When you show your home, you want to engage the buyer emotionally because the decision to buy is based more on emotions, and less on logic. Give the buyer permission to say, “Yes, I want to buy this home,” by staging, accentuating your home’s positive attributes, and do not draw any attention to the negative aspects.
Besides, there will be plenty of time after the deal is signed to talk about the drawbacks.
In many markets, it is customary for the buyer’s agent to tour a listing without the listing agent present, and they ask the seller to leave the house. If you are selling your home as a for sale by owner, though, you will need to show the home yourself. Here are tips for showing your home that engage all of the senses.
The Gracious Welcome
Although the buyer is a guest in your home, you want the buyer to imagine owning the home. You don’t want to make the buyer feel like an intruder.
Don’t expect the buyer to remove her shoes, unless you are selling to a buyer for whom religious or cultural reasons mandate it. Otherwise, the presumption might be insulting.
Leave the house. The buyer won’t talk about the house in front of you or open doors with you standing there.
Don’t pressure or hurry the buyer. Tell the buyer to take all the time that is needed.
Leave a bowl of wrapped candy or other treats near the front door with a small note thanking the buyer for coming to see your home.
Maximizing Interior Appeal
You want your home to look as spacious, bright and clean as possible. Also the home should look neutral – without a lot of your personal and sentimental objects – so buyers can begin to imagine living there.
Here are some tips to enhance your home’s interior appeal to buyers:
- Give every room in the house a thorough cleaning and remove all clutter. This alone will make your house appear bigger and brighter. Some homeowners with crowded rooms actually rent storage garages and move half their furniture out, creating a sleeker, more spacious look.
- Use a professional cleaning service every few weeks while the house is on the market.
- Remove the less frequently used, and even daily-used items from kitchen counters, closets, basement and attic to make these areas more inviting.
- Make sure that table tops, dressers and closets are free of clutter.
- Pay special attention to the kitchen and bathrooms: they should look as modern, bright and fresh as possible. It is essential for them to be clean and odor free.
- Repair dripping faucets and showerheads.
- Buy showy new towels for the bathroom, and put them out only for showings.
- Spruce up a kitchen in need of more major remodeling by installing new curtains and cabinet knobs, or applying a fresh coat of neutral paint.
- Clean walls and doors of smudges and scuff marks.
- If necessary, repaint dingy, soiled or strongly-colored walls with a neutral shade of paint, such as off-white or beige. The same neutral scheme can be applied to carpets and linoleum.
- Check for cracks, leaks and signs of dampness in the attic and basement, and fix any problem areas.
- Seal basement walls if there are any signs of dampness or leakage.
- Repair cracks, holes or damage to plaster, wallboard, wallpaper, paint and tiles.
- Replace broken or cracked windowpanes, moldings and other woodwork.
- Inspect and repair the plumbing, heating, cooling and alarm systems.
Maximizing Exterior and Curb Appeal
When preparing to put your home up for sale, your first concern is the home’s exterior. If the outside, or “curb appeal” looks good, people will more than likely want to see what’s on the inside.
Here are some tips to enhance your home’s exterior and curb appeal to buyers:
- Keep the lawn edged, cut and watered.
- Regularly trim hedges and weed lawns and flowerbeds.
- Be sure your front door area has a “Welcome” feeling.
- Paint the front door.
- In spring and summer, add a couple of pots of showy annuals near your front entrance.
- In snowy areas, keep walks neatly cleared of snow and ice.
- Check foundation, steps, walkways, walls and patios for cracks and deterioration, and fix any problem areas.
- Remove and repaint any peeling paint on doors and windows.
- Clean and align gutters.
- Inspect and clean the chimney.
- Repair and replace loose or damaged roof shingles.
- Repair and repaint loose siding and caulking.
- Reseal old asphalt.
- Keep the garage door closed.
- Store RVs and old cars elsewhere while the house is on the market.