We were out showing homes and began wondering why so many occupied homes are not properly prepared for showings. The sellers knew we were going to show their home several hours in advance and yet most of them were not "show-ready" when we arrived.
What is "show-ready"? Here's a little background before we answer the question.
Homes sell on either emotion or price. Homes that create emotion with buyers sell faster and at a higher price. Many sellers hire a professional stager to help create that warm and inviting atmosphere. While professional staging is a great idea, we've seen staged homes that would look even better if they were "show-ready."
Most sellers know in advance that their home will be showing. When you get that call, it's almost show time! Have a plan of action to get your home in show-ready shape:
• Open all the blinds and turn on all the lights including the garage and walk-in attic. Homes that are light and bright appear larger and more inviting. If you have ceiling fans, turn them all on low.
• Have some soft music playing. If you have a media room, leave a movie playing with the sound turned down low.
• Scents are important to creating emotion. In years past, we would leave a drop of vanilla on a light bulb. When the agent turned on the light, the heat would release the vanilla fragrance into the air. Times have changed and now we can simply purchase small air fresheners. While some fragrance is good, too much can be overpowering. If you can, burn a candle until you have to leave. Candles often smell more natural than the artificial air fresheners.
• If you have time, run the vacuum cleaner over the carpets. Buyers notice when the carpets look like nobody has walked on them.
• While you may love your pets, many people are afraid of them and they often get in the way. Taking your pet with you during the showing is the best idea. Some dogs are crate-trained and sit quietly in their crate. However, there's nothing more annoying than listening to a dog bark the whole time you're viewing a home.
• Don't be there when the agent and buyers arrive. It's awkward and makes the buyers uncomfortable. Buyers want to be able to peek into closets and kitchen cabinets. They want to be able to discuss what they like and don't like with their agent and each other. If you're there, it will be a short showing! Leave the selling to the agent.
Many sellers assume the showing agent will arrive ahead of time to get the home show-ready. If I'm only showing one home, I often arrive early and get the lights on. However, if I'm showing 10 homes, I have the buyers with me and we both walk in at the same time for that important first impresion.
Buyers decide in the first 60 seconds if they like the home. Get your home show-ready and make the most of that minute!