I just read a news story about an office worker who is suing a co-worker for wearing a strong perfume to which she is having allergic reactions. The offending gal also uses plug-in scented air fresheners at her desk. The allergic gal has been suffering from terrible headaches, and the other gal will not give up her perfume. I can identify, because I too have allergic reactions to some perfumes.
The reason I bring this up is because this time of year, especially, many people fill their homes with scented candles and sprays, and they spray perfumes and colognes on themselves and their clothing when they prepare to go out for holiday parties. Some of those folks are trying to sell their homes, and potential buyers (as well as agents who may have an interest in showing the property to their clients) may find all of these scents offensive and they may even be sickened by them - even though they are perfectly nice fragrances.
If you are marketing your home this holiday season, your chances of finding someone who will fall in love with it are greatly increased if you remember a few things:
1. Be very sparing with perfumes and fragrances. One bottle of essential oil with bamboo sticks can infuse your entire home with a subtle aroma. Although it may not seem as "Christmasy", a light vanilla fragrance is probably the best to make your home fresh without affecting so many allergies. And if you are a smoker, it may be helpful for you tl restrict your smoking to the back yard until the home is sold.
2. While on the subject of scents, remember that the holidays can be stressful for your pets, and may trigger "accidents" that would not otherwise occur, or bouts or diarrhea. The best behaved dog or cat will sometimes become overexcited or nervous, and you should do what you can to keep them calm. It is best to have them gone, if possible, for any showings. If you must lock your dog in the garage during a showing, be sure to put a note on the garage door to alert the agent and prospect not to open that door.
3. We all look forward to decorating our homes with trees, lights, stars, snowmen and Santas, but when potential buyers tour you home, you will want them to focus on the wonderful features of your home and not on how pretty your tree is or your cute snowman. Some decorations will brighten your home and put buyers in a good mood, but cut your normal decor in half while your home is on the market.
4. A Christmas tree will crowd your home to some degree, and you may have to remove a few pieces of your regular furniture. Buyers are interested in large comfortable rooms and will want to imagine their furniture fitting in your home. If the house looks too crowded, it will seem smaller than it actually is, and buyers may not feel their things will fit.
5. When you are expecting a showing, go through the house and turn on all lights so your home will look bright, cheery and welcoming. And if you usually like your home a bit chilly, turn the thermostat up just a couple of degrees until after the showing.
6. I don't recommend lighting a wood fire in the fireplace if you will be leaving the house, but if you have an insert or other safer fireplace, and if you will be gone only minutes, you might want to have a welcoming fire. If you will not have a fire, please be sure that the fireplace is cleared of ashes.
7. Since winter weather means that trees are not as leafy, flowers are not blooming and skies are gray, your home might not feel as cozy. Brighten it up with a couple of red throw pillows on the couch, a red tablecloth or place mats on the table, and a few subtle touches of red i nthe other rooms. Nothing overwhelming, but enough to make your rooms seem warmer and cozier.
8. As usual, watch out for clutter. If you have collections, you may want to pack them up until your home is sold. Once you sell and move, you will need to pack them up anyway. This will give the appearance of more romminess in your home, and will keep your prospects focused on the architecture and not your personal items. Also, this will help to protect them from breakage while people are touring your home. The same thing goes for family photos. I once previewed a home for a buyer client where the sellers had 47 framed photos of their wedding on display! I showed it to my buyer anyway, and sure enough - she was so fascinated by counting the wedding pictures that she couldn't remember much of anything else about the house. She counted 48, so she must have spotted a couple that I missed.
9. If you have presents under the tree, it may be best if you keep the smallest and most expensive ones stashed in a dresser drawer or somewhere safe. Most people are honest, but it is better to be safe than sorry. All Realtors I know are sensitive to this, and will do their best to see that their clients behave themselves in your home, but just keep this in mind anyway. Keep in mind that buyers will look in your closets to check their size and features, but have no business looking in your dressers or other furniture that will not be sold with the house.
10. Have a wonderful holiday season. The economy this year has everyone more stressed than usual, so find moments to relax and have some quiet time every day - even if it's just a few minutes. Please understand that none of these tips are meant to upset anyone or hurt your feelings, but are simply tips which may help you to sell your home more quickly and at a better price.