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7 Crazy Things in Your Outdoor Space That Can Freak Out Potential Buyers

June 12, 2019

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When you put your home on the market, your to-do list expands by about 1,000 items. You want everything in your home to be perfect, or as close to it as possible. So you get to work scrubbing the kitchen and bathrooms, clearing out the clutter from your closets, and putting fresh flowers in all the right places.

But for goodness’ sake, in all of your indoor hustle, don’t forget to give some TLC to your outdoor space. Not only will potential buyers most certainly check it out, but what they find there (cue the spooky music) could make them walk.

Or run.

Here are a few true stories of things that have turned off buyers before.

1. Spiders

Ryan Fitzgerald, broker and owner of UpHomes in Charlotte, NC, remembers touring a property once with an enthusiastic client. An offer seemed likely to happen. And then, “That’s when we ran into massive spiderwebs and spiders,” Fitzgerald recalls.

Not only were they all over the exterior siding of the house, but they were hanging between trees.

“It became clear that no one had been to this home in a while,” Fitzgerald says.

And his clients couldn’t see past it.

“They said, ‘Ew, I hate spiders. No thanks,’” Fitzgerald says.

2. Ants

Are you sensing a theme here? Just a few weeks ago, Cassie Nichols, president and owner of Origen Realty in Baytown, TX, was walking around the backyard of a home with potential buyers when she stepped into an anthill.

“A huge pet peeve of mine, that I’ve seen all too often, is a neglect for pest control,” Nichols says. “It’s hard to look professional while kicking off your shoes and slapping ants off of your feet.”

After that debacle, the numerous other ant beds all over the yard were impossible to ignore.

“It certainly didn’t leave [my clients] with the best impression,” Nichols says. “When a homeowner doesn’t take care of their yard, which is clearly visible, it’s not a leap for a buyer to question if other home maintenance was also ignored.”

3. Fresh kill

Talk about killing the deal. Dusko Sremac, a real estate professional at Re/Max First in Calgary, Alberta, recalls recent clients who were interested in properties with lots of acreage, with a price point over $1 million. More specifically, they were shopping for newer homes, with cabin-style features.

“These buyers weren’t the outdoorsy type, but liked the idea of a space outside the city with a rustic, outdoorsy feel,” Sremac explains.

But when they got to one property, “They immediately felt the vibes that ‘A hunter lives here,’” Sremac recalls.

It wasn’t hard to see why. In the backyard, a recent kill—a big buck deer—was prominently strung up, and still being worked on.

Sremac’s clients asked to leave.

“Sellers should keep in mind that what’s normal or acceptable to them isn’t always going to be OK for everyone else,” he says.

4. Squatters

You already know dead animals and live pests are sure to freak out potential buyers. But just in case it’s not clear, make sure to keep wayward people out of your outdoor space, too.

Several years ago, Michael McGraw, president of Northcap Residential in Las Vegas, was showing a client a home.

“When it came time to go to the backyard, we noticed it was a complete mess, but decided to walk the property anyway, because my client felt it had potential,” McGraw remembers.

Then they noticed a blue tarp, with legs and boots sticking out from under it.

“After my client and I grabbed onto each other, I called 911, thinking it was a dead body,” McGraw says.

Within minutes, several police cars arrived, but it turned out to be a homeless person, alive, but fast asleep.

“Needless to say, my client passed on the property,” McGraw says.

5. Confusing smells

When Bob Gordon, a Realtor® with Berkshire Hathaway in Boulder, CO, toured the property of a potential client, he noticed a door on the barn had several padlocks and warnings to keep out. Of course, he asked the seller why.

“That’s my marijuana grow,” was the answer.

“I suggested he just keep it locked and remove the signs,” Gordon says. “Nope, he had to have the signs, and said the last Realtor didn’t address the smell or grow space.”

As a result, a string of would-be buyers complained about the pungent, skunklike odor.

6. A real-life pet cemetery

Lewis Friedman, a licensed real estate salesperson with the Friedman Team at Compass in NYC, didn’t lose a deal because of a property’s odd outdoor environment. But maybe that’s because his clients didn’t realize what was in it.

The brownstone that Friedman’s clients purchased had previously been inhabited by four generations of the same family.

“The backyard was a jungle—completely overgrown,” Friedman says. “You could hardly walk 2 inches.”

Not until they did a renovation did his clients cut all the weeds back.

“That’s when they saw all these strange little stones,” Friedman says. “A few generations of the previous owners’ dogs were buried in the backyard.”

7. Mysterious holes

Justin Riordan, interior designer, architect and founder of the Portland-based home staging company Spade and Archer Design Agency, still vividly remembers walking through the house of a new client.

“He gave me super creepy vibes, but wanted us to look at the backyard for our opinion,” Riordan says.

Once Riordan and his team went outside, the client showed him a very large hole he had dug that was about 6 feet deep, 3 feet wide, and 6 feet long.

“I kid you not,” Riordan says. “It looked just like a grave.”

The client then prodded Riordan to guess what he thought the human-sized hole was for.

“I seriously expected to get hit over the head with shovel at any second,” he says. “The only thing that would have made it creepier was if he’d been wearing a kimono, and ‘Goodbye, Horses’ was playing.”

Riordan faked a phone call on his cell, said he had to leave, and did so ASAP.

Moral of the story: If anything on your property makes visitors think “Silence of the Lambs,” your home’s probably not going to be a quick sell.

The post 7 Crazy Things in Your Outdoor Space That Can Freak Out Potential Buyers appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.com®.

Are You Killing the Mood? 8 Things in Your Bedroom That Freak Out Potential Buyers

June 7, 2019
yokaew/iStock

 

Your house is on the market, and you’ve thrown all your energy into sprucing up its curb appeal and scrubbing your kitchen and bathrooms until they shine. So you think to yourself: The bedroom is just fine the way it is, right? After all, you made the bed!

Here’s a tip: Your bedroom is not fine the way it is.

“While your bedroom might be your private sanctuary, it is made public when your home is on the market,” says Daniele Kurzweil, a licensed real estate salesperson with the Friedman Team at Compass in New York City. “We’ve always found that the intimate nature of someone’s bedroom seems to get a reaction when the sellers don’t let their real estate agent stage it.”

And that reaction is by no means always positive.

According to the pros, here are the items in your bedroom most likely to make potential buyers run for the exit.

1. Mr. Whiskers’ litter box

Brett Ari Fischer, an associate broker at Lee & Associates Residential NYC in New York, has had buyers who were turned off because a bed wasn’t made, there were light stains on the floor, or even worse, a strong odor from a pet.

“I had a client legitimately almost throw up when she walked into a bedroom that smelled like cat urine,” Fischer recalls. “It was especially unfortunate, as the apartment was actually quite gorgeous.”

Remove any evidence of your pet before a home showing, including litter boxes, toys, and, of course pet hair. And remember: Even if you can’t smell your pet, other people can. Remove dog and cat odors before you throw open the doors for the public.

2. Boudoir photos

“I’m sure it’s fun to take saucy boudoir photos for your spouse,” says Justin Riordan, interior designer, architect and founder of the Portland, OR-based home-staging company Spade and Archer Design Agency. “But honestly, it only will evoke one of three emotions with potential home buyers: laughter, disgust, or ill-timed physical responses—none of which will help you sell your home.”

Riordan’s rule should be easy enough to follow: “Time to put that glamour shot away.”

3. Medical equipment

“I know CPAP machines keep you from suffocating in your sleep and are the absolute best for curing sleep apnea,” Riordan says of continuous positive airway pressure therapy. “However, they’re super gross for anyone that is not the user of the machine.”

Because CPAP machines—or any medical equipment, for that matter—evoke feelings of anxiety rather than inspiration, put them away prior to showings, Riordan advises.

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Watch: 5 Things You Should Definitely Hide Before Selling Your Home

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4. Sex toys

You knew this one was coming into play. Bob Gordon, a Realtor® with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices in Boulder, CO, once worked with a home inspector who, during a routine inspection, checked under the master bedroom sink for leaks. What he found there instead? A pair of sex toys.

“He told me he sees stuff like this ‘hidden’ all too frequently,” Gordon says. “You’d think owners would understand that if they really want something out of sight, they need to get it out of the house for that day.”

5. Lotion or other lubricants

It’s not only explicit sex toys that are a problem. We know the bedroom is where the magic happens, but let’s be honest: Even a hint of sexual activity can turn off a buyer, the pros say.

For instance, “Your hands get dry sometimes, right? Mine too,” Riordan says. “However, lotion combined with a box of tissues on your nightstand connotes a whole other activity that has not a single thing to do with eczema. Put them away.”

6. Laundry

Another thing potential buyers don’t want to think about? Your grubby clothes.

But a hamper of clothes on the floor—or even neatly folded socks left out on your bed—makes that hard to do.

“It doesn’t matter if [your laundry] is dirty or clean,” Riordan says. “Other people’s laundry is downright gross. Fold it up and put it away before showings.”

7. Locks on bedroom doors

While touring a home once, Riordan spied a lock on the outside of a child’s bedroom door.

“It was very subtle, but it was more than three years ago, and we still wonder what the heck was going on there,” he says.

“If you need a lock on a bedroom, fine,” he adds. “Just make sure it locks from the inside.”

8. Mirrors (and more)

Kurzweil recalls touring a listing with a client where all was going well—until they walked into a bedroom with mirrors on the ceiling and a life-sized photo of the wife—nude—hanging above the bed.

“The agent showing us the apartment was so embarrassed, and explained that no matter what she said, the owners would not take down the photo,” Kurzweil says.

The reason? The couple “thought the wife looked ‘smoking hot’ and wanted to show off,” she says. But “my client was turned off to the idea of the apartment and could not see herself living there, no matter what the renovations.”

Kurzweil’s advice when you prep your bedroom for a showing is: Play it safe.

“You want people to walk into your bedroom and feel like they’re walking into a hotel suite at the Ritz,” she says.

The post Are You Killing the Mood? 8 Things in Your Bedroom That Freak Out Potential Buyers appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.com®.