Home Shopping Tips — Don’t Be Turned Off By These 3 Things

ugly wallpaper

In 15 years of real estate, I’ve seen it all. Toilet seats up in listing photos, shag carpet covered with dog hair, bedrooms doubling as marijuana growing centers. Any of these things can easily turn off potential buyers. But savvy shoppers know not to let what can be changed skew their perspective. Here are home shopping tips for buyers on common, but off-putting, things they can usually ignore—especially if you love the home.

Odd wallpaper and dirty carpet

Today’s buyers generally prefer a home that’s turn-key or move-in ready. They’re too busy to take on a renovation—and this is especially true for the continuously connected, mobile-ready millennial home buyer. But painting walls and replacing carpets isn’t always time-consuming or expensive, and you can do these projects before moving in. A fresh coat of paint and finished floors or new carpet won’t break the bank or take more than a week, and the end product will be a like-new home.

Rooms being strangely used

It’s not uncommon to see a home’s dining room transformed into a full-fledged office. Some homeowners even have a bedroom doubling as a walk-in closet. I once saw a first-floor bedroom turned into a wine-tasting room.

Just because the homeowner uses these spaces in an odd way doesn’t mean you have to. Once they’ve moved out, the dining room will be a space that just needs a great light fixture and table. The walk-in closet can be turned back into a bedroom in less than a day.

A too-strong seller presence

It’s difficult for a buyer to imagine themselves in a home if it’s full of the seller’s photos, diplomas and other personal belongings. What’s worse is when the seller is present at a showing. It makes everyone uncomfortable. The buyers feel like they need to be on their best behavior and can’t explore the house, dig deep into closets or cabinets, or feel free to talk out loud about what they see.

A home that is too personalized or where the seller is always present can sit on the market and get a bad reputation over time. A smart buyer will use that to their advantage and snag it below the asking price.

Sellers who sabotage their home sale—whether intentionally or not—leave money on the table for the buyer. But typical consumers today have a hard time seeing through a seller’s mess, personalized design style or custom changes. If you see a home online that’s in a great location with a floor plan that’s ideal, go see it. Ignore the things you can change, and think about whether you can make the home your own.

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