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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 people 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!

Matt Peden 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!
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

Matt says 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. “Choosing the right real estate agent, one that can quickly build trust with buyers, could be the difference between a good sale result and a great one.”

The negative influence of family and friends

Perhaps your presentation was flawless and the open home went perfectly, there might still be some buyers who get turned off once they start sharing the properly listing with their family and friends. Suburb reputation, opinions about the floorplan or block size can all come into play here.

“A good agent will talk to interested buyers about their needs during the open homes and can counter this negative influence before it starts. When you understand what a buyer needs in a home, you can highlight all the strengths of the property an suburb.”

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!