Susanne Rae Lopez, Esq's Blog
Although your real estate agent will do the lion's share of the work involved in selling your home, there are several things you, the homeowner, can do to help move things along.
By making sure your home is always ready to be shown at a moments notice to prospective buyers, you will be helping to "tip the scales" in the direction of a faster sale. Since making a great first impression is crucial to the sales process, it's important that your home always looks its best -- both inside and out. Here are a few tips to keep in mind when you decide to put your home on the market.
Order versus chaos: Every time your real estate agent sets up a showing of your house, it's an opportunity to attract and engage potential buyers. When your house and property look organized, clean, and well cared for, it sends a series of positive messages to prospects.
Admittedly, it can be a little bit of a hassle to keep your house looking (and smelling) immaculate all the time, but doing so can definitely work in your favor when it comes to making a great impression and getting your house sold faster.
To the extent that it's possible, try to eliminate or significantly reduce anything that could be described as "clutter." Clutter can include anything from excessive furniture and wall hangings to knick-knacks on your shelves and too many containers on kitchen countertops.
The ultimate effect you want to achieve is one of spaciousness, tastefulness, and organization. Anything which detracts from those desirable qualities could potentially work against you. As the classic 1980s TV commercial for a well-known dandruff shampoo reminds us: "You never get a second chance to make a first impression!"
Remember curb appeal: Actually the real first impression happens before prospective buyers even enter your home or step on your property. In many cases, it occurs before they even get out of their cars!
Making sure your house and property look as impeccable as possible from the street can help attract potential buyers and put them in a more receptive state of mind. Maintaining a manicured, clutter-free lawn, highlighted by a few splashes of floral color, can be an effective way to create eye-appeal and make a positive first impression.
One thing home sellers are either unaware of or forget about is the fact that prospective buyers sometimes do a preliminary "drive by" before picking up the phone and calling your (or their) real estate agent to schedule a showing. If they do not like what they see from their car, they probably are not going to take the next step and arrange a full tour of your home.
When you come to the realization that every person who drives by or visits your home is a potential buyer, you'll be more motivated to take care of the many details that either attract of send away prospective buyers.
Although location is one of the most important factors that will impact the marketability of your home, it's not the only thing prospective buyers are thinking about.
If they're organized, focused, and serious about finding the right property for their needs, they've probably developed a detailed checklist of "must haves" and a "wish list."
In all likelihood, those who are working with a real estate agent are being shown properties that conform to their requirements and many of their wish-list items. A comprehensive list would include everything from the number of bedrooms and bathrooms they want to square footage and the quality of the school district.
Many people also have specific preferences about features like floor plans, amount of storage space, the size of the backyard, architectural style, and the availability of a fireplace, patio, porch, deck, eat-in kitchen, two-car garage, and privacy features. Some are even looking for the traditional white picket fence in front of the house!
While your home can't be "all things to all people," it is highly recommended to target the widest possible audience. Your agent, a home staging consultant, or a home decorator can provide you with valuable tips on how to achieve that outcome.
Stand Out and Get Noticed
Just looking good on paper, though, is not always enough to attract motivated buyers. Prospects need to love what they see and be inspired to envision themselves living in your house. Doing what you can to create irresistible curb appeal is one vital aspect of making a great first impression. A manicured lawn, a fresh coat of paint (if needed), and some strategic home staging -- inside and out -- can make all the difference in your results!
Curb appeal is vitally important because that sets the stage, so to speak, for creating high expectations in your prospects. Once you get them in a positive frame of mind, they'll be more inclined to notice all the positive aspects of your home. If your house meets all or most of their requirements and is arranged in a way that's pleasing to them, a purchase offer and negotiations may be right around the corner.
One of the most crucial hurdles to clear in getting prospects to consider buying your house is to help them imagine living, relaxing, raising a family, and pursuing their interests in your home. Your real estate agent can help you effectively stage the interior and exterior of your home to make it inviting and appealing to the widest range of potential buyers.
You can support their sales and marketing efforts by making sure your home is always clean, fresh smelling, and ready to be shown at a moment's notice to house hunters. Doing your best to eliminate clutter, keeping counter tops neat, and making sure pets are on their best behavior (or happily frolicking at the local "doggie daycare" center) can play a key role in winning over interested buyers and successfully selling your home!