you are the buyer, this has served to DE-EMPHASIZE the lack of storage space in older homes. Our current house (boy were we naive), ca 1942 has NO closets. NONE. We were not stupid, we noticed, but because the house was de-cluttered, we thought we would be OK. Yeah, after several $$$$ remodels. The lilliputian furniture from 1950 look so nice in this house. Yeah well our normal size furniture from 2000s barely fit. My advice, after a formal vieiwing, ask for a short-notice viewing. Fully realize that the house you are looking at is NOT in the state that the current owners can live in nor you can. Lots of counter space? Really? Think about that counter space after a toaster, coffee pot, the week's mail, a cereal box, the dishes drying in the rack will take up.

Condition: Paint hides wonders. So does strategically placed furniture. House looks freshly painted. It was. And what kind of job was done? How long is it going to last? NOT LONG if it was for the purpose of selling. Look behind furniture, lift up rugs. Realtors will attempt to diffuse potential problem areas. Don't buy it. And old house is old. An old furnace will need to be replaced soon. Dated, leaky fixtures are just that. Not charming, quaint or art-deco.

Neighborhood: Oh, that lazy Saturday afternoon when you viewed the house it was just such a peaceful neighborhood. Drive by at 7AM, see who is mowing their lawn, who is out on dirtbikes. Take a drive by late one night. See who has a hound dog. Come by at morning/evening commute time, see how fast and how heavy traffic is.

Bottom line, a beautiful house in a beautiful area can probably sell itself. Trashed houses in not so desirable locations will sit on the market for a long time. The stuff in the middle, pay attention, do your homework.
By tferguson,  Thu Jun 27 2013, 07:34
The seller has to remember that the house they are selling is a product to be sold and no longer should be considered their home when it hits the market. I've sold a few houses and realized quickly that you have to leave your emotions in at the door. It might have been a wonderful place for you and your family and filled with great memories but the buyer won't care. They are not buying your memories. Do what you need to do to get the highest dollar and move on.
By vzepijdu,  Fri Jun 28 2013, 13:33
teeth in a jar on the nightstand, Depends still in the bathroom wastebasket, Speckler's Powder not vacuumed up from the carpet ....
By hhoff10368,  Sun Jun 30 2013, 08:28
As a buyer, I hate dirty grout and caulking.
By ctgibson,  Sun Jun 30 2013, 09:24
Went to see an otherwise lovely home in a beautiful area. Owner was driving away as we left and waved. The second we walked in, we could smell that he had just used the toilet right off the kitchen before he left - ugh! My husband and kids wouldn't even consider the place, which was a shame. To this day - 8 years later - we still talk about the "stinky house" we saw.
By karablader,  Fri Jun 27 2014, 13:06
Carpet cleaning was the first thing we knew we would do when we tried selling our house. We usually try to get it steam cleaned every year to get rid of the grime that builds up anyway. No one wants to buy a house that has unknown stains in it.
Shelly Slader | http://www.hireabutler.com.au/office

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