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When cold feet strike – what turns a buyer off a property?

July 22, 2019

Picture this: you’re going to an open home to check out what you think will be your dream digs. You pull up outside, full of excitement and anticipation. As you walk in the front gate, it creaks a little. “No biggie”, you think – a little WD 40 will fix that.

Then you go through the front door… and the first thing you smell is tobacco smoke. Ugh. Further inspection reveals cobwebs, dirty skirting boards and windows that haven’t been washed since around about the beginning of time. Then, you’re confronted with it – the awkward family photo that permanently etches into your mind an image of the weirdos who used to live here.

Do you:
1. Turn around and sprint back to the car, speeding off into the sunset?
2. Immediately sign the contract of sale, thrilled with your purchase?

We think it’s pretty obvious, but you’d be surprised how many sellers (and some inexperienced agents) don’t put a whole lot of effort into their open homes.

It’s best to use an experienced agent who can advise you on the best way to present your property, but if you’re going solo or just want to be informed, we’ve compiled a helpful checklist of things that could turn your sale into a fail.

Sight, smells and sound = presentation!

Sam Buchanan of Independent’s Belconnen office says that “unless the home is a ‘renovator’s delight’, presentation and first impression both inside and out are key”.

There are so many things that can give off a bad impression to buyers. We’ve listed a few below:

  • Bad smells like pet odours, cigarette smoke and general mustiness
  • Unkempt gardens
  • Litter and clutter around the property (this goes for inside and out!)
  • Small repairs not being done
    • Things like chipped paint and small cracks make the property look uncared for, and buyers may even be suspicious about why the repairs haven’t been done. A buyer might also think: “I just can’t be bothered fixing all these issues”, and thus decide not to purchase.
  • Noise
    • If there’s a barking dog, lots of traffic or noisy neighbours, this leaves a bad impression. As a seller, there’s not much you can do about some of these things, but double glazing is one way to reduce noise.
  • Too many personal items hanging around
  • No one wants to see your pet’s ashes on the mantelpiece, capiche?
  • Mould and mildew – gross!
The negative influence of friends or relatives

Sometimes, relatives and friends can be your worst enemy when buying a property. Whether they think they’re being helpful and cautious, or they’re just envious, it’s important not to let their opinions ruin a good thing for you.

It’s okay to take the advice of family and friends, but consider their motives before basing a huge life decision (like buying a home or investment property) on their opinions.

Buyer’s remorse

We’ve all been there. Bought something we really love and then wondered whether it was irresponsible to spend the money.

This happens too with homes – certainly a larger purchase decision than those shoes you bought on sale last weekend. Manuel Vlandis of Independent’s Gungahlin Town Centre office says: “Sometimes people are their own worst enemy and talk themselves out of a purchase that would otherwise have improved their lives.”

An overly pedantic or zealous solicitor

Let’s face it – the law is one of those things that most of us don’t understand, and it scares us! So if the solicitor seems flustered, it’s likely that the buyer will be spooked, too. Conversely, if they’re a little bit too excited, this may leave the buyer wondering if they’re being pushed into making a bad decision. Transparency and impartiality are key.

The agent’s conduct

Independent’s Simon McGuire says that if a buyer feels like they’re being deceived or mistreated by their agent, this can really turn them off a purchase. “It might be something as simple as perceived rudeness or as complicated as some form of misrepresentation”, he says.

Overall, common sense is king when selling your home. If you wouldn’t buy it, that’s probably a good indication that others won’t want to either. A little effort can go a long way in presenting your home in its absolute best form – and working with professionals will greatly assist. Happy buying and selling!