This article written by our founder, Justin M. Riordan, LEED AP originally appeared in the All Things Real Estate Magazine.
There are two reasons buyers say “No” to houses. The first is very simple… it’s just the wrong house. The seller has zero control on this sequence of events and should not spend a moment of energy or time on it. The second reason is a whole other story. It’s the right house at the right price in the right location. In this situation the buyer should say “Yes” as soon as they see the house. Heres the rub, they often say “No.”
The big question is why? The answer is simple. The seller did not properly prepare the house and the buyer could not actually see it. Here’s some of the reasons why:
1. It’s empty. Being empty is not the worse thing that can happen when trying to sell the house. That being said, it does not help. Only one in ten people can accurately visualize what an empty room will look like with their furniture in it.
2. It cluttered. Buyers often have short attention spans. One shiny object and you've lost them. A cluttered house has thousands of shiny objets just waiting to draw the buyer’s attention.
3. It’s dirty. Have you ever walked into a retail store and purposely purchased a dirty shirt? And yet… and yet, every day sellers put houses on the market that are flat out dirty.
4. It’s stinky. Stinky houses can stink in two ways: Unintentional smells like cooking, pets, body odors, mold, manure mulch, illness or even death are definite detractors. The intentionally stinky house is usually caused by an effort to cover unintentionally smells. The effect is usually overwhelming to buyers. Nothing says “buy this house” like freshly-baked-apple-pie-candle over wet-dog-farts.
5. It’s dark. Nobody walks into a house in the Pacific Northwest and says, “This house has too much light, I’ll need to buy window coverings”. But they will most certainly walk into a house and say, “This place is dark, lets go look at the next house.”
6. It looks difficult. The three most stressful times in our lives are death, divorce and moving. Near all of us have been through the latter. Moving sucks. There is really no way around it. Its a lot of work, combined with a lot of stress. The more work the seller leaves for the buyer, the less likely the buyer is to buy because they are simply overwhelmed.
7. There are too many rules. The seller or the seller’s team has insured the buyer can’t see the house. They have posted signs explaining how the house works and what the buyers can and can’t do in it. “Take off your shoes” “Soft close draws” “Don’t let out the cat” “Lock this door when leaving” “New Roof” “Don’t use the towels” Instead of seeing the house, they spend the entire time in the house following the rules.
If your house is the perfect house, make sure the perfect buyer can actually see it.