Seller Tips – Tips for a Successful Showing – Expectations
This is Part 8 of a series of blog posts that consist of tips for a successful showing when selling your home.
Unfortunately, some buyers are not as considerate as one would like. Expect the toilet seat to be left up, mud to be tracked throughout the house (despite asking them to take their shoes off), closet doors to be left open, crumbs on the counter, doors to be left unlocked, etc. Keep this in mind as you begin your home search, and be sure to always follow the Golden Rule!
This is Part 7 of a series of blog posts that consist of tips for a successful showing when selling your home.
Provide snacks to keep buyers in your home
We want buyers to stay in your home as long as possible. The longer buyers stay in your home, the more likely they are to fall in love and make an offer. One of the best ways to encourage buyers to linger is to offer them food. You don’t need to cater a lunch, but crackers, cookies, desserts, lemonade, water, etc. are encouraged. As a bonus, when you bake cookies, the home smells terrific! See Part 3 of my Tips for a Successful Showing for more info.
- Leave a note encouraging buyers to enjoy a snack.
- Set out utensils/toothpicks, if needed.
- Provide plates, cups, and napkins. Paper plates and cups make the most sense, so they don’t have to worry about how to care for them.
- Leave your trash can in plain sight, or provide a tent sign to indicate where it can be found.
This is Part 6 of a series of blog posts that consist of tips for a successful showing when selling your home.
Provide thoughtful notes
Working with buyers, I have shown a few homes where the sellers have left thoughtful notes that provide information that the buyer might otherwise miss or might not know. A common place to leave a note to prospective buyers is a kitchen chalkboard. I have shown a home near Willard Beach that had an arrow pointing to the beach, and an arrow pointing to Scratch Bakery along with the distance to each. Very clever! Others simply add a nice “welcome” message. Here are some other ideas:
- If you have an antique chandelier, put a card on it providing its age and other important details.
- Label light switches so buyers know which switches go to which lights.
- Leave a card on appliances, windows, doors, etc. that indicate when they were purchased.
- If your basement stairs are steep, add a card to the railing or door that cautions buyers to watch their step.
- Placing a card that says “Not included” may make a buyer want it. You can work that to your advantage later…
This is Part 5 of a series of blog posts that consist of tips for a successful showing when selling your home.
Light up the home!
Does your home look its best in the late afternoon with all the lights off? Highly unlikely. As an agent, I’m often running around trying to find every light switch in the house. I often can’t find all of them, so some lights remain off which can affect the buyers’ perception of the home. Does it make or break the sale? Probably not, but if you do a bunch of little things to make your home feel welcoming, it can make a big difference! Your electric bill will rise slightly, but your home will sell quicker. Turn the lights on!
- Turn on every light in the house, including lights in the closet.
- Turn on all lamps. Does one room look brighter than the next? Add a lamp to the darker room to add some light.
- Do your appliances have lights? Under the microwave and the light under the refrigerator water dispenser are common. Turn them on too.
- Open all the curtains to let in light.
- Keep blinds partially closed that otherwise show undesirable outdoor scenery such as a dilapidated fence or a nearby structure that obstructs views.
- Turn off the TV (except when using the TV to play some light classical music).
This is Part 4 of a series of blog posts that consist of tips for a successful showing when selling your home.
Clean, clean, clean!
- Clean, vacuum, sweep, mop, and dust everywhere! Buyers love vaccuum lines!
- Check light fixtures and ceiling fans for cobwebs.
- Clean windows and mirrors.
- If you haven’t moved some of your items to storage, place them in your vehicle so they are out of sight while you are gone.
- Expect the buyers to explore your appliances. Empty the dishwasher, clean out the refrigerator (go on your weekly grocery shopping trip after the showing), clean the oven and microwave.
- Remove anything from the top of your refrigerator. Remove most magnets from refrigerator.
- Take out the trash (in all rooms).
- Hide your kitchen trash can.
- Close all toilet lids.
- Open the shower curtain to make the bathroom appear more spacious. Be sure to clean the tub/shower!
- Clean off your bathroom counter. No brushes, tooth brushes, razors, etc.
- Leave about 30% of your closet space empty. You’re moving soon, right? Pack away your out of season clothes.
- Have kids? Pack away half of their toys.
“Clean your home before showings” sounds obvious, but I’m still surprised about some obvious steps sellers miss when preparing for showings. The cleaner your home, the more money you can expect!
This is Part 3 of a series of blog posts that consist of tips for a successful showing when selling your home.
Play down the scent
- Many people are allergic to certain scents and deodorizers, try to avoid using sprays or plug-in style air fresheners. Scentsy-style wax warmers are usually okay, but baking cookies or boiling cinnamon in water on the stove prior to a showing work best to minimize any issues.
- Burning candles or spraying perfume should be avoided for the same reason.
- If weather permits, open the windows to allow some fresh air inside. If there is a lot of noise outside, however, you may want to keep them closed.
- If you’re going to bake cookies or boil cinnamon, be sure to leave out some munchies so buyers aren’t disappointed. Always leave a note encouraging buyers to try.
We want to keep buyers in the home as long as possible! The longer they linger, the more likely they are to buy! Don’t scare off potential buyers with allergy inducing scents or foul odors.
This is Part 2 of a series of blog posts that consist of tips for a successful showing when selling your home.
Check the temperature
- Once your home is listed for sale, your utility bill will go up a bit (Don’t worry! You will make it up when you sell for a higher price!). If it is cold enough to wear a sweater or jacket to stay warm, turn on the heat. If it is warm outside, turn on the air conditioning.
- Heat or cool your home a few degrees warmer or colder than usual, then turn the thermostat to its normal temperature. This reduces the risk of your boiler, furnace, or air conditioning kicking on while buyers are viewing your home.
- When selling your home, we want to give buyers a reason to linger. The more time spent inside your home, the more appealing it will be to buyers, right? We don’t want potential buyers to leave because the temperature inside the home is uncomfortable!
We want to ensure buyers feel welcome in your home. Let’s make sure they’re comfortable, and not rushing to get back into their car for a more comfortable climate (and off to the next home on their list)!
This is Part 1 of a series of blog posts that consist of tips for a successful showing when selling your home.
- Leave the house at least twenty minutes before the expected arrival of any buyers. As a buyer agent, I often arrive at homes 15 minutes ahead of time to make sure lights are on, documents are prepared, etc. for my buyers. Too often, my buyers arrive a little early and the sellers are still rushing to get out of the home. If you plan on leaving 20 minutes early, your chances of rushing out and forgetting some last minute cleaning is minimized.
- Give the buyers at least an hour to view your home and surrounding property. If driving by to see if the buyers are gone, never turn around in the driveway. This has happened to buyer clients of mine several times. As soon as a seller has turned around in the driveway we all felt that we had overstayed our welcome. The longer the buyer stays in your home, the better! Never rush them.
- Leave a bowl of wrapped candy or a batch of cookies with a small note welcoming the buyer to the home.
- A lot of homes have chalkboards or dry erase boards. If you have one, write a small note welcoming the buyer to your home.
- Leave a 3-ring binder with all home documents in protective sleeves. Your Realtor can help prepare this for you.
- Provide a list of improvements made over the years (this also helps when it’s time for an appraisal!). If there are before and after photos, leave those for buyers to browse.
- A lot of towns in Maine have their own brochures highlighting activities, landmarks, and sights to see. Go to the town hall and grab a couple to leave for your buyers.
Buyers are guests in your home. Unlike weekend guests, however, you want your buyers to imagine owning the home. We don’t need to feed them breakfast, but these tips will help to ensure the buyers are felt welcome in your (their future) home.
All of my listings include professional photography. Who doesn’t like quicker sales netting more money (read #5)!? If your agent insists on using that point and shoot camera, run!
Below are six reasons your home’s listing should include professional photography.
- Your home doesn’t up on one of these sites:
Take a look at these photos. While the majority of these may be from listings outside of the state of Maine, I have seen several photos from local listings that belong on these sites.
- Your home is remembered for its positive attributes and not a blurry photo
I’ve seen million dollar listings with blurry kitchen photos, photos with the owner walking through the front door, photos with a disassembled toilet, etc. I remember these listings for the photo choices, not for anything positive about the home.
- Your real estate agent (most likely) isn’t a professional photographer and everyone can tell
Dear real estate agents everywhere, stop with the over saturated (your house shouldn’t glow), blurry, fish eye lensed photos!
Some photos out there may have been taken with a DSLR, some with a point and shoot, and others with a camera phone. I have a DSLR and I can take decent photos with it, but if I want quality photos I go to a professional.
- A professional photographer will be sure to remove unattractive items from the photo
Love that porcelain doll that has been handed down over generations? What about the room full of deer heads from your hunting expeditions? The 2Pac poster from 1995 surely holds up against the test of time, right?
Everyone has their own personal tastes, and it’s great that you have yours. Keep in mind, however, that we’re trying to reach as many potential buyers as we can with your listing. You want buyers to envision themselves living in the home, not be distracted your décor.
- Homes with professional photography sell faster and for more money!
Research shows that listings that used a high-quality camera and lens for their photos got an average of $3,400 more for their home! Homes listed for less than $1,000,000 sold 6 to 22 days faster!
- A professionally produced video and a 3D interactive tour goes great with professional photography!
Why would any agent create a professional produced video tour, a 3D interactive tour, and not hire a professional photographer as well?
What? Your agent isn’t doing any of this?! I do for all of my listings, plus each get its very own domain name! Check out www.18StateAve.com for an example of how a professional listing should look. Click the image to the right for a full-screen 3D interactive tour!
It’s important for your home to stand out!
Every listing of mine gets a domain name associated with the listing. A domain name, like www.81DowRoad.com, makes the home easy to find, and directs buyers to a preferred website where you can showcase the highlights of the home on your terms.
Here are five important reasons your home's listing should have its own domain name:
It's easy to remember
"Your house is for sale? What's the address?"
Your home stands out from the competition
How many listings have their own domain name? Does your neighbor's listing have one? Most homes with domain names are high end homes fetching millions of dollars. Your home will be one of the only ones in your price range (unless your listing happens to be going for millions of dollars) featuring its own domain name.
You control what buyers see
When you tell your coworker that your home is on the market, and they have someone that they know will love it, where do you send them? Most people will just give the address and have the coworker Google it. Go ahead and Google an address of a home you know is for sale. Where does it take you? Sometimes it takes you to Zillow, sometimes to Trulia, but sometimes it takes you to the real estate office's site whose compressed images and basic info aren't doing your home justice.
Buyers aren't confused Zillow's
Zillow's Zestimate is a constant point of confusion for buyers and sellers. Zillow admits its median error rate is 7.9%. Half are above, and half are below that error rate, and it varies by market. What if your home's Zestimate is $20,000 below your asking price? It doesn't make sense to confuse buyers with an inaccurate price estimate when you can send them to your home's very own domain.
Your home's 3D Showcase and Video Tour are highlighted
The MLS, Zillow, Trulia, Realtor.com, and the hundreds of other sites out there haven't found a good way to highlight new technology such as video and the 3D Showcase. Few agents are using true video, and even fewer are using 3D tours, so it doesn't make sense for these sites to support something innovative when few agents are asking for it. With your home's very own domain, we can be sure that the 3D Showcase and video tour are right at the top of the page, where it should be.