Category: Showing Your Home

Make Home Showings Easier By Not Doing These Things

When someone is searching for a home to buy, gut instinct and first impressions are crucial to making a positive impact. Even if your home ticks all the boxes for you, there is a chance you may be offending potential buyers without ever knowing it. Here are some things to avoid when selling your home.

1. Masking Issues

No matter what it may be, masking potential issues to gain a quick sale could be a very costly gamble. If there are serious problems hat you know about, a buyer could back out of the deal at the last minute, ask you to fix the issue or worse — involve you in a legal battle long after the deal should be done. Consider hiring a qualified home inspector to conduct a pre-sale inspection. An inspection gives you the upper hand in determining how to address the issue — and get top dollar for your home. No home is perfect. Be upfront about any problems in your home and you will light the path to a smoother sale.

2. Overpricing Your Home

Ensuring your home is appropriately priced before hitting the market is an important factor in achieving a timely sale. Working with a knowledgeable agent — and trusting their advice — is your best bet in ensuring your home sells for what it’s worth. In real estate, the price you paid for a home has no bearing or guarantee on its selling price when you go to list. The market, condition of the home, and how well recent home sales have performed all influence what your home is worth, and having your house sit on the market because it’s overpriced will deter interested buyers.

3. Not Preparing Your Home For Sale

Buyers need to picture themselves living in your home. Giving them a clean, decluttered, and neutral space is essential. An abundance of knick-knacks, or greatly loved (but really worn out) furniture can be distracting, so consider packing them up before you list. Additionally, showing your home with overly bright, dark, or otherwise overwhelming colors can be off-putting to potential buyers who only see the price tag and effort to repaint. Repainting these rooms in a neutral palette may not be your personal taste, but it will allow a blank slate for potential buyers.

4. Making Showings Difficult

While keeping your house ready for showings and open houses can be stressful, the longer your home sits on the market, the more you will have to do it. Being inflexible with requested showing times or demanding to be present during showings can actually harm the sale process rather than help it, and may top a buyers list of pet peeves. Potential buyers will be more willing to work with you on the negotiations if you have been reasonable in their showing demands, and allowing them to view your home without you present will ease any uncomfortable feelings they may have about you being present.

Via, in part, by Coldwell Banker Blue Matter.

Selling Your Home this Spring? Seven Tips to Help You Prepare

(via the Coldwell Banker blog)

While it still may be chilly outside, the weather isn’t the only thing that’s about to warm up. The spring selling season is right around the corner, and we’ve got seven things you can do now to prepare for selling your home once spring arrives.

The good news is, you can get a head start on preparing your home now, so it’s ready to go once the first signs of spring appear. Here are seven simple tips you can do now, to help get your home market-ready.

1. Give a Thorough Clean

Think spring cleaning territory when deciding what level of clean your home requires for sale. Everything from scrubbing baseboards to dusting fan blades and clearing cobwebs from storage areas should be covered as you scrub-down your home. If the task feels overwhelming, simply go room by room until it’s done.

If you have carpet, and it’s in reasonably good shape, a thorough cleaning with a professional carpet cleaner will improve the look and the odor in your home. If carpets are worn and threadbare, consider a reasonable replacement, such as a good quality laminate. Cracked tiles should be replaced now, if it’s in your budget, for maximum effect.

Carpet cleaner giving a deep clean to carpets

Image Source: Flickr/Laura D’Alessandro

2. Do a Minor Update

It’s no secret that kitchens and bathrooms sell homes. A quick update to a kitchen can make a huge impact simply by cleaning painting or replacing tired hardware and fixtures. If your kitchen lacks a backsplash, this is the perfect time to add one for maximum appeal.

3. Clean the Windows

Even if it’s too cold to tackle the job from the outside, you can get half the job done now. Scrub the interior side of all windows and don’t forget the window sills, tracks of sliding doors, and the surrounding trim. Buyers will notice the attention to detail once your home is on the market.

4. Paint

Choose the spaces that have the boldest color and tone them down to a neutral palette. The goal should be for buyers to see your home as a blank canvas for their own belongings. Focus on high traffic areas next, and finally, repairing any flaking paint in damp areas such as basements or bathrooms is a must.

Image of a row of paint swatches in a store

Image Source: Flickr/Dean Hochman

5. Pack Early

While you don’t need to pack up everything you own, strategically boxing up personal items that will depersonalize your space is a good idea. Family mementos all serve to remind buyers that this is your space, and you want them to picture it as theirs. Storage space is another big item on a buyer’s list, so consider packing up any out of season clothing and tucking them away to make closets seem larger.

6. Purpose Every Room

Every room should have a clear purpose, so buyers can see how versatile your space is. This may mean removing furniture from a crowded space and moving it somewhere else in your home to create defined living areas. Look for opportunities to create functional spaces like an office area or reading nook, and if you have too much furniture, consider putting it in storage. Less furniture will create an open feeling throughout your home.

A cozy home reading nook, staged for real estate

Image Source: Flickr/Michael Pardo

7. Go Outside

While it is too early to landscape, paint, or deal with the exterior areas of the home, curb appeal is essential to getting buyers to even walk through the door. Assessing your home now, from the garden spaces to the roof and front entry, will let you make a list of quick and easy items you can tackle as soon as the weather warms up, which will make selling your home a breeze.

Main Image Source: Flickr/Emily May

Home Staging + Showing Tips

When it comes to preparing your home for sale (or a listing appointment), you will not only want to make sure your home is clean (see the helpful cleaning checklist previously posted here) but you will also want to stage your home…or even hire a home stager. As it has been said: the way a person lives in the property is not often how the property should be shown.

 

Here are some things to keep in mind when preparing /staging your home, when your Realtor® offers advice or you are working with a stager directly.

  • It is not personal. We work towards a common goal – wanting to sell your home the highest price possible to the best qualified buyer/situation for your home. Suggestions such as “decluttering,” “removing personal items or expensive keepsakes,” etc. is to help make your home appear most neutral for all buyers. It is nothing against your style or your items. (We haven’t really had this experience people taking this too personally but I know people do.) We, and some Agents, have seen many comparable homes, knowing the competition. If an Agent or stager has a suggestion on how to neutralize your home, or what to do / change, chances are they know what buyers are looking for in your town or neighborhood or what “showing to sell” looks like, so to speak.
  • Similarly, remove personal items. Photographers we work with also state the importance of this for photos. Have your daughter’s name on the wall in her room in big letters? While your home is listed, you may want to remove personal touches such as that as well as family/friend photos if there are many and sport team memorabilia. Buyers want to be able to picture themselves in their next home and that suggestion helps with that.
  • Remove any items of importance from plain sight or remove completely from the home. This is pretty self explanatory but includes things such as jewelry, artifacts, keepsakes, all prescriptions, personal and work files…and mail, etc.
  • Limit scents. Wicks, plugins, etc. may be needed but don’t overuse fragrance as it can bother some buyers (who may wonder what is being covered up).
  • Plan ahead. Contact an Agent when you are ready and believe it will be a good time to list a home. Also, if you are staging your home, allow adequate time for a stager to get your property ready for photos, to show, etc.
  • Make your home safe in all weather conditions. Is it rainy? Make sure you have a rug by the front door so people don’t slip on glossy tile (almost happened). Is is snowing or is there snow on the ground? Shovel / plow your driveway and sidewalk (happened before). Don’t expect people to view your home if they can’t get to it. Things like that can really bother buyers who make the trek out, motivated, to look at…and purchase…a home.
  • Make curb appeal…well, appealing. Add some plants, etc. to the front of your home (make sure it is clean and well-kept also) to make the buyer’s first impression a good one.

Tip: if you really want to move, you ultimately be moving anyway  so why not starting clearing out / donating / recycling / moving items today and not wait until you are about to move out?

This is not an all-inclusive list, just a guide.

View more staging tips here.

Written by the licensed marketing director.

 

Safety Precautions When Your Home Is Listed

I saw a great post by the Association of REALTORS® and I wanted to share some important safety advice that we share with clients. Before photos are taken of your home, in advance of any showings, remove and hide personal items, including but not limited to:

– prescriptions

– mail/bills

– work

– jewelry

– keys

– family photos and anything with names on it

– anything of great value/great sentimental value, hierlooms, etc.

20 Ways to Add Curb Appeal

The spring market is here – and our listings are selling in record time. Mortgage rates are low, buyers are out buying. If you are thinking of listing your property, aside from calling us ( we have a nationwide network and can help you find a real estate professional throughout the United States), you will probably want to spruce up your yard and the curb appeal of your home, given the extreme winter we (and most of the country) had.

Better Homes and Garden - ways to add curb appeal

The basics:

– pull weeds ( there are various natural solutions that help: vinegar, dish soap/water mixture, etc.)

– water plants and greenery

– replace/freshen up mulch, if applicable

– trim bushes

– add grass seed to any sparse spots on the lawn

– seal coat your driveway if you have asphalt

– clean the inside and outside of your windows

Curb appeal is important…especially when listing your home. Let any potential buyer’s impression be a  good one – showing that you care for your home. Better Homes and Gardens lists their “20 ways to add curb appeal” to your property. 

(photo source: BHG)

 

 

 

Winter + The Importance of Safety During Home Showings

Sure, there has been a lot of snow this winter. If you own a property that is for sale / being shown this winter, or if you are the listing Agent of a vacant property, please, please, please… make sure your driveway is plowed/shoveled, your walkway is clear and ice-free. At one property, a foreclosure, the snow was over 2.5 feet deep in the driveway, preventing any cars from pulling in the driveway, nor was there a cleared path/walkway to the door. Not only did one of us fall, but there were three kids as well and the snow was that high.

Disclose if a driveway has not been cleared.  If the snow has not been removed or if icy conditions exists, many would not feel comfortable viewing. We usually have a portable shovel, even though clearing is not the showing Agent’s/buyers responsibility – it is up to the sellers/owners to take care.

ice-snow-removal

Illustration: Chris Gash   (source)

Additionally, this snow and rain combination has caused  ice, so please make sure to salt, with animal paw friendly salt, all walkways and stairs (if you have them) leading up to your home. 

It doesn’t stop outside. Place a large rug (or if you don’t have one, a couple large towels) in the foyer as the water tracks all in…especially on the more slippery surfaces like tile and hardwood. First impressions when viewing the property are important. Don’t make the buyers’ first impression of your home one where they are more worried they are going to fall. It happens and you can be held liable.

If you are too busy and can’t find the time to make your home safe for showings, it may be best to hold of on showings until you can remove the snow and de-ice. I would much rather wait than fall or slip, and I am sure I am not alone.

 

How to “Win” a Showing

Sellers out there, this is for you. Yes, you can “win” a showing, and therefore increase the possibility of more prospective buyers, by doing (or not doing) the following:

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1- Make the property accessible: buyers can get frustrated when they have a day or two that they can look at properties, yet, say the property they really want to see isn’t allowing showings on Tuesdays or Wednesdays, between the hours of 11AM to 3PM, or on rainy days. You get the idea. How can you get a buyer interested in your home, when the showings don’t happen? If you have a good reason as to why you can’t let an Agent/buyer in for the time they requested, by all means, accommodate the second time…if they are still looking. Otherwise, you will just lose showings, and in turn, lose a possibility of an offer.

2- Present your property in a good light:  clean the home, put away the clutter, laundry and dishes, and definitely do not smoke in a home you are trying to sell. Buyers are turned off from messy or smelly homes the minute they walk in. No one likes a smelly or dirty property. Would you?

3- Neutralize your home: how you sell your home is not how you live in your home. Do you want to appeal to the largest pool of buyers? Then, tone down any bright paint colors or design choices, remove all clutter, personal items and valuables and remove the dated wallpaper as well as any excess furniture.

4- Leave or at least step-outside for showings if you can: having the seller home, or even worse, follow the buyer and Agent around (it happens) is not only uncomfortable, but how can the buyer get an idea of the home, imagine their furniture placement, etc. when he or she feels like they are being watched? Furthermore, the seller should never talk about this and that feature of their home and try to “sell” the property, or talk when the buyer is trying to look at the property. We hear this a lot from buyers. If you can’t leave the premises, please step outside. The buyers appreciate it. In addition, if you have to be home for a showing, do not take it personally if a buyer knows right away if the property or location is not for them.