Selling a home in a slow market

When the housing market is slow, it’s more important than ever to make sure your house shows at its absolute best. But there could be hidden reasons why your house hasn’t sold. Read on for things you may have overlooked.

Messy closets
When staging your home for an open house, it may be tempting to just shove all of your extra stuff into the closets, but that solution only creates another problem. Chances are potential buyers are not only going to open those closets, but they’re going to try to imagine their things fitting into them. If your closets are full and disorganized, you’re asking their imagination to work overtime. A better plan is to remove excess stuff and stash it somewhere else, like a storage unit or a friend’s garage. The fewer things you have in those closets, the bigger they’ll look. You can also maximize the perceived available space in a closet by adding features such as drawers, belt racks and shoe shelves.

Pet problems
You may adore your pets, but not every potential buyer will feel the same. Pets can be a deal-breaker for prospective buyers who suffer from allergies. While you may have already taken the step of boarding your pet at a kennel or with friends while your house is being shown, make sure you put away all of your pet paraphernalia. A bag of dog food in the pantry, or a pet bed tucked into a corner, are obvious signs that a four-legged friend lives in the house. Even a forgotten leash hanging over a banister or a stray toy peeking out from under the sofa can give it away. Lingering pet odors, no matter how subtle, are yet another clue. If you have wall-to-wall carpeting, consider getting it steam-cleaned before showing the house.

Uncomfortable temperature
You want potential buyers viewing your house to feel as comfortable as possible, so be sure to adjust the temperature when holding an open house. If it’s a hot day outside, keep things cool inside, but not so cold that visitors will be chilly without a sweater. If it’s February, and people are bundled up in coats they’re likely to keep on, don’t turn the thermostat up too high. Better yet, make a coat rack available so they can wander around unencumbered.

Dirty fingerprints
Having potential buyers through to view your house can create more traffic than you’re used to. Even if you’ve given the house a thorough cleaning, unsightly fingerprints can quickly build up on light switches, cupboard doors and doorframes. Stainless steel appliances, which can be the highlight of a kitchen, are especially prone to fingerprints, and can end up looking like more of a housekeeping nightmare than a luxury. So whenever you have a break between viewings, give those trouble spots a little extra attention.

Common clutter
Unfortunately, time doesn’t stand still while you try to sell your home. Life marches on, which can mean dishes in the dishwasher, kids toys in the bathtub and a lawn that’s in need of mowing. Try to stay on top of these everyday things as much as possible when selling your home. Besides the fact that these things will have a negative impact on your home’s appearance, it’s harder for potential buyers to picture themselves living in a home that’s already clearly occupied by someone else.

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