Importance of Showings
One of the most common things that gets overlooked by some listing agents as well as sellers is the ease of showings.
Overview- Showing your property is just as important as marketing it – the easier it is to show, the more buyers will see it, and more buyers usually equals higher price and faster sale. If you still live in the property this will usually involve a bit of a trade-off. What is more convenient for buyers is often less convenient for the seller.
Agents- Some agents simply do not understand this concept and how important it is to discuss with a seller while taking a new listing. Occasionally agents will deliberately make properties they list difficult or even impossible to show in order to try and sell it on their own so they can “double dip” the commission. Buyer’s agents will usually make one or more attempts to show a property, if those attempts are unsuccessful, they will often skip over it and show the properties that they can. If your property is difficult for agents to show, it is only helping your competition. Considering the amount of properties available on the market, if they are not showing your property, that means they are showing other’s.
The buyer- First impressions are very important and will taint everything else the buyer sees after that first impression. If you have a yard, try to keep it nice. Make sure the front door is clean and in good repair. After that, the first thing the buyers see (and smell) when they walk in will influence everything else they observe as they look through the home.
Presentation- Let the best parts of your home shine. A little decluttering, cleaning and even some paint can do wonders for the presentation of the home. Smells are a big deal too. Pet odors can be a real turn off – fresh air or cookies in the oven can do wonders. If you are home when buyers show up, turn on all the lights. You can make yourself available for questions, but give the buyers plenty of space to look on their own (with their agent) and discuss the property privately. Usually, the longer they are there, the better. In most cases, it’s best to let them look around on their own (you can even step outside for some fresh air), then be available before they leave to answer any questions. If they’re interested, they will usually have some.
Pets- If you have pets, especially dogs – even friendly ones, try to keep them away from the buyers. Some people are dog lovers, but not everybody. In fact some people are outright scared of them. Hostile barking dogs, or overly friendly dogs who like to jump all over visitors in delight, especially big dogs, can be all it takes to scare off an otherwise good buyer.
The little things- If buyers have a positive experience with your home, it will stand out and they will be willing to pay more for it. At the same time, even minor problems often translate into buyers willing to pay much less than the problems would actually cost to fix. Taking care of the small stuff up front almost always pays back much more than the cost or trouble to handle them in the first place.
Here are a few simple things that can be done to freshen up a home space and help it appeal to the most potential buyers;
• Clean it. Clean tile floors and grout. Do the best you can with carpeting to freshen it up. Laminate and wood floors can be detailed if needed.
Hide it. You don’t want to hide real problems to mislead buyers, and you should always disclose any real problems, but there are many simple things you can do to improve obvious cosmetic issues. Dirty or chipped wall corners can be covered with corner molding (usually plastic) that not only covers the problem but prevents future wear and tear. Have an uneven wall? Try putting some paintable wall paper over it that will smooth out and hide minor dents and dings.
• Move it. Rearrange your furniture, lamps rugs and accessories. You may find a more functional way to set up your home and the fresh approach will be noticed by buyers as well.
• Organize it. Clutter happens. The longer we live in a place, the more stuff we tend to accumulate. Having too much in a home makes it seem smaller, disorganized and makes it more difficult for buyers to envision themselves in the space. Try to organize everything and remove anything that is not positively contributing to the functionality and usefulness of the space. In general, the cleaner and simpler the interior of your home, the better.
• Replace it. There are many simple things around your home that can be inexpensively replaced, but can make a big and positive impression overall. Cabinet handles, switch plates and other small pieces of housing hardware, toilet seats and inexpensive but modern looking quick connect faucets can give your home a cheap makeover that make it look updated and cared for.
• Plant it. Houseplants are an often undervalued design item that can add texture, warmth, color and freshness to any room. Just drop plants in their original store containers into decorative planters. They can be easily moved around and larger ones can make an entire statement on their own. Grouping different plants together can have a dramatic effect, but make sure to toss out any scraggly ones.
• Light it. Lighting has a dramatic impact on a home’s look and feel. Generally, when showing property the brighter the better, but there may be some rooms that need a special ambiance and can be lit accordingly. Natural light is always great and should be taken advantage of whenever possible. Dingy, dark homes are depressing and will usually leave a negative impact on buyers.
• Paint it. Paint is one of the easiest and most cost-effective ways to make a big change to a home. A fresh coat of paint can make an old house look brand new. Softer, more neutral colors are best if you’re painting to sell your home. More profound colors can be used in powder rooms, dining rooms and children’s bedrooms – but lighter, more neutral colors should be used in the living areas. Save white for the trim or exterior.