How to Scare Off a Home Buyer

By: Eric Badgely
 

Homeowners today are savvier than ever before about the process of selling a home. Home makeover shows are everywhere these days, all espousing the cardinal rules of home decor. Unfortunately for the homeowner, the opinions of designers vary from season to season, and are often contradictory. This can make an already stressful process much harder than it needs to be. The truth is that there are certain things that send buyers running. These red flag elements are the ten things that can scare off a home buyer.

10. An overgrown garden. Curb appeal is a relatively new term that is used to describe the attractiveness of the exterior of a home, and in particular, the landscaping features. Because the outside gives buyers their first impression of a home, it is imperative to have this area looking its best. Even if you can't afford expensive plants and outdoor furniture, a neatly trimmed lawn and swept driveway are major steps in the right direction.

By having an overgrown garden out front, all the buyers see is work. They think about the time and money that will need to go into the garden, to get it into shape. You want your home to be as move-in-ready as possible, and this includes the garden.

9. Wallpaper. While wallpaper can be an attractive addition to a room, to buyers it represents labor.

The effort it takes to remove wallpaper is great. If there is a lot of wallpaper to contend with, buyers may dismiss the house as requiring too much work, and they'll move on..

Confine your wallpaper to small areas, and don't be overzealous with patterns and bright colors. The wallpaper needs to be in style year after year, and should appeal to many tastes.

8. Clutter. While having a messy home may work for you, when you are selling your home you need to focus on the needs of the buyer. They will be unable to focus on the home itself if there are personal effects strewn everywhere. Clutter is very distracting, and its presence implies that you don't care about your home. If you can't bother to tidy up before a showing, what else are you neglecting? Clutter also gives the impression that there isn't adequate storage space in the home. Buyers are usually looking for a long term commitment, so they need to feel that there is enough room for all of their things now and in the near future.

Clean up, and put excess items in storage if you are serious about selling your home. The cost will definitely be worth it.

7. Under pricing. While buyers are always on the hunt for a bargain, if your selling price is significantly below that of comparable properties, doubts will be raised. Buyers may assume that there are major problems with the house, particularly if on the surface it looks like it's in good shape. They may think that you are hiding problems, and the buyer's trust will be broken.

6. Crazy decor. If you have a real penchant for themed rooms, or if you collect fish figurines, keep in mind that not everyone will appreciate your home's aesthetic. Yes, it is your home and you have every right to decorate it as you see fit, but if you truly want to sell your home, you need to be cognizant of buyers' feelings. Put your unique treasures in storage, and neutralize the rooms. You want to create a blank canvass for the buyers so they can envision themselves living there. Like household clutter, loud colors and eccentric knick knacks can be distracting and off putting. If your buyer can't see past the decor, they'll simply move on to the next house.

Create a warm and inviting atmosphere for buyers, and save your personal style for your next property.

Be sure to check out the top five ways to send buyers packing in 'Top Ten Ways to Scare off a Home Buyer: Part Two.'

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