Preparing your home to do the selling
- Put your buyer hat on
- Curb appeal sets expectations
- Little details can instill fear in buyers
- A sales pitch just brings up the shields
Before you create a strategy for getting your home sold, it's good to understand the reality of what actually goes on.
Who or what actually sells your home?
Before you list your home, try to think like a buyer. See your home through the eyes of a buyer.
As an agent, I have an unfair advantage. I have worked with hundreds of buyers and have been there with them looking at thousands of homes. I see and hear how they react to different homes.
What skills are really needed to get your home sold?
Put on your buyer hat and remember back when you bought your last home.
You probably knew the main things that you wanted in a home. You had a general vision in your head. You went out trying to match that vision with a home that was available for sale at that particular time.
First, you went online, probably used a site like Zillow. You picked out your area and price range and began scanning through the homes.
Maybe you searched for homes in a zip code between $400,000 and $500,000.
You used pictures as your guide. You skipped over the homes that just didn’t have the look on the outside that you were looking for. If the pictures didn't capture your attention, you quickly passed right by it and didn't give it a second thought.
If a home had a nice exterior picture, you paused to take a look at the interior photos. Sometimes you didn't have to look at more than the first five pictures. You saw something that you didn't like, and you scratched it off your list.
Some homes just stood out from the others. The pictures looked like they were from an architectural magazine. Those are the ones you marked as favorites.
Fact-finding for your favorites
After a little time and effort, you put together a list of around ten homes that you were interested in seeing.
You read the detailed descriptions and scrutinized everything you could find about each home. You saw when it went on the market.
You compared the list price to the Zestimate.
You saw when the current owner bought it and at what price. You try to get a sense of whether or not it's a good deal which might determine how quickly you get out there to see it.
You look up the tax records and find the sellers' names. You Google them and try to find them on Facebook or LinkedIn. Maybe you find a Facebook post where they talked about their selling plans.
It starts when you pull up to the curb
You call your real estate agent to get them to set up a tour of your favorite homes.
When you go to the homes, you begin making judgments as soon as you pull up to the curb.
Does it look nice?
Will I be proud of this home when my friends and relatives come to visit?
Does it look like it’s been well maintained or does it look like a money pit?
Are the bushes overgrown?
How old does the roof look? While your agent is opening the lockbox to get the key, you stand by the front door making more judgments.
Is that a rotting window frame?
Are those gutters rusting and leaking?
Does the front door look worn out and depressing?
Will it need a new paint job soon?
Does the front door lock seem to be secure?
Expectations are set at the front door
At that moment, you either put on your rose-colored glasses and see everything as the glass being half full, or you put on your dark glasses and see everything as the glass being half empty. Just those few moments at the front door is setting the expectations in your mind of what it might be like on the inside.
If there seem to be maintenance issues seen from the front door, you'll probably be of the mindset to look for issues throughout the home to support your initial impression.
If the front of the home gives you a “WOW!!!” impression, you’ll be chomping at the bit wanting to see the wonderful features that await you.
You step into the home, and you again get a first impression.
Do you smell mold?
Do you smell cats?
Is it light and bright?
Are the lights on to make it look inviting?
Is it dirty or does it look fresh and clean?
In those first 5 to 10 seconds you already have a good idea whether or not it's the right home for you. You want to get that warm, fuzzy feeling that makes you feel at home.
You want to envision yourself living a long, happy life in the home.
If it doesn't feel right, no matter what your agent tells you, you're not going to buy it. Maybe you'll feel the need to come up with a good reason why the home isn't the one for you.
Your agent might be good at overcoming that objection, but if you just don't feel it, you'll just come up with another reason.
What will it be like to live here?
Let’s say that you get past the initial 10 seconds and proceed to look at the rest of the home.
You begin having visions of what your life will be like in this home.
Is it going to be fun to have a party here?
Will the entire family be able to fit in the living room?
What about Thanksgiving dinner?
You look in each room.
If one bedroom is set up as an office, it throws you off a little. Is this really a four bedroom home? I only see three rooms set up as bedrooms. Are they trying to deceive me?
They have a dining room set up as the living room? So does that mean there is no dining room?
Oh no. My furniture just won’t go with the green walls. That means thousands of dollars of re-painting or getting new furniture.
Signs of bigger potential problems
Look at that spot on the carpet over there. I’ll have to re-carpet the entire home?
Will that cost $8000?
Even though there are many closets, each one if chock full. Will I have enough storage space?
Why do they have those plug-in air fresheners? Are they trying to cover up a moldy smell?
Is that an air freshener or is it flavored pipe tobacco or cigars?
They have a dehumidifier in the basement. Is there a mold problem?
Look at that small stain on the ceiling. Does it need a new roof?
It feels warm upstairs. Does the HVAC need replacing? I doubt they are just trying to conserve energy.
Is that a rat dropping on the hot water heater? Must be. There’s a mouse trap over in the corner.
Is that a dead roach? Yikes. Let’s leave right now.
Look at that small crack in the wall. Are there structural issues?
There's an intruder bar on the basement door. Is this a safe neighborhood?
Pine needles on the deck. Is this going to be a lot of yard work?
The grass is a foot high. Damn, I’m going to be spending a lot of time keeping up with the yard.
Can't turn on a light. Is there an electrical problem? If it were just a blown bulb, I'm sure the seller would have replaced it. Right?
The garage is packed with stuff. Will I have enough storage space? Will both our cars actually fit?
Dirty grout in the bathroom? Is that black mold? Maybe we should buy a new home.
Heating vent with dirt and fuzz? Will I need to clean the ducts for a thousand dollars?
Fogged window? How many more will eventually fail?
No termite bond? Are these people nuts? Termites are probably eating up the house.
Green mildew on siding? Is that mold? Will I get sick?
Squeaky floors. Shoddy construction? Structural issues?
Will you trust the listing agent's explanations?
Maybe the listing agent is there to try to overcome all objections. Are you really going to be swayed by them?
Most likely, the more they try to overcome your objections the more you are going to be convinced that they are trying to hide something.
You don't like to be “sold” something. Any hint of selling gets you to put up your shields. But you do like to buy, especially if you feel that “you” discovered something special. Then you are motivated to get past all of the obstacles.
So think through that typical scenario.
What gets the home sold?
Is it a good “sales weasel” who knows the ABC’s of sales? (Always Be Closing)? Or is it the preparation, presentation, and pricing of the home?
What skills are really needed to get your home sold?
Do you need a good "sales weasel" who manages a large team of good "script readers" who know the ABC's of sales or do you need someone who knows how to help you prepare and present your home, so you end up with more profit in your pocket?