Sellers - Control What You Can

Real Estate Broker/Owner with Waters Realty of Brevard, LLC BK3064647

I recently had the occasion to show a very nice home in one of the more exclusive gated communities in the Brevard County area.  My prospective buyers were specifically looking for a gated community in the planned unit development of Viera located north of Melbourne.

They liked the home and the neighborhood.  They did not like the gate guard's lack of friendliness.

I added a comment sort of like "Gate guards are like everything else in life.... they change."

Still, these particular buyers felt the attitude of the front gate reflected the attitude of the neighborhood!

While I do believe a personable friendly gate keeper is a positive I don't believe they reflect the neighbors in general.  

Besides,  this particular individual  may have been having a bad day.  We never know what is going on in a person's life and should not let one interaction define them permanently.

Still, the buyers checked the neighborhood off their list.

As a seller there are things you can control and others you can't.  Your focus must be on the things you as a seller can shape.

Consider things like... 

  • Landscaping Your yard needs to look appealing because as you heard as a child, first impressions matter!  
  • Exterior paint.    At a minimum look at your front door.  If the paint is recent make sure it is clean.  If not, a new coat of paint is an easy fix.   
  • Lighting.   When will your home be seen?   Lighting is critical,e specially during the winter when it gets darker earlier.  Light and bright is good.  Dark and gloomy, not so good. 
  • Interior Paint.   This goes hand in hand with the lighting recommendation.  Light, neutral, non high personalized paint is best.    
  • Clutter.   This can be thought of as just too much stuff including furniture.   Extra furnishings as well as over-sized furniture can detract from a homes usable space.  And this goes for the kitchen counters as well.  Put away mall appliances and things that take up counter space.   
  • Cleanliness.    Sometimes sellers do not have the funds to spend on new paint or whatever.  But cleanliness costs little more than effort.  The nose is key.   Jokingly I like to say "if you can smell it, you can't sell it."  Furthermore, once showings start refrain from cooking things that leave a smell for days.  
  • De-personalize.    While this is sort of "clutter" related it deserves its own bullet point.  By this I mean to take the "you" out of the house. Portraits, artwork, diplomas, collections/hobby items, pictures off the refrigerator, etc.  Have buyers focus on the house not the occupants.  
  • Safety and Security.    Think about risk management as well.  Consider any trip hazards, security issues like personal weapons.  Think about removing personal papers and medications.  Remember, most real estate agents do not know their customers very well.  This is especially critical if your real estate agent holds an open house where all sorts of complete strangers show up.

The last preparation item I urge sellers to consider is the pre listing inspection If a house is more than five years old there may be hidden issues.   A pre-listing inspection can bring to light issues that can be fixed or addressed in the marketing/pricing process.

Properly preparing a house for the market takes time.   Sometimes sellers make the mistake of rushing a house to the market and doing preparation concurrently.  While this may be necessary due to circumstances, avoid it if possible.   Sellers usually only get one chance to impress prospective buyers. 

As a seller you can (and should) control the product a prospective buyer sees from the moment they pull up front until they drive away.



Posted by

Gary L. Waters, is a Florida licensed real estate broker at  Waters Realty of Brevard, LLC, Melbourne, Florida serving Florida's Space Coast including the cities and surrounding communities of Melbourne, Viera, Rockledge, Suntree, Merritt Island, Cocoa Beach and Satellite Beach.

 Call or text me directly at 321-693-3850.



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Nina Hollander
RE/MAX Executive | Charlotte, NC - Charlotte, NC
Your Charlotte/Ballantyne/Waxhaw/Fort Mill Realtor

Hi Gary... I often tell my sellers not to worry about things we cannot control, such as the market, interest rates, quantity of buyers; that the focus should be on what we can control, i.e., price, condition of home, availability to show home, marketing. 

Nov 13, 2017 07:21 AM #1
William Feela
Realtor, Whispering Pines Realty 651-674-5999 No.

Sellers want full control.  But if they let us be the controlers they will  get farther.

Nov 13, 2017 07:39 AM #2
Kristin Johnston - REALTOR®
RE/MAX Realty Center - Waukesha, WI
Giving Back With Each Home Sold!

Great information...thanks for sharing and have an amazing week ahead too!

Nov 13, 2017 07:46 AM #3
Kathleen Daniels
KD Realty - 408.972.1822 - San Jose, CA
San Jose Homes for Sale-Probate & Trust Specialist

I'd like to think that if the attitude of the guard at the gate was the norm that the community would make sure that person no longer works the gate.  Unfortunately, having a bad day or not, we only get one opportunity to make a first impression. 

Nov 13, 2017 12:29 PM #4
Pat Champion
Coldwell Banker Camelot Realty - Mount Dora, FL
Call the "CHAMPION" for all your real estate needs

Great post I loved your last comment and always tell my Seller's make your first impression a lasting one you never get a second chance to make a first impression. Thanks for sharing I hope you have a great afternoon.

Nov 16, 2017 09:47 AM #5
Laura Cerrano
Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island - Locust Valley, NY
Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher

Control what you can and don’t worry about what you can’t. It’s a very Buddhist way to be that works really well!

Nov 16, 2017 10:34 AM #6
Laura Cerrano
Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island - Locust Valley, NY
Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher

The first impression could be the last person to really turn around their opinion of you as well.

Pat Champion

Nov 16, 2017 10:36 AM #7
Gabe Sanders
Real Estate of Florida specializing in Martin County Residential Homes, Condos and Land Sales - Stuart, FL
Stuart Florida Real Estate

Good morning Gary.  We have one gated community where the procedures for non-residents to get through the gate are so onerous that it turns many would be home buyers away.

Nov 25, 2017 06:22 AM #8
Patricia Feager
Selling Homes Changing Lives

Love your story Gary L. Waters, Broker Owner, Waters Realty of Brevard, LLC - Once upon a time, I had buyers who were looking to buy in a safe neighborhood... well, you know how difficult that is and the challenges they present for agents. Finally, they brought up the idea of looking in gated communities. Fine! We looked at gated communities and it was exactly like you described - grabby, nasty, gate guard. It put a very bad taste in their mouth but they bought into the neighborhood anyways. They met wonderful neighbors. Unfortunately, the gate guard didn't leave, but people in that community learned to laugh about it, and stood united together in the most joyful way. 

Dec 01, 2017 08:39 AM #9
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