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15 Presentation Mistakes That Turn Buyers Off

By Rebecca Richmond

If you’re planning to list your property for sale make sure you aren’t making the following presentation mistakes; rather than engaging your buyers, you could be turning them off.

1. Poor exterior paint choice
You don’t want to be referred to as ‘the orange and blue house’ by potential buyers. Consider re-painting your property using more neutral colour scheme to appeal to a wider audience. Look for a good exterior paint which is natural, earthy and popular, this should work well on most styles of Australian property. If re-painting is not an option get a quote for the work so buyers know the cost.

2. Overgrown (or ‘under grown’) yard
An overgrown yard suggests that your whole property is badly maintained and could make a bad first impression. Try to cut back bushes, tidy your lawn, plant some hardy plants and re-mulch for a fresh clean look. Buyers are busy, most want a yard that is maintenance free. The same goes with an ‘under grown’ yard, your buyer may think there’s a lack of attention to the property if your garden is too sparse and dry.

3. Clutter
Buyers want to see and buy your house and not your things. Even houses that are decorated well can have too much clutter when it’s time to sell. Space sells so box-up your ‘stuff’ and store before listing. Don’t just store it in the garage, you’re selling your garage too. Don’t just store your clutter in the garage, you’re selling your garage too.

4. Time warp decor
I know that retro is ‘on trend’ again but not in its original 1970′s form. Swirly carpets, flouncy curtains, peach tinted walls and gold bathware all communicate dated. If you can, fit new carpets, take down curtains and replace with simple blinds, re-paint walls in modern neutrals and swap out any gold for silver. They’re small changes that can make a huge difference to how your house is perceived and can give a great return on investment.

5. Family photos
Buyers want to imagine themselves living in your house. This is difficult when the current owners, their pets, medals, diplomas and signed footy shirts are staring down at them. Pack them all away.

6. “Brave” colours
We call these brave colours because that’s what they are! Most people prefer neutrals when buying so they can move straight in and not worry that their green sofa is going to clash with the purple feature wall.

Coloured kitchen cabinets are a particularly difficult sell and there are several options when it comes to freshening them up. Consider getting cabinets re sprayed in a neural colour, in most cases this is a great solution which gets a return on investment. Different cabinets may require different methods and it’s worth exploring your local DIY store to find a solution that’s right for you.

7. Wallpaper & borders
Wallpaper is becoming more popular again but it’s personal and polarising when selling unless it’s a neutral paper. Sorry, but it’s got to come down. While you may love the wallpapaer and borders, when you’re selling a house, neutral tastes appeal to the widest audience.

8. Collections
These are personal to you and often you only. Unfortunately to the potential buyer they add to the clutter and therefore should be packed away when selling. Not everyone shares your love of frogs. Not everyone shares your love of frogs.

9. Dated kitchens & bathrooms
Buyers want new and shiny. They know that kitchens and bathrooms are expensive to upgrade. Make effective lower cost upgrades that deliver a return on your investment before you list for example new counter top, swapping out tapware and laying cost effective flooring.

10. Your to-do list
The reason it’s a ‘to-do’ list is because you intend ‘to-do’ it but don’t. Your buyers want to buy your property not your ‘to-do’ list. They will over estimate the cost of putting everything right then put in a low offer, or just walk away.

11. Themed or over the top decorating schemes
Examples are: a beach or Asian theme or Dr Seuss kid room theme. Not everyone likes the same style as you so these need to be toned right down. Less is more when selling. Let the style and location of your house and your most likely buyer guide you.

12. Distracting window treatments
Flouncy or highly patterned window treatments or vertical venetians are similar to wallpaper in that they are too personal or date a room. Replace with simple roller blinds, ready to hang curtains in neutral tones or take them down completely. This will let more light into the room and buyers like light filled houses.

13. Questionable art
Nudes, guns, religion, even sporting teams don’t have a part to play when selling your house. Try a landscape or abstract instead.

14. Lack of storage
Buyers look for plenty of storage so overstuffed wardrobes and cupboards show that there isn’t enough. Aim for about 40% full so they can see there is plenty of space, and only store things in a cupboard that relate to the room, so no golf clubs or DVDs in the bedroom wardrobe or printers in the kitchen pantry.

15. Dirty & smelly
I’ve saved the most important to last. Your house needs to be cleaner than it’s ever been when selling. Everything needs to be cleaned. Clean and fresh is the best smell when selling. Avoid candles and plug ins as not everyone can tolerate the smell. Your house needs to be cleaner than it’s ever been when selling. Avoiding the above presentation mistakes ensures your home will be easier on the eye of prospective buyers and have them making you an offer in no time.


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