Why do some homes linger on the market and others get multiple offers on day one? 

Maybe the listing price is inflated. Or maybe the location is a problem. 

But sometimes when a house doesn't sell it's details that turn buyers off. 

If you want your house to receive an offer for a price you love, and then to sail smoothly through the negotiations and inspections, make sure you don't ignore these six problems that have easy fixes. 

1. Danger signals

You want buyers to feel confident about your home's infrastructure and amenities. Don't let them wonder about basic necessities like electricity, water quality, and safety.

For example, if you bring bottled water in quantity to your home, and people touring your home see a supply of bottled spring water or purified water stored in your pantry, cabinets or garage, it gives the message that your tap water doesn't taste good or isn't healthy. They'll assume they will have to buy or filter their water. That's off-putting.

If you keep a space heater, a dehumidifier, an air purifier, or a large box fan in a room, buyers might assume there is a problem with heating, cooling, or poor air circulation in that area of the house. So, tuck these appliances out of sight if possible. 

If you have multiple security devices like window gates, deadbolts on exterior doors, and motion-activated cameras and lights, buyers will be concerned about safety. So, make sure your online listing mentions that the house is located in a desirable neighborhood.  

2. Deferred maintenance

Little things bother buyers. Are there any cracked window panes? Stains on the carpet? Cracks in the foundation? Any cabinets missing hardware?  Does the bathtub or shower area need tiles replaced or fresh grout or caulk? Does your roof have missing shingles or clogged gutters?  Any rotten boards in the siding? Loose boards on the deck? Tears in window screens? 

I always advise sellers to take care of these relatively inexpensive fixes because buyers will ask for repairs or discounts that will slow negotiations and cost you more in the end. 

Before your Realtor schedules a photographer, check that there are no red flags like these issues.

Buyers are especially particular about cleanliness
in bathrooms and kitchens. Fresh grout and caulk make these 
areas look more hygienic. Photo: Grout Masters 

3. Poor window treatments

Most buyers are looking for space when they plan to move. To make your rooms look bigger, have plenty of both artificial and natural lighting.

Don't cover your windows with heavy curtains and drapery. Simple curtains and blinds cost less money and look more contemporary than elaborate window treatments. Breezy, white drapes as shown in the top photo are often the perfect solution to replace your colorful window treatments that you want to take with you when you move. You can then list "all window treatments convey" on your MLS specs.

Make sure draperies and curtains are open for viewings, even though some photographers prefer to close window treatments for their photos. Buyers want to see the views.  

I also like the look of mini blinds or Venetian blinds in a home on the market. Blinds of 2-inch wide horizontal slats made from wood, plastic, or aluminum, are attractive and practical. There are plenty of styles to choose from, and you're bound to find versions priced low enough that you can leave them behind when you move. 

4. Not Clean Enough

No matter how beautiful your house is, you could turn off a potential buyer if your home looks unkempt. 

Prepping your home for the real estate market is the perfect time to schedule a professional deep cleaning of your home. Schedule it before your photos are taken. Professional cleaners will go over it from top to bottom.  Here's a handy checklist of what a deep cleaning includes

The professional cleaning will make your home sparkle, and free up time for you to concentrate on staging your property. 

A deep cleaning should follow any decluttering you
do because there's no sense in cleaning what doesn't stay 
in your house. A decluttered home will be easier 
to clean and keep clean. Photo: Family Handyman

5. Front door fail

First impressions are difficult to erase. That's s why curb appeal is crucial, especially around your front entrance, where buyers see things up close while their Realtor is dealing with the entry code. 

If you've arranged a deep cleaning, then the front door will be clean and ready for something extra to make your home memorable. It doesn't need to be extensive or expensive. Usually, a potted plant nearby and a seasonal wreath on the door are enough. 

If the door needs more than a cleaning, read my post about how to paint a door without taking it off its hinges. Choose a color that contrasts with the color of your siding.     

6. Unpleasant aromas

We all grow accustomed to the scents that fill our homes. But others will notice if the house has scents like mustiness, cooking, chemicals, or pets. That deep cleaning is going to go a long way, but then the ball is in your court. 

Don't let stinky stuff accumulate. Be extra diligent about taking out trash on a daily basis, or as often as needed. If you have pets, keep on top of any lingering odors from them, their toys, bedding, or litter box. 

Keeping pet odors at bay is crucial for homes on the market.
Some buyers could also have pet allergies. Photo: NBC. 

Don't try to mask aromas with chemical air fresheners, as these scents can be a trigger for chemically sensitive people and also a sign to others that you might be masking residual bad odors. 

Note that wastebaskets, compost buckets, and recycle bins can harbor aromas or attract pests like ants, roaches, or mice. So empty them often and consider using washable and lidded containers when practical.          

Get the look, get the book

None of these six steps to improving your home are major fixes. You can take care of them in one grand swoop or tackle them one at a time as you are planning your move. Don't leave before checking my home staging eBooks to see what else you can do to make your home the one that sells faster than your competition.  

Top Photo: Custom Drapery and Shades