Once your house is listed you can expect me as well as other Realtors to start showing your home to prospective buyers. When your home is shown, you want to engage the buyer emotionally, since the decision to buy a home is based more on emotions than on logic. Give the buyer a reason to say “YES!” by accentuating your home’s positive attributes and do not draw attention to the negative aspects.
The Gracious Welcome
You want the buyer to imagine themselves living in your home. Remove family pictures from the walls so they don’t feel they are invading someone else’s home. Make sure the home is spotless and tidy. Nobody likes clutter, so get rid of extra items that you might find cozy, but the buyer might find cluttering.
Never, ever be home for a showing. Make sure your kids are not home from school hanging out in the bedroom. You want your buyers to feel comfortable walking around, not pressed because they are taking up someone else’s time and space. Give them all the time they need to see your home, especially if they are there for a second showing.
Check the Temperature
Now is not the time to worry about your utility bill. You want your guests to feel welcome and comfortable. If it’s cold enough to wear a sweater, turn up the heat! If it is warm outside, turn on the A/C. You want your buyer to linger at your home, enjoying their visit. They can’t do this if they are freezing or perspiring.
TIP: If possibly, warm or cool your house 1-2 degrees above or below normal right before the showing. This way the HVAC unit is not running while the buyers are visiting. Some HVAC units are noisy!
Create a Mood
You want to create a mood of comfortable ambiance in your home. Play soft background music. LIght a fire in the fireplace if appropriate. Place champagne glasses on a table. Place fresh flowers on the counter and fresh fruit in a fruit bowl. Have a plate of fresh baked cookies available for your guests, along with a note to help themselves. You want buyers to feel at home in your home.
TIP: If you leave food, don’t forget paper plates, cups, and utensils, if needed. And leave a waste receptacle out in plain sight.
Be Careful with the Scent
Many people are allergic to certain scents and deodorizers, so don’t spray the air or plug in air fresheners unless you must. Don’t burn candles or incense for the same reason. If weather and noise permits, open the windows. DO put out fresh baked cookies or breads or other yummy, great smelling snacks.
Light it Up
You want your home to feel light, airy and inviting, not dark and brooding. So turn on every light in the house prior to leaving for the showing. Turn on bedside lamps, open some windows, pull back the drapes. Light means invite. Make sure and use bright daylight balanced light bulbs, not the dingy soft yellow ones. Turn off the TV and left the soft music set the mood.
Soft sensuous fabrics encourage buyers to have a seat, touch the chairs, and feel at home. Place silk throws over arm chairs, and a nice luxurious sheepskin on the back of the sofa. Leave room doors slightly ajar. If you have carpeting, vacuum in one direction for an even, clean look.
Provide Thoughtful Cards
Attach printed cards to items in your rooms that provide further information the buyer might miss or not know. For example, if you have an antique chandelier in your dining room, put a card on it that discloses its age and other important details. If you have removed the washer and dryer from the laundry room, attach a card to the wall describing the room. If you offer a carpet allowance with the sale, leave a note on the counter explaining this fact. If there is a park nearby where children play, make a note of it. A “fast facts” sheet on the kitchen counter helps remind the buyer of why you like the home and area so much.
Encourage Buyer Feedback
The feedback you receive from buyers is invaluable as a seller. You can learn what works, what doesn’t, how your pricing compares to others, and other important tidbits of information that can help you in the future. Buyers feel obligated to respond to your request after being fed. Leave a short, simple questionnaire, no more than 5 questions. Allow buyers anonymity.
Stage Your Home
If you don’t have time to do your own staging, hire a professional stager to prep your home for sale. They are impartial third parties and can help you maximize the look and ambience of your home, often using existing materials and furniture you already own.
As we all know, first impressions are important. Your buyer will be seeing dozens of homes, and if you go above and beyond what most sellers do in your home showing, your buyer will see your home in a much more favorable light and will think of you as a courteous, conscientious homeowner. You will immediately begin to earn their trust and this will often pay off in any future negotiations to purchase your home. A little kindness and forethought goes a long ways!