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Selling Property: Weird, Quirky or Unusual Features of a Home Can Put Off Buyers

By Laura Anderson
When you’re looking to sell a property, you want it to appeal to a broad market – for punters to come in and be able to picture their happy, home-owning future. What you don’t want is a confused giggle when they get a look at your bathroom.

When buyers are attending several inspections over a weekend they’re looking for reasons to rule out properties, according to agents.

“Buyers tend to exclude rather than include”, says Walter Burfitt-Williams, of BresicWhitney. “You might think the leopard print wallpaper is gorgeous, but it’s not to everyone’s taste.”

In older homes it’s better to stick to classic styling rather than something on-trend, and try to avoid overcomplicating interiors with multiple trends or time periods. You don’t want a clash of different styles in a house, let alone a room, he notes.

Steep, spiral staircases in narrow terraces – a popular option for renovations of a certain era – were another feature to rethink, according to Peter Gordon, from Cobden & Hayson, particularly in small terraces in Sydney’s inner west. Jacuzzis were another addition to consider getting rid of, as buyers tended to view them more as a second-hand spa.

Swimming pools, particularly in smaller backyards, could also be a turn-off. “Anything that requires high maintenance – there’s nothing worse from the buyer’s point of view”.

Jill Wright, from Ray White, had a seller who refused to move or board her 12 cats before her open home.

The smell and the litter were a turn-off, with a colleague noting “the property would have gone for more money without them.”

So, what are our picks for some other things to avoid?

1. Toilets in Unusual Places

Toilets are great, don’t get me wrong. But more than one in a bathroom – remember the mysterious case of the double toilets at the Sochi Olympics– or a stray toilet in say, the kitchen, might be of concern to a potential buyer. Bathrooms and kitchens are expensive to remodel, too, which will be of particular concern to home-hunters who aren’t looking to renovate.

Ditto urinals in bathrooms, practical as they may be – as Peter Gordon notes, “it’s not a pub, it’s a bathroom”.

2. Pole Dancing Poles

In all fairness, pole-dancing is a great way to get fit and work on your core strength. Stephanie Rice reportedly had one at one point, and Chris Gayle installed a whole club in his house, so there’s kind of a precedent. But unless you’re a professional athlete it’s as likely to turn off buyers as turn them on (ha, ha).

3. An Ugly Feature Wall 

This is a relatively easy fix – a paint job, maybe with some wallpaper removal thrown in.  When sellers are looking at nine or ten properties on a Saturday, you don’t want the single most memorable feature to be “that fuschia eyesore in the living room”. Ditto for murals, outside of a kid’s bedroom.

4. Built-in Aquariums 

They are the “amenity that quickly becomes an eyesore.” This is arguably less of an issue in luxury homes where the buyer had the cash for an expensive hobby, as in the case of former Apple Executive Michael Barnick’s mansion.

But for your standard suburban or inner-city pad it might be a less-than-ideal use of space. They don’t look great when they’re empty, either.

5. Faux-historical Features

The replica castle is a bit of a divisive style – although they can be done very well – and personally, I read enough fantasy novels as a teenager to not-so-secretly love them.

Broadly speaking, though, it’s better to avoid turrets, twisted Versailles-style columns and the like unless you happen to being living in – and trying to sell – a property of the appropriate vintage.

6. A 200kg Stone Jesus Statue in the Front Yard

Because it turns out it’s something that’s surprisingly hard to get rid of. It doesn’t have to be a religious statue, either – any large, heavy, difficult-to-move bit of garden decoration might turn off buyers who don’t want their front garden to a local landmark.

Granted, in a highly competitive inner-city market, an ill-advised garden gargoyle or a secondary urinal probably isn’t going to override proximity to a useful train station. But why make life harder for yourself?

Information supplied by www.domain.com.au

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