First Impressions Count
You have heard it before. You can only make a first impression once. It can make the difference between receiving a good offer, or receiving an offer at all, or not. Buyers look at other similar homes on the market, not just yours. You have to be prepared for every showing. Sometimes there are also new homes they may look. They may look at model homes in a new development. Your home can be on the market a long time if you are not prepared for every showings. Every buyer and showing counts. You must be prepared at all times. Here are some tips that may help you to be prepared for showings.
- Make A Good First Impression.
When a buyer drive by your house you want it to get noticed, it is called Curb Appeal. It needs to look well maintained so you can get a buyer to want to see it. If you don’t get them through your door you can’t sell your house. Plant blooming seasonal flowers in a pot by the door or on the porch, plant some in a focal point in a bed. Bright colors may help attract a buyer’s eye. Keep the grass mowed and watered. Add sod if you have bold spots in your lawn. Have your bushes and trees trimmed. Weed flower beds, sidewalks and drive ways. Walk round the outside of your house like a buyer will. Gutters should be cleaned out. If your house has wood and trim that needs to be painted and repaired it should be done before a buyer views your home. Get your house power washed if it needs it. Paint the front door or clean it. Replace the hardware if necessary. Make sure the doorbell and lights work. The buyers will look at the door while his/her agent tries to get the key out of the lockbox or waits for the seller to open the door. Paint or replace shutters. It you sell in the fall season make sure the leaves are removed on a daily basis because you won’t know when a buyer wants to see your house. After a storm pick up debris and fallen branches.
If you have a front porch keep it clean and inviting. Some flowering pots or ferns here add a welcoming touch. Blow the walkway and driveway clean. Pull weeds where needed. If you have birds nesting near your house and on your porch keep the area clean.
Make your house look nice after dark and turn on landscaping light, light by the front door and or front porch. Make sure all the bulbs are burning inside and outside your home.
Don’t forget your mailbox. Paint it if needed. Replace it if necessary.
- Remove Clutter
Less is more, I advise my sellers. I am not alone with that statement. Buyers need and want to see your home and they can’t see it when you have too much furniture, cluttered counters and bathrooms vanities, stuffed closets, a kitchen with too much in it, lots of family pictures are distracting (buyers stop and look at them and forget the house), the same goes for collectibles displayed. Go room by room through your home and remove what you do not need and use if you want to sell your house. That also goes for children’s rooms and toys. Go through closets and thin them out, have a garage sale or donate things to a charity for a tax write-off. You can also rent a climate controlled storage unit and store things in it.
- Make Necessary Repairs
That is important for several reasons. Buyer’s expectations are high even if they purchase an older home. They are picky for the most part and many times they are stretched in their budget and mortgage and may not have the funds to make repairs after closing. Buyers want everything in their new home to operate safely and properly. Safety is a very big issue. You can have a home inspection done and know what needs repairs and have them done. You can then use that as marketing tool.
A home that does not look maintained is not attractive to most buyers. If there is one that wants to make an offer it will be a low one considering all the things that need to be fixed. You do not want to get a buyer to find things in disrepair in your home. Homes that look clean and well maintained sell faster and for a better price has been my experience. I am sure other Realtor will say the same. Loose door knobs, burned out light bulbs, any leaks (toilets, faucets, showers etc.) should be fixed. Depending where you live, in South Carolina we have termites and water leaks can attract and cause termite damage. It is best not to leave the buyer thinking your home has not been well maintained.
It has been my experience once a buyer finds something wrong or that needs repairs they get scared away or start making a list and the price goes down. Don’t forget to clean or paint the baseboards. Remove cobwebs.
- Scents and Odors
Sometimes we forget that there are people that are allergic or at least sensitive to some scents and odors too. If a scent is over powering when a buyer enters a home they think you are covering up a smell. Make sure your trash can is emptied regularly, clean it. Pets: make sure the litter box is clean and smells clean. Nothing is a bigger turn off than smelling a pet or seeing a litter box that has been neglected. Same with a dog, scoop up the pop in the yard. Don’t leave it there for the buyer to step into. Cooking smells: Strong odors from cooking are not inviting to a buyer. Air out the home, put some potpourri out or use some air fresheners. Be cautious with the plug-ins. If left empty and plugged in they have been known to cause fire. Clean the stove after cooking and the vent too. Some sellers have baked some cookies for an inviting aroma and left a note to help themselves when looking at their home with a pitcher of water, ice tea or lemonade.
- Stage Your Home For The Sale
One idea is to walk through a model home if you have a hard time decorating. You can get some good ideas when you walk through a model and see what may be “in” and what buyers want. You can also ask a Realtor for staging advice before you decide what needs to be done. It is a good idea to put fresh towels in your bathroom, nicely hung. Some sellers love to set their dining room table with their best china as they were expecting guests. Others set the kitchen table with fresh flowers too. Make all beds every day. Your home should smell fresh and clean. Wash your curtains or hang some new ones. Clean the carpets. Make your home pretty and comfortable. Builders in New Home Developments hire professional designers to decorate their models so they will sell. Make sure you clean the shower after it has been used and the towel should be hung properly. If you have a gas log fireplace you may lite it when there is a showing. Smoking in the house is not a good idea. If you have in the past make sure you make every effort to get rid of the smell and take your smoke break outside. This can cause your house not to sell or even for less because the buyer may deduct cost of new carpet and fresh paint to get rid of the smoke smell, and make a lower offer.
Some home may need a little help in updating light and plumbing fixtures, fresh paint if the paint is old, new blinds if they look old and damaged, clean windows if they need it, make sure they are operable, no squeaky doors, replace floors if needed and carpet too.
- Pretend to be the Buyer
I advise my clients to walk through their house and around the outside of their house once they decide they want to sell it. I say, “Ask yourself would you buy it as you see it today? Write down what you don’t like. Make a list of things you see that need to be repaired, cleaned, painted, removed and other things that stand out. If you would not buy your house for the price you have in mind a buyer is not going to either. Does your home appear to be well maintained? You have to really pretend to be the buyer and remove yourself as seller an owner. If you cannot truthfully say yes you would buy it again then you have work to do. You may have to fix and paint your house to get it in sellable condition. If it needs updating it still may not get you the desired price, but it will sell. Homes that need a lot of work do not appeal to a buyer. Sometimes they have just done all this work to get their house sold and don’t want to do it again. They want a home in move-in condition.”
Rosemarie Averhoff, CRS
Broker Associate, e-PRO Certified Internet REALTOR
ABR Accredited Buyer Represenative
CRS Certified residential Specialist
CSP Certified New Homes Specialist
CSP – GRI – Certifed State Housing REALTOR
RE/MAX Metro Associates
7321 B St Andrews Rd.
Irmo SC 29063
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