We cannot stress enough how important it is that you prepare both yourself and your home for your first week of showings! New listings generate a buzz with buyers, and you want to capitalize on that while your listing is fresh. Our goal is to get you a qualified buyer before the "newness" rubs off. To that end, we make these suggestions:
Get in the right mindset. You need to prepare yourself mentally for home showings. Clients who can think of themselves as managers of a home for sale, rather than owners, have an easier time. Try to think of the showings as a blessing that you have interested buyers, rather than an inconvenience or disruption of your lifestyle.
Prepare the outside of your home. You have to give buyers that warm fuzzy feeling before they ever enter your home. If they have a bad taste before even going inside, it will detract from their whole experience. It is crucial that you maximize your curb appeal:
Make sure your lawn is cut and edges trimmed at all times
Trim your bushes and trees
Put down fresh mulch
Clean up any debris like branches, leaves, and garbage in the ditches
Declutter. You may adore your garden gnome collection, but it might creep out a buyer!
If possible, put a fresh coat of paint on the front door - but make sure it looks professional!
Your windows should sparkle-inside and out!
Put out a new welcome mat
Add a couple of nice potted plants or flowers by the front door
If you have a front porch, consider putting out a couple of rocking chairs draped with a blanket
Power wash your driveway and sidewalks. You'd be surprised how much dirtier it probably is than you realize!
Check for--and remove--any birds' nests, spider webs, or wasps' nests. Most of us don't go into our home from our front door very much. You may be surprised by the critters who have moved in and claimed that space.
Make sure all exterior light bulbs are functioning
Check your mailbox. Is it crooked, dented, or dingy looking? If so, spruce it up or replace with a new one.
Seasonal concerns: if it's fall, make sure you sweep away leaves from the porch and walkways. If it's winter, make sure there's no ice. If it's spring, make sure you keep surfaces clean of settling pollen.
Make sure garbage cans are out of sight in the back yard or side of the house
Prepare the inside of your home. In addition to the repairs, updates, and decluttering we may have suggested prior to listing your home, you should do the following things before every showing:
Clean and put away all dirty dishes. No mugs or spoons in the sink. Try to keep the dishwasher empty (yes, they will look inside).
Clear off the kitchen counters as much as possible. Put away the toaster, the coffee maker, etc. You want your countertop space to look huge...not cluttered.
Put out fresh towels in the kitchen and bathrooms
Make sure the laundry is contained
Bathrooms should sparkle! Keep toilet lids down.
If you have wood floors, make sure they shine. Buy a floor polish if they look dingy...it'll work miracles!
Empty all garbage cans - kitchen, bathrooms, office, etc.
Turn on all the lights and lamps
If you have windows with a pretty view, open the blinds. If you have a bad view, keep them closed.
Make sure all kids' toys are put away in toy boxes and look organized.
Play some soft instrumental music in the background. Think "elevator music." You may love jazz, but the person coming in to see your home may hate it and leave early just to avoid the music.
Pets. Yes, we know they are a part of your family. Yes, they're adorable. But...
Many buyers who come in may be allergic or even afraid of animals.
Or if they are pet lovers themselves, they may be so distracted by your pets that they don't pay attention to your home. Remember, you are showcasing your home...not your pets.
If possible, make arrangements for the pets to stay elsewhere. If they must stay at home, make sure they are contained so that they cannot get loose during a showing. You want the agent showing your home to be able to focus on your home's features, not worried about tripping over Fido or Kitty.
We also recommend you air out your home for at least 30 minutes prior to a showing to help remove any pet odors. You may not smell anything, but people who don't have pets usually will.
Interacting with People. As a general rule of thumb, you should not be home during showings. It is a proven fact that buyers will not spend nearly as much time looking at a home if the owner is present; even if you are just waiting outside. However, if you MUST remain home, here are some tips:
Do not answer any questions by the potential buyer or their agent. Direct all inquiries to your listing agent. You might inadvertently say something that would harm your ability to negotiate.
Try to remain out of sight as much as possible.
If asked about the price of the home, always talk about "list price." Do not say "asking price." This implies that you are willing to take a lower offer.
If anyone else shows up during the showing, DO NOT allow them to come inside the home. It could be someone casing your home. Everyone who sees your home must have an appointment and be accompanied by an agent (either their own agent or us). Give them our business card and tell them that they will have to call us to schedule a showing.