When it comes to getting a home from “for sale” to “sold”, the details matter. Most real estate agents will advise prospective sellers to attend to all the repairs and renovations a property requires prior to even putting the home on the market. This is because discerning buyers will keep a sharp eye on just about everything in the home when attending the open house.
Sharp and meticulous buyers know exactly what big red flags to look out for. Things like plumbing problems or a damaged roof immediately signal trouble to prospective buyers, and unless sellers are planning to advertise their property as a fixer-upper, these larger repairs should be undertaken soon.
However, very few home sellers realise the influence that tiny home quirks have on a potential buyer’s overall impression of the property. Even if they have grown used to flicking the light switch in the en-suite bathroom just so in order for it to work, prospective buyers won’t be impressed by having to wiggle the switch before the lights come on.
Because sellers will never be able to predict which of the switches and knobs buyers will test when the home is on show, the rule of thumb is to fix anything that is not working exactly as it should be.
Even if these are minor repairs, they go a long way in creating a good impression with potential buyers. Buyers easily become suspicious when small things aren’t taken care of by the time they come to view the property, and they might wonder what other aspects of the property have been neglected. Save yourself from having to explain, and potentially putting off buyers by keeping an eye out for these tiny home quirks that can derail the sale of a property.
1. Stuck front door
The front door is sometimes referred to as the handshake of the house. Upon entering your property, the front door is the first thing that potential buyers see. While your real estate agent will probably recommend that you sand and repaint weathered doors – an easy way to create a really good first impression with potential buyers – you should also ensure that the door operates as it should and opens and closes easily and smoothly. Doors may become sticky due to exposure to the weather, age, and use.
A quick DIY fix for a front door that gets stuck or doesn’t open as smoothly as it could is to simply take a piece of rough sandpaper, put it under the sticky door with the rough side up, and sand the bottom of the door by pulling the strip of sandpaper from one side to the other.
If a door is difficult to open and close, this could also be due to it not quite fitting in its frame the way it used to. Ask a carpenter to make adjustments to the doorframe or to replace the door’s hinges, which may have become rusty with age. Lubricate the hinges to further ensure that the door opens without so much as a peep. Also, don’t forget to make sure that the locks and door handles work perfectly.
Don’t underestimate the difference these small tweaks can make – remember, this really is one of the first aspects of your home that potential buyers will see, and if the real estate agent has trouble getting in to show them the rest of the property, it is almost sure to leave a bad taste in their mouths.
2. Wobbly ceiling fan
Especially if you live in the hotter parts of the country, you can be sure that prospective buyers will want to make sure that the ceiling fans are in working order. Wobbly ceiling fans, however, are the stuff of nightmares. Even if you have become accustomed to the lazy rhythm that the pull chain has when it clangs against the light fitting in the late afternoon, potential buyers can be startled by a fan that looks like it is about to take off and rescue some people stuck in a mountain range somewhere.
Lucky for home sellers, sorting out a wobbly ceiling fan is often a quick and easy fix. Simply tightening all the screws that might have become a little looser from constant use usually makes ceiling fans far more secure while they’re in operation.
If this doesn’t work, consider replacing the fan altogether. It won’t cost too much, and will put the minds of buyers looking to stay cool at ease.
3. Cranky garage door
Another door that is worth attending to is the garage door. Whether they are electric or open manually, garage doors should work well the first time, and every time. Regarded by many as the largest single moving object on the property, garage doors are prone to wear and tear, as they are constantly exposed to the elements. As such, they can quickly become noisy when they are opened or closed – something that doesn’t only annoy the homeowner, but may disturb the neighbours, too.
A creaking and moaning garage door won’t impress potential buyers inspecting the property, but this can easily be remedied by lubricating every moving part of the garage door, including the hinges and springs. Make sure to use a lubricant formulated especially for garage doors.
If the door frequently fails to open or close with ease, have an expert check its structural integrity. Making sure all the nuts and bolts of the door are secure is paramount for safety purposes.
4. Propped-up windows
Especially if your home is older, the mechanisms inside double hung windows might have become shot with years of opening and closing, meaning that you’re probably propping them up with items like sticks, poles or bottles. One doesn’t have to think too long to realise that this doesn’t make the best impression on interested buyers.
Usually the issue is with the balances inside the window. These support the sash inside the window and hold the window up. When one or both balances are not connected to the sash, the window won’t be able to stay open properly. Fixing this is something you can try at home – here’s how.
Alternatively, the reason behind the window not staying open may be that the balances are connected, but are not working properly. This might require a bit more effort and perhaps the knowledge of an expert, as the pivot bars and shoes might need replacing.
Aside from not being able to stay open, windows might also not seal properly or may struggle to close.
If they aren’t salvageable, replacing windows that don’t work well will pay when the home is ultimately sold.
5. Unprofessional patch jobs
Potential buyers with a sharp eye know what to keep an eye out for when viewing a property. As mentioned earlier in this article, it might be very off-putting to prospective buyers if more significant parts of the home like the roof or the plumbing system have fallen into disrepair. A home inspection will reveal those parts of the home that sellers should fix before putting the property on the market.
Beware of using cheap contractors to undertake shoddy repair work, though. Buyers will likely insist on having a home inspection done before going into any type of sales agreement, and a qualified and proficient home inspector will easily recognise the tell-tale signs of patch jobs. It goes without saying that sellers shouldn’t try their own hand at fixes that are merely cosmetic by using paint or caulk to cover up water damage or to patch unplugged holes.
Far worse than the other small home quirks discussed in this article, patch jobs are sure to severely discourage potential buyers from even giving the property a second thought. If sellers are willing to cover up faults cosmetically instead of getting them properly repaired, buyers will distrust the overall impression of the home that is being created.
The quirks of a property that is for sale have a far greater influence on the impression that a prospective buyer has of it than sellers think. Sellers might be willing to fix larger problems in and around the house, but don’t readily pay attention to the tinier, more minor repairs that need to be done.
Because home sellers can’t predict what switch buyers will flick or what knobs they’ll test when coming to view the property, it will serve them well to make sure that everything in the house is in good, working order.
From doors that stick, ceiling fans that wobble and cranky garage doors, to propped up windows and unprofessional patch jobs, there are thousands of different minor faults in need of repair that can stunt a sale. Having professionals attend to these tiny quirks won’t cost an arm and a leg, but will go a long way in creating an impression that sells.
Having a qualified real estate agent by your side on your selling journey makes all the difference – let Perfect Agent help you find an agent you can trust today.