Monday, February 8, 2010

10 Ways to Impress Buyers at Every Showing

1. Nothing Personal But Remove Personal Photos:
Many clients are distracted by portraits of the sellers, and miss out on key selling points of the home. No matter how nice the display, personal photos are just that: too personal.

2. Accentuate the Positive:
My clients usually know what they like best about their home. It's usually what they saw that made them want to buy, or it's something that they added to make the home particularly special. Whether it is a staircase, a great view from the kitchen sink, a pergola or outdoor kitchen, do something to make the buyers linger in that space.

3. Smells Like Home:
I've heard of many Realtor bringing in cookies to bake in the oven (this works great at the Parade of Homes but it's hard to keep up with the cookies!). I usually opt for a few plug-in air fresheners. I like using vanilla or lemon in the kitchen, fresh scents in the laundry, apple cinnamon in the living room and such. Specific aromas add a theme to the tour, even when it's not an open house.

4. Hide Your Opinions:
Avoid politically-charged material that expresses strong opinions. You don't want a potential buyer to dislike you for your beliefs, so remove all questionable material out of sight. That even means your Oklahoma Sooners or Oklahoma State Cowboys items!

5. Clean Up Your Act:

If you are selling your house, cleaning is a no-brainer. And clutter is a killer. Get a head start on packing, and begin boxing up extras that are taking up space on your mantel, table surfaces, etc. Clutter makes a house look smaller, and if you have a small house, it makes it feel claustrophobic. Not advantageous to a quick or profitable sale.

6. Embrace the Quietude:
When showing a home, music is not necessarily a bad thing. If you don't know the potential buyer and their taste in music, don't push yours. If you are going to play music, be sure it doesn't have vocals. Avoid niche music; not everyone loves Metallica or Lady Ga Ga. If you are set on having music playing in the background for viewings, opt for soft jazz playing at a low level. Unless you have the music-only channels, keep the television turned off. It’s a distraction.

7. Paint the Story:
A coat or two of paint is always a good investment. If you decide to make the effort, consider flat paint in areas for resting and relaxing. You can add some colors, but neutral is always best. Satin paint is great for common areas and places where there is a bit more action taking place. It's also easier to clean if someone spills some tomato soup on the wall.

8. Pet-Proof the Pad
If you have pets, especially indoor pets, make sure that during your listing period, you are particularly fastidious in cleaning up after them. Ask a very good friend (or your Realtor), who will tell you the truth, to come by and give it the sniff test. Also, if you have pets and are trying to sell your home, the purchase of a few air purifiers may also be a great investment. Consider buyers with pet allergies. Cat's will really hurt buyer potential!

9. Show Off the Goods:
Consider placing laser-printed cards on items that remain with the home. Such things could include high-end appliances, mounted flat-screen tv's, laundry chutes, built-in sound systems and other goodies. These inexpensive cards are an under-utilized way to bring attention to such selling features. Don't overdo it though; no more than 5-10 cards in an average-sized home. Be sure to lock up or take jewelry/prescription drugs and other valuables with you.

10. Leave Your House!:
No buyers want to discuss your home while you are standing there. On average, my clients spend about 20-30 minutes in a home that has some promise; very few stay more than 5 minutes in a house with the seller in earshot. If nothing else, go drive around the neighborhood, and let the home speak for itself.