Follow these tips to ensure each prospective buyer’s tour of your home is inviting and unobstructed, so that they can focus on the purpose of their tour. Remember that they are there to view your home, to see its features and faults, and to ask questions of the Realtor.
Many people do not like to talk to homeowners directly because they feel this is an intrusion and that they may get a biased response to their question. Your comments or presence could prevent them from asking important questions that could lead them to want more information. If they leave your home without having collected the information they want or were distracted in some way, you could lose the sale. Again, put yourself in their shoes.
First Impressions are most important.
Remember, when a prospect comes to look at your house, the first thing they will see is your yard and front door. Keep your yard at its best. If the grass is cut, weeds are pulled, and shrubs are trimmed, the yard will appear well kept. Remove leaves, debris, snow, and ice from any walkways. Entry door and adjacent windows should be clean.
Cleaning especially glass, walls, floors. Eliminate excess garbage or unpleasant odors. What you show will leave a lasting impression.
It’s extremely important to give your home a bright, warm, cheery feeling. Simply opening blinds, curtains, and drapes all the way can do this. Windows should be clean.
Leaking faucets should be fixed. Drips of water suggest plumbing repairs are necessary. Stained sinks should be cleaned. Obvious watermarks suggest damage and trigger concern in buyers, even if repairs may have been done. Also, lubricate squeaking hinges on doors and cupboards. Correct drawers that stick.
Do any simple, inexpensive refinishing that will make a difference (e.g. scarred walls and wood trimmings will reduce the appeal of your home). Any reasonable amount of redecoration will usually result in a better sale price. Fresh cut flowers add a nice touch to major living areas.
Keep hallways and stairs free of obstructions. Secure or remove loose rugs.
Discard unwanted newspaper, articles, etc. that have accumulated. Remove items that are not in use. Store items neatly in one location, (i.e. if you’ve got storage space in your basement, attic and garage) – use only one space. That way prospective buyers will see your house has ample storage room.
Most buyers are concerned about having enough closet space. Organizing your closets gives the appearance that there is ample closet space. Store out-of-season clothing elsewhere. Take unwanted or out of fashion articles to a Salvation Army location or other such drop-off that accepts and reuses clothing.
Repair loose tiles. Silicone or re-caulk as necessary. Clean all fixtures and mirrors thoroughly. Replace shower curtains that are torn or stained. Remove unnecessary articles from countertops.
Use colorful bedspreads and fresh window dressings. Soft potpourri scents add a warm feeling, as do candles. Remove excess furniture.
Lighting creates a warm feeling and a greater sense of open space. It helps convey a “welcome” message to prospects.
You don’t want buyers to feel like they are intruding on you. That can cause them to hurry through your house and miss important attributes that they would be interested in. The more time they spend in your house, the more likely they are going to feel comfortable and visualize themselves living there. Your presence can be intimidating for buyers.
It’s your Realtor’s job to know the attributes of your property and how they match up to the prospective buyer’s wish list. If any questions arise which could better be answered by you, your Realtor will ask you for input.
Always be courteous and friendly, but don’t force conversation with potential buyers. They want to focus on their inspection of your house.
While your favorite music or television program appeals to you, it may not appeal to the buyers. More importantly, it could be an unwelcome distraction.
Many people fear large dogs or do not like barking dogs. Some people have allergy flare ups around pets. Further, they too cause distractions.
Your house is your home. Provided you have done your best to keep it clean and maintained you have every reason to believe prospects will view it with that in mind. If negative comments are made by prospective buyers, it’s your Realtor’s job to respond to them.
If you attempt to sell other items during a showing, even at below normal values, you run the risk of appearing too aggressive and may turn off buyers.
It’s been my experience that prospective buyers are most comfortable discussing price, terms, possession, and other factors with the home seller’s sales representative. Most of the time people rely on a sales representative to negotiate on their behalf.
I prepare for showings by determining what features prospective buyers want in order that I am better able to emphasize attributes of your property that match their wish list. I make mental notes of their reactions and comments during the showing. This allows me to track prospective buyer interest and reinforces positive feedback during any follow-up. Advance notice gives you time to ensure your home is properly prepared for better showing. Additionally, as a safety precaution I screen and accompany prospective buyers as often as possible, especially if prospect’s are not represented by a Realtor.
MinCom’s Home Presentation Plan
If you want your home sold sooner and for the most money possible, a modest investment of time and improvements, frequently nets the best results.
These tips and techniques are suggested to help you prepare your property to the best results. Prioritize your improvements based on the items that make the greatest difference to the appearance of your house and property.
Most people are turned off by even the smallest amount of uncleanness or odour when buying a resale home.
If your house is clean (squeaky-clean) you will be able to sell your house faster and net hundreds, if not thousands of dollars more. Further, if you are moving anyway, why not sell or dispose of items you don’t want. Your storage areas will appear larger and be more appealing buyers.
Odours must be eliminated especially if you have dogs, cats, or children in diapers, or are a smoker. You may not notice these odours, but buyers do. Most sales representatives find it difficult telling their clients about odours. If you select me to represent you and odours may not be obvious to you, please do not take offense if I must tell you about them. It is only because I want you to succeed in selling your home sooner at the best possible price.
You Must Provide Easy Access
Top selling sales representatives will not show your home if both the key and easy access are not readily available. Their schedules are typically busy and do not afford them time to chase down keys and reschedule appointments, which are canceled because the owner does not provide easy access. This could cost you showings and potentially the sale of your house. Remember, a sales representative’s goal is to show and sell your home.
The best way to have your house available for showings is to have a key available in a lock box attached to or near your front door.
Quick Tips For Preparing Your House For Showing Appointments:
- Put all the lights on if the showing is after dark, if it’s a cloudy day or if any rooms in your home do not allow much sunlight in. Open all drapes, shutters or other window coverings. Buyers want homes that appear bright.
- Keep all doors unlocked within the home. Buyers want to see all the rooms and if they can’t, it slows down or prevents their tour from being complete.
- Leave only soft music playing, turned down low.
- Leave the premises so those purchasers can view your home without interruptions or distractions. Take a short walk with your children and pets. If that is not possible, remain in the background throughout their showing.
- Most importantly do not follow people through your home, people will be uncomfortable and less likely to ask questions.
Home Presentation Facts:
Paint is your best improvement investment for getting a greater return on your money. Paint helps the whole house look and smell clean. If painted surfaces have blemishes, exposed areas, or look faded – consider painting.
If carpet is excessively worn or not a currently popular colour, you may have to consider some replacement especially in main living areas. Clean other carpet in your home. If carpets were cleaned recently, use a carpet deodorizer to ensure a fresh smell. Don’t let the focus of a buyer’s tour be out of date carpet colour. Buyers start to add up replacement costs and this can negatively impact their perception of your house. These improvements make a significant difference to the appearance of your house.
- Front and back yards are a reflection of the overall condition of property and house. Outdoor activities (i.e. barbecues, gardening, etc.) are popular activities for most people so yards should be inviting and well kept.
- Obstructions should be minimized, especially if they prevent easy viewing of yards from the street. For example, tree branches that are dead or hang down should be removed.
- Large vehicles, especially work trucks, and unused vehicles should be parked elsewhere if possible.
- Lawns should be cut, trimmed and edged regularly.
- Walkways and driveways should be swept.
- Regular maintenance of your yard adds a great deal to curb appeal of your home. If yard maintenance is not done, many buyers will simply drive by and view other homes.
Seven Steps Create a Best First Impression
A pleasing exterior is extremely important. Follow these simple steps and create a best first impression for your house and property:
- Cut grass and water it regularly, weed all flower beds, and trim shrubbery – even if this is not part of your normal yard maintenance routine.
- Clear obstructions from driveways, walkways and the entry to your house. Remove toys, bikes, garden tools, leaves, or any potential hazards.
- Enhance the exterior by washing it, especially the exposed portion of your foundation, siding and windows. Replace rusted or torn screens and broken window glass. Remove mildew and moss from exterior surfaces if they are present.
- Add charm to walkways, entry areas, porches, patios, and decks simply by putting colorful flower boxes in these areas. Place flower boxes or ports where they do not obstruct access.
- Remove grease stains from paved driveways with cat litter or proper solvents. Seal your driveway to give it that “new” look.
- Pick up any debris or unpleasant items from the yard, surrounding curbs and sidewalks, and water drainage trenches. This means remove all garbage, animal droppings, and cuttings.
- Clean your garage if you have one. Organize it so that it appears as large as possible. Remove unnecessary items.
How To Make Your Home Appear Inviting:
- Paint where it’s most needed, especially blemishes that require touchups. Worn or soiled areas should be done too. Sometimes simple touchups are all that is required. If repainting entire rooms, choose warm neutral colours that blend in with wallpaper, carpet, and adjoining areas. Aside from white or cream colours, ask your paint supplier which colours are popular.
- Clean up clutter, garbage, and debris for appearance and safety’s sake. Pay special attention to paths to and from rooms, stairs, and storage spaces.
- Conduct a “kitchen cleaning campaign”. The sink should always be clean and free of dirty dishes. Countertops should be as clear as you can make them to appear like there is plenty of counter space. Wash floors, baseboards, and kitchen cupboards. Window should be cleaned.
- Make bathroom look their best. Clean faucets, sinks, mirrors, tubs, tiles, walls, floors, and especially toilets. They should shine. Remove personal items from view. Fix leaks. Repair grout or caulking.
- Organize closets to show their space. Put unnecessary items elsewhere.
- If you have a working fireplace, clean it and if in season, prepare a fire. This helps buyers feel warm, and cozy.
- Put out a “Welcome” mat with a rough textured surface. It will help minimize tracking dirt into your home. While we can ask people to remove their shoes before touring homes, unfortunately not everyone does. They expect to tour basements and adjoining covered porches. Ensure your floors are clean and warm, especially during cold months – this will help.
- Eliminate unpleasant odors in all areas. Air fresheners and lemon scent cleaners give kitchens, bathrooms and closets a fresher smell. Soft scent potpourri can add a pleasant odor to living and dining rooms. Deodorizers work well in basements. Baking soda absorbs odors in cupboards and refrigerators.
- Add special accents that show you care about your house and that makes it most inviting. A bouquet of fresh cut flowers. The scents of cinnamon or fresh baked bread. An open cookbook or coffee table book. Don’t overdo it, but think in terms of “home comfort”.
More Effort Yields The Best Results:
- Cover your trash cans and barbecue.
- Use high wattage light bulbs in dark areas, especially basements and garages.
- Place patio furniture in an organized manner.
- Minimize the impact of pets – while they are important to you, they make some people uncomfortable.
- Turn volume down low on all radios and televisions – this reduces chance of unwelcome distraction.
If you want your house to show at its very best at all times – everyone who lives in the home should participate in making it look that way. If days pass without a showing and you get an unexpected call for a showing to “out of towners” you’ll want to be prepared. After all, they’re looking seriously and may not have another opportunity to see your property.
Conduct regular – at least weekly – walk throughs of your property. Identify and correct any cause for distraction or concern. Do the same in your home (perhaps invite a third party to do the same and ask them to be honest about their observations). This attention to detail is work, but it demonstrates you care about your home and greatly increases the likelihood you will sell it quicker and for the most money possible.