My lovely bride and I have been quite busy lately showing homes. One client is “downsizing” after the last kid went off to college. Two different couples relocating to the Phoenix area in the coming months are exploring options in the East Valley. All of these buyers have a good idea of what they are looking for. Francy has the uncanny ability to glean a clients needs, wants and desires, which eliminates, oh, I don’t know, several thousand options before we even get in the car.
But relocators in particular like to look at lots of houses in different areas. Neither of the couples we’re working with had ever set foot in Phoenix. Through our and other web sites though, they had a pretty good idea of where to start looking. They’d even identified several houses through our IDX search that they wanted to see long before they even called us. However, they still wanted to see several homes to get a better idea of what is available, what the subdivisions are like, what different parts of town have to offer, you get the drift.
Anyone who has read this blog (or almost any other Phoenix based blog) knows there is a significant amount of inventory available in the Phoenix market. With lots of homes to chose from, sellers need to make sure their homes are priced competitively and are in “showing shape”. Despite this, we found countless (literally) homes that weren’t priced well. As for “showing shape”, well….. that’s why I’m writing this. What we saw was pretty amazing. Below are true life examples of some of the homes we saw for sale this month. I couldn’t make this stuff up folks…
- Purple and orange may be the colors of the Phoenix Suns, but even a devout Suns fan probably doesn’t want a master bedroom with purple and orange walls.
- Ditto for dog feces. We love dogs. We have a large dog named Trudy. Large dogs like Trudy leave large piles of doody. Some potential buyers may be able to overlook piles of dog feces in the backyard. It’s far more difficult however, to overlook feces deposited on the living room floor.
- On the subject of pets: if you have a lizard in an aquarium, please make sure it’s alive. A live lizard is kind of cute. A dead one is just an assault to both the eyes and the nose.
- On the subject of smells: You know that little curved part of the drain pipe under your sink? That’s called a “p-trap“. It’s main purpose is to create a water filled barrier between your home and the sewer. When a house sits vacant, the water in the p-trap evaporates. When that happens, obnoxious smells from the sewer waft up into your house. I have yet to have a buyer that enjoys the smell of sewage when they step into the foyer of your for-sale home.
- On the subject of sewers: How hard is it to flush a toilet? I don’t really understand the buyer’s fascination with toilets, but everyone looks at them. Many like to see if the toilet is operable. No one likes to see it full of…. stuff.
- On the subject of stuff: Virtually everyone knows that you should “de-clutter” a home before you list it, and keep it de-cluttered throughout the showing period. Now we all know that people still have to live in the home, and the occasional clutter is to be expected. But these scenarios in particular should be addressed:
- A dirty plate, or even two can be forgiven by (some) buyers. Both sides of the double sink stacked two feet high is difficult to overlook.
- Ditto with the dirty laundry. Particularly when it’s piled on the couch.
- Every suburb I’m aware of provides trash pickup service. I strongly recommend that household trash be disposed of in the big giant trashcan the city provides. I don’t really see the point of stacking up bags of garbage in the spare bedroom.
- Finally, put the shotgun that’s leaning against the wall by the front door out of sight. Even disregarding the huge liability presented if little Johnny pulls the trigger, it tends to make potential buyers question the safety of the neighborhood.
That pretty much sums up the disasters we saw this month. Don’t get me wrong, we saw many very nice homes. They were properly priced and well presented. Offers will be written on homes like this. Those homes with the anomalies mentioned above were rapidly dismissed from consideration. (Note to agents with few, poor or no photos in their listings — your client’s homes weren’t even considered by any of our buyer clients. No matter how well presented they may have been.)
If you are a seller, and you don’t know what you need to do to make your home presentable, ask your agent. Although in all honesty, your agent should have educated you long before you signed a listing agreement.
[tags]showing homes, staging, nasty homes[/tags]