Home Selling, Key 3, Easiest to See
In a previous post I wrote, 4 Keys to Selling your Home Quickly and for Top Dollar, I mentioned that the first key is being the Best Looking home in your price category. The second key is being the Best Marketed. For this post we need to discuss making your home the Easiest to See.
Easiest to see can mean various things, for me it comes down to Easy to Schedule, Easy to Recognize and Easy to Navigate.
Now if your home is vacant, it doesn’t get much easier. A well staged vacant home is the easiest to show and can often sell quickly. For most sellers however they need to sell in order to buy the next home. How do you manage showings while still having a life?
Easy to Schedule. In Washington, a buyer’s agent will have a “Phone to Show” posted on the listing. This can be a home, cell or the listing broker’s contact. Some sellers want the listing broker to handle the calls, but in most cases I discourage this. Unless we’ve discussed your schedule at length, I don’t always know when you or a family member will be there and this can add a layer of complexity that may be best avoided. Preferably the Phone to show should be someone who generally knows and manages the household schedule for themselves and everyone else.
When the call comes in, “we’d like to show your home to our buyers, will Tuesday between 2:00 and 3:00 work for you?” The person answering should be able to give a quick yes/no or what about 3:30 answer.
Ideally that call comes for a Tuesday showing on Monday, but what about the call that asks, “we’re in the neighborhood and pulled your flyer, can my buyer tour your home now?” While this can be difficult, whenever a Licensed Broker (with a Supra device) asks, you should try to accommodate. If necessary, ask them to come back in 10 or 20 minutes to allow you to do a quick clean up. If you limit showings, you will have limited showings, which results in limited interest which creates limited or low offers.
DO NOT LET UNACCOMPANIED BUYERS IN YOUR HOME. I don’t mean to yell, but I care about your safety as well as selling your home. If someone without an agent wants to see it, ask them to call their agent to set up an appointment. If they seem insistent, you have a few choices. You can call me; if I’m available, I will try and accommodate. If they seem unreasonable or unsafe, call 911. No one has a “right” to see your home and they should go through proper channels.
Easy to Recognize; does the house match the pictures? We work real hard to get a home ready for the market. Everything is primped and prepped and looks just perfect. Photographs are taken and the house is listed on the MLS. Occasionally when I’m showing homes, I’ll arrive at a house I’ve seen on line and not recognize it. I know it’s the house because of the sign and the address, but the pictures don’t match or the condition of the house has changed. If the condition of your home has improved, let me know and I’ll update the pictures. Maintaining the appearance, the staging and preparation can be difficult, but keeping things up and “Polishing the Apple” (A future post in process) can make the difference.
Easy to Navigate. Are there bikes in the driveway, a second or third car? Did you shut off the lights causing the buyers and their agents to scramble to find every switch or view the home in the dark? Will your pet “greet them” and want to play? What about the furniture placement? Interior staging done well will open up a room and allow a comfortable flow which is very important.
Here are some basic tips for just before a showing.
1. Turn on all the lights.
2. Open the blinds or curtains unless the view is bad.
3. Clear all the counter space in the kitchen to show off the workspace.
4. Clean up after pets; bedding, litter boxes and chew toys should all be addressed.
5. Clean up after kids; a few toys for the buyer’s kids to play with but not too much.
6. Make the beds, put away the laundry and dry off the shower.
7. CLEAR OUT!
I really need to emphasize this last point, please DON’T stay to give the tour. Don’t sit in your car across the street staring at the house waiting for them to leave. Don’t leave your kids home to do homework. Don’t leave your uncontrollable pets loose to distract the buyers (I’ve been knocked down by a very friendly Lab on slippery hardwood floors). Don’t come back while the showing is going on to start cooking dinner.
DO, have a plan when a showing is going on, go shopping, to the library, have a latte’, visit a friend; take a walk in the park, return calls from you cell phone. Use the time productively to accomplish other goals you have and allow the buyer all the time they need. The longer a buyer lingers, the better chance they are very serious about making an offer.
I know it’s not convenient. It’s a burden being on the market and accommodating all the demands. If you can’t accomplish all of this, I will understand. I just want you to know that if you want to get Top Dollar for your home in the Least Amount of Time, these 4 Keys are essential to accomplishing that goal.
Next in the series, Home Selling Key 4, Priced Appropriately.