Open houses the most common way to show of a home’s selling points, but what if potential buyers see something that makes them turn and run? What are the red flags that they are looking for? While there are many things to looks for, we have compiled a short list of open house red flags that should be addressed. Some can be controlled, while others can only be explained. Here’s what to look for:
Potential home buyers and their agents don’t just look at a property–they smell it, too. Mold, mildew, cigarettes, and pets leave odors that can quickly change a buyer’s mind. If you detect a smell that says the home hasn’t been taken care of, immediately talk to your sellers about having the house deep cleaned. Consider banning pets and cigarettes from the home thereafter. Masking these smells with candles, sprays, or air fresheners won’t work, because people sensitive to strong smells of any kind will notice immediately.
Recent renovations can also be a red flag. While permits and the quality of the work may be of concern, they might also worry that a renovation is trying to hide something. If you are the seller, have that information ready to go before they even have a chance to bring it up. As a buyer, make sure to ask why the renovations were made. Being upfront and honest with a potential buyer will go over a lot better than not being forthcoming.
Neighbors can be great, but others not so much. If a neighbor is troublesome, it may require your seller to give advance notice of the open house to neighbors, or disaster could strike. As a buyer, you should always ask about the neighborhood, neighbors, and any issues they might have had… especially if they are moving because of them.
An unfinished home or one with renovations that are not yet complete can mean a lot of things for a potential buyer. It could definitely change their financing options to needing a construction loan instead of a standard home loan. Always ask for the name of the contractor and get their contact information so that they can answer non-biased third party questions. As a seller, highlight the potentials of being able to ‘finish’ the home while putting their own personal touches on the property.
There is no excuse to have peeling paint at an open house. Painting the walls is an easy fix, and in many cases, often the cheapest on the list. Peeling paint can be an indicator of water damage, property neglect, or low-budget choices, but it could also just mean the owner was freshening up the home for resell value. To a seller, a fresh coat of paint can solve problems, but to a buyer, be aware of what challenges it may be covering up.