The Five “UP’s A Seller Should Do Before Every Showing

5 Up's a seller should do before every showingYou were just notified that a potential buyer has made an appointment to view your home…now what?

TIDY UP! Now is not the time to do a deep cleaning of your home. Before your home ever hits the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), it should be scrubbed top to bottom. I’m talking the whole nine yards; everything dusted (don’t forget your lighting fixtures and ceiling fans!), showers & tubs free of mold and mildew, closets & garage organized, clutter removed, yard mowed & manicured, etc. All major/time consuming things to get your home “show ready” should already be done. Tidying the home should be quick and easy—and done every day before you leave your home for work or whatever activity you have planned for the day. You never know when an appointment will be made and you NEED your home to be ready to go at all times. You may not get much notice for the appointment and you do not want to turn buyers away. Make sure that there are no dirty dishes left in the sink. Put them in the dishwasher or wash them and put them away before you leave. Do not leave dirty clothes in sight. Be sure that they are in a hamper (preferably a hamper with a lid) and not left about the room. Put away your toiletries after you’ve used them, leaving the bathroom counters free of your personal items. No one wants to see what type of mouthwash you use or that you’re on meds for that cold you just came down with. Put the random papers and mail left on your desk in a drawer. Make all beds. Put away children’s toys. Buyers know that someone lives in the home—they aren’t expecting it to look vacant, but they are expecting the home to be neat. They can’t imagine themselves living in your home when your personal items are left all over the place.

LIGHTEN UP! Buyers want to walk in to a home that feels “home-y”. Leaving the home dark, with no lights on is never a good idea. TURN ON THE LIGHTS! According to The American Lighting Association, there are three types of lighting for a home. They are: ambient lighting, task lighting, and accent lighting. Ambient lighting is your general lighting. This includes your overhead lighting and wall lighting such as chandeliers, wall sconces, recessed lighting, exterior lighting, and track lighting. Having these lights on for your showing is not only important to show off the home, but it is important for the buyer(s) and their agent’s safety. You do not want anyone getting hurt in or around your home because they can’t see where they are going. Task lighting is simply that…lighting that allows you to do your tasks! Task lighting can be under-cabinet lighting used when preparing food, pendant lighting above a kitchen counter, desk and floor lamps to brighten a reading nook or work space. Leave these lights on to show off the workability and livability of your home. The final type of lighting is accent lighting. Accent lighting is the crowd pleaser of the group, used to show off the best features of your home. Whether this type of lighting is used to highlight your great landscaping or a unique wall texture such as brick or stone, this lighting should be on for your showing to make your house shine! The bottom line…turn on ALL of your lights for EVERY showing! In addition to leaving all of your lights on (and this is very important), open up your blinds and curtains. Natural light is key. Potential buyers want to see your home and it’s rooms in all their glory…all the lighting fixtures in the world cannot compare with natural light. Sunlight makes rooms feel light & airy, more open and larger. It is no secret that the effects of natural light on the human psyche are positive! Sunlight gives off vitamin D, i.e. good vibes to the brain! By opening your blinds and curtains, you are not only showing off that great view and making your room feel more open, you are giving the buyer a positive feeling when they walk in to your home!

FRESHEN UP! Have you ever walked in to a home that had strong odor? I’m sure that it wasn’t a great experience and I can assure you, it won’t be a great one for the buyer either.  Pet odors are dreadful and you may not even smell them as you are the pet owner and you live in the house. If you aren’t sure if a pet odor is present, ask a friend, relative or neighbor that doesn’t have pets to walk in your home and let you know if they smell anything. If they do, you need to do something about it. There are special carpet deodorizers made specifically for pet odors—use them. If that doesn’t do the trick, have the carpets & rugs steam cleaned. People who are allergic to cats or dogs may walk in to your home and turn right around and walk out if they get a whiff of your pet. Take care of it. Do not, I repeat, do not cook a meal the night before that will leave strong smell. Salmon and curry are major culprits and they are difficult to get rid of. No one should walk in your home and immediately know what you had the night before for dinner. Be careful when choosing your supper that you aren’t cooking anything that will leave a strong odor lingering around. Smoking is the worst offender of all. If you smoke or have smoked in your home, the smell is there. Simple or easy quick fixes like opening a window will not work. The smoke has permeated your curtains, rugs, linens, carpet…everything. To rid your home of that smell, you will more than likely need to take drastic measures prior to the home being put on the market, including painting the entire house—ceilings and all—and replacing carpet. Sorry, but there really is no way of getting the smell of tobacco out with a quick fix. When buyers step in to a home, it should smell good. Smells like clean linen or lemons are great—gives a feeling of freshness. The smell of baked goods gives off a “home-y” feel. Don’t have time to bake? Buy a candle that gives off the scent of fresh baked cookies or pies and light it an hour or two before the showing (I wouldn’t suggest leaving it lit during the showing, just in case). If you can’t do any of these things via air fresheners, scented candles, carpet deodorizers, or plug-in wall fresheners, then simply clean your home. The smell of cleaning supplies and furniture polish will give the buyer the feeling that your home is well-cared for. The sense of smell is the strongest, most immediate way to invoke a feeling in a person. You want that feeling to be a positive one from the moment they walk in the door.

SET IT UP! …and by “Set it Up”, I mean set the mood. Go the extra mile, it will pay off! Remember those freshly baked cookies that you made to make the house smell yummy? How about leaving them out on the kitchen counter along with a few plates, some napkins and a note to the buyer saying “Welcome Home, Please Enjoy!”? Believe it or not, this works! You want to convey a feeling to the buyer that you appreciate them viewing your home. This is one sure way to do it! Buyers appreciate the gesture, feel welcomed and want to work with someone who wants to work with them. Another way to put them at ease and create a relaxing environment is to have music playing when they’re there to see the property. Nothing very loud, nothing with lyrics. Soft jazz or orchestral music sets a tone of peace and relaxation. Music can also drown out the sounds of noisy street traffic, your neighbor’s barking dog or the construction going on across the street.

UP AND LEAVE! This may be the most important tip of all. No excuses, you MUST follow this. In fact, think of this as a rule, not a tip. When you get the notification that there is a showing scheduled, LEAVE THE HOME DURING THE APPOINTMENT…ALWAYS. Trust me when I say that your presence makes the buyer uncomfortable. The buyer needs to be free to express themselves to their agent about your home—the good and the bad aspects of it. They will not do that if you’re there. They will rush through your home because they feel like they are inconveniencing you. They will not take the time to check out the extra storage space you have, admire your intricate landscaping or notice the crown molding and new backsplash you just added. They will run through your home like the place is on fire…just leave. I realize that you think your home is amazing and I am sure that it is. I also realize that you may want to tell the buyer how fantastic the neighborhood is and give them all of the information that, unfortunately, we agents can’t fit in your listing. I get it. Sadly, buyers do not. They will be annoyed, they will hurry through your home and most importantly, they will not write an offer.  You will accomplish exactly what you are trying to avoid which is wasting your time (and theirs) and NOT get your home sold. This may seem harsh, but I’m telling you this for your own good. GET OUT.

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