For Alexandria VA Home Sellers - Out of The Mouths of Buyers
Top Five Things That Will Turn A Buyer Away

We're moving along here in January, and one of my favorite things to do is to work with buyers who are in the early stages of their home search, hoping to find a new place to call home by the Springtime.

If you currently own a home and are preparing for the spring market, I'd like to give you an interesting perspective. Especially if you're thinking about not putting 110% of your efforts into tuning in to what today's buyer is thinking.

When there's a large inventory of Alexandria VA homes for sale, buyers have more to choose from.  And sellers who have the 'just make me an offer' mentality could easily miss out on buyers who say, "Thanks...but No Thanks"...then "Next". As I take the time to show homes along the I-95 corridor from Alexandria to Woodbridge, what I've noticed is that the prices are different, but the buyer feedback is consistent.

Straight out of the mouths of buyers, here are the top five things that will turn a buyer away and cause you to miss out on an offer:

  1. Cleanliness- Times are tough, and even if you can afford to have Molly Maids come in and make your home sparkle, get down and clean like you've never cleaned before. Take the time to mop wood floors to make them shine. Vacuum the carpets to leave the lines, that shows effort. And above all else, the kitchens and bathrooms must be spotless.
  2. Cigarette smoke - This is hardest for non-smokers. If you don't smoke, the smell of cigarettes is like a smack in the face once I open the door. Not only is it a turn off, but the showing time will likely be less than one minute. A buyer will not likely take the time to see your whole house if cigarette smoke greets them at the door.
  3. Wallpaper - I've removed wallpaper myself, and it only took a little over an hour. I saw a tip on HGTV a while ago where a simple mix of water and liquid fabric softener will make it easier to remove. But buyers instantly see the labor of taking their time to remove the wall paper, and the expense of painting before they can enjoy living in your home. So 'icks-nay' on the wallpaper.
  4. Large dogs are scary - Even if you've had 'Scooby' since he was the cutest puppy in the litter, a large dog can easily intimidate and distract a buyer. If you have a dog, please make arrangements for him/her when your home is on the market.
  5. Obvious repairs make buyers worried - While I'm retrieving the key from the lockbox, the buyer is eyeing the exterior. And usually rotted wood around the trim of the front door and the front windows are very noticeable. Buyers get the feeling that the seller didn't take care of the home, and they immediately form an opinion before walking through the door.

Whenever I go on a listing appointment to talk to a perspective seller, I make a point of reviewing these items. As a buyer agent, this feedback is important because it helps me to narrow down homes for my buyers based on their likes and dislikes. The one question that's important for every buyer to answer when looking at homes, "Can you see yourself living here?"