Better to add a positive or eliminate a negative?

I spent like an hour in a vacant listing today. This is a nice house. The location is great. The issue is that it isn’t extremely nice and it isn’t subpar either. See, if it were extremely nice, it would have sold by now. And if were really subpar, the price would be low enough to attract a buyer looking for a deal…..but what I have is an average house with an average price for the neighborhood. Sometimes those are the toughest ones to sell.

This house could use more fresh paint. The hardware and most of the lighting are outdated. I think a lot of realtors and sellers look at a house like this and think of ways to add a WOW factor. Wow is fun. Wow also costs a lot of money. Wow also doesn’t erase the negatives. It has been my experience that you can have a lot of recent updates, but nobody will buy it if there are still several negatives. Granite won’t sell a house with stained carpet. New stainless appliances won’t make up for the worn out vinyl floor in the hall bath with the seam curling up.

So, what should you do? Focus on eliminating the worst offending negatives. Buyers come to a showing hoping this will be the house they will fall in love with. Most buyers can overlook a few minor things because they know they can’t get 100% of their dream house. As they walk around the house, the negatives slap them up one side of the face and down the other……It’s like seeing somebody dressed really well and all you can focus on is the stain on their shirt. It is just too hard for buyers to get past that. The more negatives you have, the harder it is. You don’t have to be an experienced realtor to know that, just watch an episode of House Hunters on HGTV.

Eliminating the worst negatives is by far cheaper and more effective than spending money on one Wow feature.

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