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Wednesday, June 19, 2013

5 unsightly red flags that drive home buyers away

In many places, home prices are heading up and more buyers are hitting the market. If you're selling, you obviously want to get the best price, but don't want to spend a lot on renovations. Fair enough! However, studies show there are five issues you really should address, because they turn off home buyers right away. Fix these and you have your best shot at selling your home in less time for more money. Best of all, you can tackle these issues yourself for not very much money.

1. Paint problems. Peeling paint on siding and trim makes a house look uncared for and results in lower offers from buyers. Inside, walls painted colors that are dark, like navy, or unusual, like hot pink, are a complete buyer turnoff. But painting is an easy and inexpensive do-it-yourself fix.

2. Unkempt landscaping.
Your home's curb appeal can make or break a sale. Get out the clippers, pruning shears, and rake, and weed and mulch the beds. It doesn't take that long to spruce up your landscaping, but it can pay big dividends.

3. Wallpaper and paneling
Outdated wallpaper can really throw buyers. It takes time to strip and repaint, but it's worth it. Have a wallpaper stripping party, or hire a company to do the stripping and repaint the walls yourself. Paneling is tougher because removing it can uncover problems. Painting it may or may not work. Talk to your realtor to decide the best route.

4. Mirrored walls.
Big walls of mirrors or mirror tiles just don't fly with most buyers who think removing them is a major project. Take them down yourself; repairs shouldn't be that difficult, and then just repaint. To avoid paint matching problems, either use an accent color or repaint the whole room.

5. Closet doors.
Buyers lose their enthusiasm for a place when closet doors are missing, out of adjustment, or if they've been replaced with drapes or beads. Make sure all closets have doors installed, adjusted, and properly working. 

As a buyer, when you see these problems in a home you otherwise like, realize that you could be looking at a bargain. Walk away if exterior paint issues indicate severe moisture problems. But the rest of these conditions are minor issues that you can fix yourself for not much money.

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