Showing Your Home
First Impressions are Lasting Impressions. Print this Page
The exterior of your home often determines how buyers will view the interior, so:
- Make sure your front entrance is clean and inviting.
- Paint or replace your front door if it's faded or worn.
- Add some paint to shutters, trim and any other outside features showing signs of wear.
- Add vibrant plants and put down some fresh mulch.
Accentuate the Positive.
"How we live in a home and how we sell a home are often two different things." Sometimes once you have your home for sale, you may get a call from an agent asking if they can bring their buyers right over. In that case, keep this handy 9 Minute Showing Drill handy. Otherwise, as you get your house ready to show, try to see your home with a fresh perspective and repair any boo-boos to bring out its best features. Pay attention to such things as:
- Keeping windows, mirrors and floors clean.
- Repairing worn or dinged woodwork.
- Repaint scarred or dirty walls in a neutral color. (This includes that dark purple or bright blue wall you loved.)
- Steam clean carpeting or replace it, as necessary.
- Look for minor flaws, such as loose knobs, sticking doors, windows or cabinet drawers, broken light switches, etc. and repair them.
- Check and repair caulking in bathtubs and showers.
Try to see your home with a fresh perspective and arrange each room to bring out its best attributes, including:
- Remove all unnecessary clutter from your attic, basement and closets to better display spacious rooms (consider storage or a garage sale to dispose of extraneous items).
- Arrange all your rooms neatly and remove excess furniture. Keep fresh, clean towels in the bathroom. Use candles or air fresheners to make the room smell pleasant, but be aware of potential allergies - some people cannot go into a home that is perfumed. Perhaps bake a dozen frozen, ready made cookies just before showing. Yum!
You may have heard of "staging" a home. This is simply showing your home in its best light. You don't have to have your home professionally staged, but you should pay attention to the following:
- Generally, keep personal photos to a minimum. You want the potential buyers to be able to see themselves living in your home.
- Make your home seem welcoming, with little touches such as a throw arranged artfully on an ottoman, a bowl of fresh fruit in the kitchen, or fresh flowers on an end table. Beware of too fragrant of flowers, however. Some potential buyers may have allergies or asthma.
- Clear all unnecessary objects from furniture throughout the house. Keep decorative objects on the furniture restricted to groups of 1, 3, or 5 items, at most.
- Clear all unnecessary objects from the kitchen countertops. If your pantry or cupboards look crowded, consider boxing up lesser used items and put in storage while you readying your home for sale.
- Clear refrigerator fronts of messages, pictures, etc. (An uncluttered kitchen helps buyers mentally move their own things into your kitchen.)
- In the bathroom, remove any unnecessary items from countertops, tubs, shower stalls and commode tops. Keep only your most needed cosmetics, brushes, perfumes, etc., in one small group on the counter, or in a small, attractive basket. Coordinate towels to one or two colors only.
- Rearrange or remove some of the furniture if necessary. It is easy to accumulate too much furniture in a room, as you live in your home. This is wonderful for our personal enjoyment, but when it comes to selling, we need clear out extraneous furniture, to make rooms appear larger.
- Take down or rearrange certain pictures or object on walls. Patch and paint if necessary. (note: use neutral paint when repainting)
- Review the house inside room by room. Paint any room needing paint, clean carpets or drapes that need it, clean windows. A clean house is impressive - a cluttered or just dirty house, is a turn off.
- Leave on certain lights during the day. During "showings" turn on all lights and lamps.
- Have stereo FM on low, during the day for all viewings.
- Lockbox--#1 Importance: "If you don't have it, they won't show it."
- Trim landscaping to reveal architectural detail and to keep from looking overgrown.
- Go around the perimeter of the house and move all garbage cans, discarded wood scraps, extra building materials, etc., storing neatly in the garage.
- Check gutters and/or roof for dry rot. Make sure they are swept and cleaned.
- Look at all plants…prune bushes and trees. Keep the surrounding area free of weeds. Keep plants from blocking windows. Weed and then bark all planting areas. Keep lawn freshly cut and fertilized. Remove any dead or dying plants or shrubs.
- Clear patios or decks of all small items, such as miscellaneous small planters or flower pots, charcoal, small barbecues, toys, etc. (Store them neatly in the garage).
- Check paint condition of the house - especially the front door and trim. "Curb appeal is really a thing - and it works"
Basically this is all common sense. Try to look at your house through the buyer's eyes, as though you've never seen it or been in it before. Any time or money spent on these items will bring you back more money in return, and hopefully a faster sale.
Nine Minute Showing Drill
Occasionally you will receive a call to schedule a showing to take place within the next few minutes. The following is a checklist for this type of urgent situation:
- Sound: Turn off the television and tune the radio (low volume) to a soft rock, middle of the road or classic rock station.
- Sight: Turn on every light in the house (day or night) and open every drape and blind (day time only).
- Odors: Heat some frozen pastry slowly in the oven or heat a pan on the stove and then drop in a few drops of vanilla.
- Kitchen: Wipe kitchen counters, place dirty dishes in dishwasher.
- Bathrooms: Wipe counters, flush and close toilets.
- Living/Family Rooms: Hide magazines, newspapers, and games; remove clutter.
- Bedrooms: Straighten beds. Hide clutter under bed (not in closet).
- Exterior: Put away toys and clutter. Keep walk clear.
- Children & Pets: You love them - but they are a distraction to buyers, so send them outside.
- Goodbye: This is the single most important thing you can do in a showing to help sell your home! Buyers must get emotionally committed to your home to buy it and they cannot become emotional about "their new home" if you, the current owners, are hanging around. Please, at the very least, go into the backyard. Even better, pack up the kids and pets and run to the store or go to the park.