Candid comments from qualified home buyers...
Home sellers don't always listen to good advice offered by their agents. Perhaps they would if they had half our experience working with buyers who can sometimes be brutally honest about the condition of homes we show them.
Sellers always ask for feedback, but do they really want the truth? I sometimes wonder what their reactions might be if they had a Nanny-Cam spying on us as we walk around their homes. They might hear prospective buyers say something like this:
- "What were they thinking? was the first reaction of my client when we opened the door from the foyer to the dining room and discovered a closet had been built behind the door. She almost walked right into it! "That's the smallest dining room I ever saw," laughed the buyer. "I don't think my table would fit in there." Of course, I pointed out she could always restore the opening if she didn't want or need that extra closet. (And you could still access the dining room from the kitchen... just not from the foyer.)
- "No wonder it's been on the market so long!" was my client's reaction when I opened the door to one home and the buyers observed the color scheme. "I feel like I'm being sucked into a strawberry soda," she added. My suggestion? "Paint is cheap... it would probably make that sucking sensation completely disappear."
- "There's a window behind that bookcase? I wonder what's outside they don't want us to see?", said the buyer. The sellers weren't hiding anything, of course. They just didn't have enough wall space for that big bookcase.
- "I wouldn't have the nerve to try those colors together in the same room..." is a well-deserved comment by one of my clients about the orange, purple, and lime green in one room. "They've been watching too much HGTV" said the spouse, and I added, "I guess they didn't believe their agent when he told them buyers prefer boring beige."
- "I guess this decor is what they call Early Goodwill", said the client. "Vintage" said the spouse. I had to remind them that the furnishings and accessories all move out when the seller does, but it was hard for the prospective buyers to imagine themselves living here. "This home really makes the case for professional staging!" they said as they left.
- "Oh my God, I can't breathe... don't bring the children in here..." was the buyer's reaction when I unlocked and opened the front door of one home. "Take a deep breath before you go in and tell us what the house is like," said the spouse, as he backed away from the door. (Within minutes, I had a terrible allergy attack and almost couldn't breathe or swallow - and all I did was open the door. It really didn't matter that I hadn't gone inside or that this was recently new carpet because it was obviously a pet toilet. Fortunately, I had Benydryl and an inhaler in my purse.)
- When I pointed out the beautiful landscaping in the back yard of one home, the buyer said "Obviously the seller has no life, since they must work in their yard all the time. These plants would all have to come out so the dogs and kids would have a usable yard." No doubt the seller feels their landscaping will be the feature to sell their home, and they couldn't imagine it's actually a liability to the likely buyer for their home - a big family with lots of kids.
- "This feels like a giant toybox, not a living room" the buyer said about a condo we looked at over the weekend. Apparently the sellers had forgotten that the target market for their condo is empty-nesters. Whether those empty-nesters are young people starting out or older people moving down, they'll be very intimidated by all those toys. "Get me outta here!" my clients said. "Let's look at another unit." They were unphased by my reminder that all the toys would move out with the sellers.
When your agent suggests that you de-clutter your home to get it ready for sale, it's not a personal commentary on your house-keeping. It's a recommendation made to ALL home sellers, based on our experience from showing homes to buyers! The same can be said for the suggestion that you clean, repair and neutralize your home.
And, when you ask for feedback, be careful what you wish for. You might not like what you hear. That's because Home Buyers Say the Darndest Things.
Copyright 2010. All rights reserved.
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