Are You Killing the Mood? 8 Things in Your Bedroom That Freak Out Potential Buyers

Your house is on the market, and you’ve thrown all your energy into sprucing up its curb appeal and scrubbing your kitchen and bathrooms until they shine. So you think to yourself: The bedroom is just fine the way it is, right? After all, you made the bed!

Here’s a tip: Your bedroom is not fine the way it is.

“While your bedroom might be your private sanctuary, it is made public when your home is on the market,” says Daniele Kurzweil, a licensed real estate salesperson with the Friedman Team at Compass in New York City. “We’ve always found that the intimate nature of someone’s bedroom seems to get a reaction when the sellers don’t let their real estate agent stage it.”

And that reaction is by no means always positive.

According to the pros, here are the items in your bedroom most likely to make potential buyers run for the exit.

1. Mr. Whiskers’ litter box

Brett Ari Fischer, an associate broker at Lee & Associates Residential NYC in New York, has had buyers who were turned off because a bed wasn’t made, there were light stains on the floor, or even worse, a strong odor from a pet.

“I had a client legitimately almost throw up when she walked into a bedroom that smelled like cat urine,” Fischer recalls. “It was especially unfortunate, as the apartment was actually quite gorgeous.”

Remove any evidence of your pet before a home showing, including litter boxes, toys, and, of course, pet hair. And remember: Even if you can’t smell your pet, other people can. Remove dog and cat odors before you throw open the doors for the public.

2. Boudoir photos

“I’m sure it’s fun to take saucy boudoir photos for your spouse,” says Justin Riordan, interior designer, architect and founder of the Oregon-based home-staging company Spade and Archer Design Agency. “But honestly, it only will evoke one of three emotions with potential home buyers: laughter, disgust, or ill-timed physical responses — none of which will help you sell your home.”

Riordan’s rule should be easy enough to follow: “Time to put that glamour shot away.”

3. Medical equipment

“I know CPAP machines keep you from suffocating in your sleep and are the absolute best for curing sleep apnea,” Riordan says of continuous positive airway pressure therapy. “However, they’re super gross for anyone that is not the user of the machine.”

Because CPAP machines — or any medical equipment, for that matter — evoke feelings of anxiety rather than inspiration, put them away prior to showings, Riordan advises.

4. Sex toys

You knew this one was coming into play. Bob Gordon, a Realtor® with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices in Boulder, Colo., once worked with a home inspector who, during a routine inspection, checked under the master bedroom sink for leaks. What he found there instead? A pair of sex toys.

“He told me he sees stuff like this ‘hidden’ all too frequently,” Gordon says. “You’d think owners would understand that if they really want something out of sight, they need to get it out of the house for that day.”

5. Laundry

Another thing potential buyers don’t want to think about? Your grubby clothes. But a hamper of clothes on the floor — or even neatly folded socks left out on your bed — makes that hard to do.

“It doesn’t matter if [your laundry] is dirty or clean,” Riordan says. “Other people’s laundry is downright gross. Fold it up and put it away before showings.”

For more, continue reading the original post, “Are You Killing the Mood? 8 Things in Your Bedroom That Freak Out Potential Buyers,” published first at®.

5 outdated seller beliefs agents should debunk

The success of HGTV and the plethora of online information has shifted the ground rules of real estate sales

Any seller who has not sold a home in the past five years is in for a shock: Everything they thought they knew about selling a home has changed.

Sellers who do not understand the new rules of engagement can easily make costly mistakes and jeopardize their chances of a sale.

3 fundamental changes

These three changes have altered the homebuying and selling landscape forever.

Change 1: The advent of HGTV

Buyers spend countless hours watching HGTV and have developed extremely refined tastes. They know what they want and when they look at homes for sale. They are looking for properties that look similar to what they have seen and liked on TV.

Change 2: The advent of mobile devices and HD internet connectivity

Buyers used to have to visit a home to add or remove it from their short list. No longer the case, today’s sellers have between seven and 10 seconds to sell their home, and those seconds are on a mobile device anywhere on the planet — not in any home for sale.

If a buyer does not like an online listing, they will move on to the next home in a heartbeat and will usually not come back to review.

If they do not like what they see on their device, they will never waste their time visiting in person.

Change 3: The advent of internet real estate sites, Zillow, Trulia and a host of broker-owned sites have populated the internet with user-friendly websites that provide property data, historical facts, HD pictures, automated valuations, neighborhood and school info, and more.

They have completely removed the need for buyers to visit in person to determine if they like a home. Once a buyer has shortlisted available inventory, they only visit the select few they like.

These three changes have not only revolutionized the way buyers search for and view prospective homes, they have transformed what they buy as well. Historically, there were three groups of buyers:

Top-tier buyers: Willing to pay a premium, this group looked for move-in ready homes that had all the amenities they were looking for.

Middle-tier buyers: Looking for homes in “original” condition, this group hoped to get a decent price and then improve the home over time with sweat equity.

Bottom-tier buyers: This third group were contractors and flippers looking for distressed properties they could buy for 60 percent to 70 percent of retail value.

The middle tier, which historically represented a significant percentage of market sales, is disappearing. More comfortable with tech than construction, today’s buyers are forgoing the middle tier en masse and paying more to obtain move-in-ready homes that look like the finished properties they have seen on HGTV.

This is not simply the consequence of real estate-related technologies. The past few years have seen sweeping societal shifts as homebuyer wannabes, for many reasons, are less willing or even capable of fixing up a home they’ve purchased.

They know exactly what they like when they see it, but have almost no idea how to produce it themselves. The No. 1 question buyers ask about our listings is, “Can we buy the staging?”

With buyers moving away from “original condition” properties they perceive as needing upgrades, homes that appear in the middle tier are being forced down into the bottom tier and need to be priced accordingly. Sellers who do not understand this new reality stand to end up with far less than they imagined.

5 seller myths

With this in mind, here are the top five seller beliefs that are no longer true:

1. I do not need to have the listing agent visit until my home is ready.

Wrong. In reality, the sooner the agent can get in, the better. Sellers, assuming the old rules still apply, might spend money on things that could harm a home’s potential and, conversely, fail to spend money where it matters.

Agents can not only help sellers maximize their potential, but they can also connect them with the trades and other professionals required to do it right.

2. I do not need to upgrade the property for sale.

Since increasing numbers of buyers are looking for move-in ready homes, the more a seller does to get the home to that level, the higher the returns. In an up market, sellers can reap a $2-$3 dollar return for every dollar spent.

In a declining market, they may not get 100 percent back, but they will get a sale. I frequently hear sellers ask, “Why should I upgrade? Won’t the new buyers come in and rip out all the stuff I just put in?”

That is not the right question. A better question is, “What can I do to make my online pictures sizzle to get the highest number of buyers through the front door regardless of what a buyer does once they own the home?”

If a seller can invest $1,000 on carpets and in the process make $3,000, does it matter what the new owner does once they move in?

3. I need open houses to sell my home.

The myth here is that buyers need to visit your home in person to decide whether they like it or not. In the new reality, buyers are visiting because they have already seen the home online and decided it was worth seeing in person.

Open houses simply make it easier for buyers who are already going to visit to actually get in. They also make it easy for the neighbors to come through — which is good because they frequently know someone looking to move into the area.

4. I need many open house signs at multiple key intersections.

Wrong again. Savvy listing agents put out tons of signs because they are free advertising. Buyers who have seen the home online do not need directional signs to find the home. With open houses dates and times syndicating to all the major web portals, buyers simply use the GPS feature in their phones.

As for the neighbors, they will not come because you posted signs at far away intersections. To get them, you want signs close to the open house.

5. If buyers really want my house, they will pay more than market value.

Buyers are not running charities. Due to online AVMs (automated valuation models — think Zestimate), buyers know when a property is overpriced and generally stay away, assuming the seller is unrealistic.

While pricing strategies vary from region to region, most agents know to recommend that sellers price listings close to market realities. As more listings come onto the market, buyers have more choices and migrate toward those they believe represent good values.

Sellers who insist they must net a specific amount, which in turn pushes the price too high, are only kidding themselves.

For sellers who have not sold a home in recent years, the new rules can be a shock.

To view the original article, visit Inman

5 steps to prep a show-ready listing every time

Pay close attention to the details, and you’ll create a memorable first impression for every buyer

Putting a home on the market is like being on stage for all the world to see, so sellers must prepare to have their homes scrutinized six ways from Sunday, inside and out.

So what can sellers do to make a positive and memorable first impression on buyers and their agents? What can they do to eliminate (or at least tame) the scrutiny and instead inspire buyers to visualize a future in the home?

Below are five things to consider:

1. Start with the exterior

It’s been said many times before, but it bears repeating: if you can’t get buyers in the door from the outside, it doesn’t matter how nice the home is on the inside.

Walk across the street, and take a good hard look at the sellers’ home. Walk around it. How does it appear from each side?

Now, go behind it and stand at a distance. How does the landscaping appear? Is it old, overgrown or hiding the elevation of the home? Are trees and large bushes in need of a good trim? It may be time to call a landscaping and tree-trimming crew.

You want to show off the home, not the bushes that camouflage it. And if you want to make it “pop” in photos, bring in some fresh plantings and ground cover, such as new mulch or river rock.

Check out the exterior of the home itself. Is it in need of a pressure wash or paint job? Are the walkways and driveway old, cracked or dingy? And last, but certainly not least, look at the front door, door hardware and doorbell. Is anything in need of painting, cleaning or replacement?

Investing time, effort and money into making the exterior shine will show buyers that the home has been well-maintained, and they’ll want to go inside.

2. Tidy up the interior

Now is the time to conduct an interior walk-through. Trade those rose-colored glasses in for a magnifying glass, and examine everything.

Look at the floors, walls, moldings and ceilings. What is the condition of the paint? Are there any drywall cracks, gauges or scuff marks? When was the last time the interior of the home was painted? How do the wall colors affect the look and feel of the home? Is the home too dark or taste-specific?

If painting is in order, chose a neutral color. Remember: the buyer’s style may not mesh with that of the sellers.

How does the decor look? Check out the furniture, rugs, artwork, accessories, etc. Does everything coordinate, or is it a hodgepodge of pieces thrown together? Is furniture in good condition or in need of replacement? It could be time to toss that 20-year-old couch full of worn cushions and pet scratches in favor of something new.

How does the decor work with the floor plan? Does it define the space or interfere with it? Is there anything that should be removed or rearranged? Is the overall style something any buyer can relate to?

You want to make sure every piece helps accentuate the space in the home, not the other way around. Consider bringing in a stager to assist with pulling the look together.

Also, updating accessories, pillows, lamps and slipcovers can go a long way when you’re trying to create an updated look.

3. Declutter and clean

Now that edits and updates are being made to the home’s look, it’s time to go through closets, cabinets and the garage to get rid of unused or unnecessary belongings. Avoid taking up valuable space or cluttering an area that should be shown off. Closets should appear roomy and in good order. (It’s easier to keep things clean and orderly when there isn’t so much stuff.)

You’ll also want to hire a professional cleaning crew to scrub every inch of the home from top to bottom. Don’t forget window sills, the tops of doorways to rooms and the kitchen cabinets.

Appliances matter too — so that oven that hasn’t been cleaned in 10 years needs a good wash. Flip the switch to self-clean, and consider changing the oven racks to brand new ones if they are too old and charred.

4. Take care of repairs

Get the home in tip-top shape. Service the heating and cooling system, caulk and/or regrout any shower tiles, and consider having tile floors steam-cleaned and grout-sealed.

Don’t forget to check the windows. You’d be amazed by how many window issues arise during home inspections — sometimes windows won’t open or close properly, some have broken springs and others have fogged glass. And what about those missing screens? Make sure you put them up, or at least know where they are.

If you aren’t really sure about the condition of the home, get a “pre-listing inspection” prior to putting the home on the market so you’re aware of what issues need to be addressed (and can get a plan together for how to tackle them).

5. Remember ambiance and style

Buying a home is as much an emotional transaction as it is a financial one. And now that all the hard work is done, it’s time to create a memorable experience for everyone involved.

Whenever possible, have all the lights on for showings, and play music that evokes feelings of relaxation but also entertains. Avoid elevator music or songs that may be too trendy. That latest rap mix may be great for working out but not so good when buyers are walking through.

Music should be turned up enough so you can hear it, but it shouldn’t interfere with a walk-through or a conversation. Think of music that would be appropriate for a dinner party where people can still comfortably have a conversation without having to compete with it.

Homes that have been properly prepared for sale often take several weeks or months to appear in show-perfect condition. The stakes are high when a property comes on the market, and that initial view — whether online or driving by — really matters.

The old adage, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression,” has never been more relevant in real estate than it is today.

To view the original article, visit Inman