A successful home showing is all about creating the right first impression, then reinforcing it enough that buyers are motivated to take action right now. Plan your upcoming home showings with these “No’s” in mind!
1. Don’t Do Cursory Comparables
Busy as you are, it makes all the difference to do solid research on your comparables and the neighborhood/area in general. Failing do to so might cause your well-intended owner to, for example, invest in upgrades like granite counter tops, new floors or landscaping and never make that money back if the surrounding homes aren’t at that level.
2. Don’t Set the Price Too High
Your client may want to see if they can get more than you advise… it’s human nature. To come to the right price, utilize your comparables to help them see that their house will only bring what the current market will bear. Whether renting or selling, it can help to go over our posts with them, ie: How to Determine Fair Market Value in Military Markets and Comparing Market Values. Impress upon them that the wrong price can cause the property to sit open for months, and the open houses to be minimally attended.
If they want to set it higher anyway, make a deal that if they don’t get any bites in the first two weeks, they’ll drop it to the price you recommend — and if you’ve done your homework they should begin to see buyer interest.
3. Don’t Leave Little Things Undone
When it comes to home repairs, it’s tempting to overlook the little things and attend to the bigger picture, especially if your clients are on a tight budget. But a buyer will notice – and if it doesn’t deter them, it will serve them in bargaining down. Or you may just lose them to wondering what worse disrepair lurks behind these smaller, more obvious things that weren’t attended to. Walk through the house with a detailed eye and list of everything to fix. If your client hasn’t the time or skill, refer an affordable handyman so they can get it done.
4. Don’t Skimp on Staging
The first impression does makes all the difference — and far from cliche, you really only have once chance to make it. So it’s important to do more than putting a bowl of lemons in the kitchen, a spray of flowers on a table and a candle in the loo of a house that’s been neatened up. You can go all out by having a professional bring in complete furnishings and accents, or do something in-between – setting the table with wonderful dishes, putting brand new hand, bath and kitchen towels throughout, bringing in interest, texture, and color with pillows and throws on couches, armchairs and beds… and yes, you can still bake cookies or bread, light candles and put on low jazzy music in the background. Be sure to let in the all possible light, creating space everywhere you can. Uncover anything that adds value, like great floors.
And don’t forget to stage the outdoors — the very definition of making a first impression! Curb appeal is all important, so assess the yard, driveway, front walk, front door, any sitting or play areas, the lighting, paint and gardens with a discerning eye. Read our article, Ten Easy Ways to Improve Curb Appeal, for specific tips.
4. Don’t Have Owners at a Showing
While this is fairly well known, it’s worth repeating. As well meaning owners chime in, hoping to help it increases the outside risk, they may end up saying something that will hurt your sale… Details that mislead a buyer, inaccuracies regarding the condition of the house, and stories that are meant to charm can all go awry. I had an once owner tell me, a prospective buyer, that their place was “infested” by deer and added in detail how they ate everything she tried to grow in her garden. Another mentioned seeing a bear on the front porch more than once. I practically went screaming out of the house. This really needs to be kept top of mind for yourself if you’re showing a property you own.
5. Don’t Let Pets Drive Buyers Away
While sometimes it just can’t be avoided, beware: having pets in the home you’re showing can adversely affect a potential buyer/renter, even if the pets aren’t running free. Some people are afraid of animals, others are allergic in varying severity or just don’t love them… Even if you’re showing the home to animal lovers, pets can introduce noise, scents and obstruct a tidy home from staying presentable. As much as they’re family members, it’s really in to the advantage of the seller to have their pets out of the house for a showing.
AHRN’s blog is a great resource for you, full of articles that expand these points and more, like our post called Prepare Your Home for Sale. Forwarding some of these articles are great way to educate or motivate your sellers. So be sure to use our search mode or scroll through our categories to see what’s most helpful.
Meet Your Contributor:
Rochelle Joseph is a Writer and Image and Marketing Consultant who has had experience marketing, renting, buying and selling her properties for over 20 years. She has written and edited for several publications, including the Boston Book Review, The Emerson Review, ZooBorns.com, WildLife Magazine, the Houston Zoo, The Wildlife Center of Texas, One Spirit Interfaith Seminary as well as AHRN.com. She currently writes at her great gifts blog at http://lookyhereu.blogspot.com and her animal blog at http://naturegirrrl.blogspot.com