I have been in this business for a long time and still manage to be surprised from time to time. While the overwhelming majority of homeowners do a good job of maintaining their home, there are some homes for sale that have serious problems making selling them next to impossible. While many potential minor repairs might be excusable to some buyers (not recommended) there are some existing conditions that will send most home seekers running for the car! Here are 4 things that I have experienced myself that should be a HUGE red flag to both sellers and buyers.
What’s that SMELL?
If you’ve seen enough homes for sale then you know exactly what I’m talking about. I think that many times the homeowner(s) may be used to the various odors in their home, other times they simply may not care but foul odors in a home for sale is completely unacceptable. Musty odors could be more than just unpleasant, they could indicate serious health problems if mold is present. Smelly pet odor is another big turn off for potential buyers and some may even have allergies. One type of odor that can be offensive but is often overlooked is food! Not everyone likes to eat everything and cooking foods with a very strong odor (such as fish, curry or other very spicy dishes) should be avoided if you are expecting visitors. Fresh air is your best bet!
If you’ve ever walked into a bathroom or kitchen and the floor was “mushy” or “bouncy” than there is a BIG problem. It takes time but this “soft” feeling floor is the result of water damage and could be very expensive to fix. Rest assured that if a potential buyer doesn’t notice it, the home inspector will. This is an issue that the seller needs to take care of before the home is listed for sale.
Cracks in the Foundation
Again, this is a very serious and costly problem in a home. Usually very small hairline cracks are harmless but anything wider than about 3/16 of an inch could be trouble. Walls that are buckling outward or bulging in some areas is also a sign of a weak foundation and both of these conditions require inspection by a structural engineer. The seller should have this problem addressed before listing the home and the buyer should be aware of how serious this situation can be if they are considering purchasing a home in this condition.
Pests and vermin are not on any buyer’s wish list. Whether it’s ants, roaches, termites, mice or other unwelcome residents, if someone viewing a home for sale sees them it’s a pretty good bet they won’t be back. Not only are some of these creatures unsanitary but some are capable of severely damaging a home over time such as termites or wood ants. This may sound like a very common sense problem to avoid but I’ve seen it more times than I can count. Buyers know that a home that is infested is also a home that probably isn’t maintained well in other ways. If you want to send prospective buyers running, a few “creepy crawlers” should do the trick.