Wednesday, December 12, 2007

What Buyer Feedback Really Means - Part 1

Most of the time, after you have a couple of showings on your home for sale, you get some feedback. Whether you get the feedback because you happened to be there when the buyers arrived or left, or because your agent called the prospective buyers' agent and asked for feedback, somehow it arrives at your doorstep (or the porches of your ears, for those of you who are more Shakespearian minded) and you wonder what to do when it's not positive.

Below are a couple of common types of buyer showing feedback, and what to do (or think) about them:

"We didn't like the floorplan" -- Nothing you can do about that. Unless there is. See, if you can easily knock down a wall between a dining room and living room, and make the space into a more modern Great Room-type space, then consider it. Talk to your Realtor, try to guestimate the return on your investment, and make an informed decision.

If your home is older and you're competing with newer homes that were built on the now-popular great room concept, then you might be a good candidate for 'creating' a great room. Of course, there's a whole host of other considerations including your budget, your abilities as an amateur handyman, your tolerance for wallboard dust in your dinner, and so forth. But if you decide it's worth the time & money invested, well, go for it. In fact, make it a party! Invite a couple of friends over, hand out sledgehammers and/or an alcoholic beverage, and indulge your inner child by knocking down a wall or two! (Loyal readers know that my tongue is in my cheek here. In fact, it's nearly piercing my cheek. Unless you're quite handy, consult a contractor!)

"It's Very Family Friendly"  -- The buyers were put off by the 137 family photos lining the walls of the bedroom hallway.  Take them down. Not only are family photos distracting, but do you really want complete strangers to know your school age children on sight?

"We Needed More Space" -- The buyers knew (or should have known) the square footage of your home from the MLS ad. They could be trying to tell you that your house is dark or cluttered. Clutter eats equity! Many thanks to Cindy Kenna of Staging Solutions LLC for that line. I've used it a 100 times with success. Add lights where ever possible. And clean out the clutter! You're going to have to pack it anyway, so start now.

If you have too much stuff cluttering up your home, buyers get overwhelmed. They'll spend time looking at your stuff, wondering what kind of person collects an entire roomful of Hershey's Kisses memorabilia (a true story from my chest of war stories!), and won't spend time looking at your house.  If they don't look at your house, they can't imagine themselves living in it. If they can't imagine themselves living it in, they will not make an offer. 'Nuff said.