Before showing the house
When a potential buyer looks at your house, there are many small details that will make strong first impressions. Make sure they are strong GOOD first impressions!
Fix up minor defects
Do a bit of cleaning up and painting. It could make the difference between a home that is appealing and one that has to be "sold." It's easier to show how beautiful your home IS, than to tell a buyer how nice it COULD look when this or that minor repair has been made. A small amount of time and money invested in "sprucing up" could pay off. A sticking closet door, a loose door knob, a leaky faucet all these aggravate potential buyers, make them wonder about other problems make them look harder for other things that may not be in working order. You can try to tell buyers how easy and inexpensive it will be to make a repair (and hope they will believe you), or you can make the repair yourself and prevent any disillusionment that could impede a sale. Touch up paint that has peeled from gutters, around windows. Touch up storm or screen doors. Keep lawn cut, leaves raked, shrubs trimmed, garage arranged in an orderly manner. How does the driveway look? (A fews hours spent re-sealing may help a lot.) First impressions start at the curb and continue as the prospect walks to the house.
Lighting is important
A bright, cheerful atmosphere will make your home look more appealing and will put the potential buyer into a more relaxed frame of mind. Open the drapes, pull up the shades during the day. Turn on the lights in all rooms for a nighttime showing. Make each room look as bright and cheery as you can. Let the buyer know that you have nothing to hide. Basements will look bigger, brighter, if the walls are freshly painted.
Remove items that could trip or cause a visitor to stumble or otherwise injure himself. Make an inspection of the house from top to bottom noting anything that could be a potential hazard to life or limb. Tack down edges of carpeting or other floor covering, tighten loose handrails, stair treads, etc. (Even if you're not really thinking seriously about selling, why not make that safety inspection now? You'll be protecting yourself, your family, your guests!)
Clean out closets
Closets look smaller than they really are when items are not hung carefully, stacked neatly. Straighten up those closets, disposing of unwanted items, before showing the house. Bathrooms sell houses! A bit of extra scrubbing, replacement of leaky faucet washers, and checking and repairing bathtub caulking can go a long way toward making the sale. Potential buyers get a feeling for the way the entire house has been maintained by the condition of the bathrooms.
Make the buyer feel at home
Avoid anything that will make potential buyers feel that they are "intruding" or disturbing your family. (if they feel they are intruding, they'll make a hasty inspection and leave feeling that they haven't really seen enough.) The TV should be turned off and family activities kept at a minimum during the showing. The fewer of you around during an inspection the better. You should fairly "disappear" make yourself quite invisible and leave the "selling" to your salesperson. That's their business. That's what you're paying them for. Pets should be confined or, better yet, off the premises during the showing. People who don't like dogs and cats would rather not see them living in the house they're going to buy. People who do like them, will probably be "sold" on the cute little doggy . . . but fail to pay attention to the house itself! This may help sell the dog. It won't help sell the house!
First things first
Do not discuss such things as the sale of items of furniture or appliances with potential buyers before they are "sold" on the house. You may end up selling neither. Let your sales representative sell! You will be contributing to the success of the showing by staying in the background as much as possible during the showing. The sales representative finds out what the buyer needs and wants before showing the house. That knowledge will be used to show the buyer how your house fits their needs.
Show only by appointment
Because the professional real estate salesperson can do the best selling job with any client, be sure that all potential buyers arrange to see the house only by appointment made through your sales representative. Don't show the house privately. The sale must ultimately be made through the listing real estate firm, so why not let them do the work? Besides, you may lose a potential sale by not show ing the house properly not knowing just what the buyer is looking for. There are many more things that we can do for you to help make your home-selling experience a pleasant and successful one.