Engage Your Sellers in Getting the House Ready to List!

By
Real Estate Agent with Coldwell Banker Country Properties

In this challenging market, it is imperative that sellers commit themselves to the process of selling.  This process is not short and it is not easy.  As a Realtor, I try to make sellers understand that this will be a true partnership in every way.  I cannot produce a successful closing without their help, input and cooperation.

Since there is a large pool of houses, the buyers are being very discriminating.  These other homes are your competition!  It is not enough to vacuum and dust.  I urge all sellers to go visit their competition with your agent.  You must know the market conditions as well (if not better) then the buyers.

The following list is what sellers must do to beat out the competition to receive top dollar.  If there are steps that a seller doesn't want to take, then that reflection has to be in a reduced listing price. 

•1.             Curb Appeal - You've heard it forever and at last count from at least 8 or 9 different TV shows that deal with this entire subject.  Mow the grass, edge your planting beds, put down new mulch, put fertilizer down to green the lawn, power wash the exterior, sweep off decks, plant flowers, hang pots, prune shrubs and trees, clean front door, spruce up driveway.  Some of these things need to be done only once, the rest have to be done on a consistent basis - commitment.

 •2.             Clean, Clean, Clean - The number one complaint I hear (almost every week) is "The house smells!"  Be it cooking odors, basement musty odors, or Pet odors.  When we live with our pets we get used to their smells, we don't come home and walk inside and go "eek! , what is that horrible smell" why - because we don't smell it or them.  We don't smell the litter box, we don't smell their food, and we don't smell the lingering effects of a wet dog on carpet.  But guess what? The buyers smell everything and it doesn't smell good to them.  Even if they have pets, they are used to their pet's odors, not yours. So wash out litter box and start fresh and place it in a small room or garage if possible. Clean your bathrooms, windows, kitchen (thoroughly please and every appliance in the kitchen!) wash all dirty clothes, clean all rooms, make all beds, clean all floors at least 3 times a week.  Are your curtains washable, are they dusty... you know what to do.

•3.             Paint - Painting is the least expensive way to redo and refresh a room, plus it gives a big bang for the buck.  A good rule of thumb is, if it hasn't been painted for 5 or more years, paint!

 •4.             Carpets - Have all the carpets professionally cleaned.  If there are any carpets showing traffic spots, or matted areas, or pet damage; pull it up.  If there are hardwood floors underneath, that's a big plus (even if they're not in good shape).  The ideal situation would be to refinish those floors.  If you don't have hardwood under the carpets, replace with a neutral, medium grade carpet.

  •5.             Décor - is such a personal taste.  Try to put away knickknacks, and pictures.  The least amount of clutter lets buyer's minds free to use their imagination to picture their stuff there.

  •6.             Furniture - ever hear the words "white space"?  It is the absence of anything.  It is the space around words or graphics in an advertisement.  It gives the eye a rest and makes the rest of the ad "pop".  A room needs "white space".  There cannot be a piece of furniture, plants, artwork, and knickknack in every corner or along every inch of the wall.  Put furniture in storage.

•7.             Closets - Organize all linen and clothes closets.  Install closet organizers if possible.  If people see closets that are overflowing with your stuff, they'll think how is my stuff ever going to fit.

  •8.             Access -  One of the most important factors a seller can grant is easy access and reasonable showing hours.  A lockbox is essential in today's market.  If a buyer's agent calls to make an appointment to show the house, and the seller has put unreasonable restrictions on hours, the agent will not show and move on to one of the many other homes on the market.  Reasonable showing hours are 10am to 8pm everyday with a 2 hour notice.  But be prepared for the agent who has a buyer and is anxious to see the house in 15 minutes.  If the seller has kept their commitment to keep the house clean and organized, then those last minute showings will not be such a nuisance.

  •9.             Playrooms/Children's rooms - Buy big nice looking toy chests and try to get the children in a routine to put all their toys away every morning or every evening.  Try to make it fun and reward them on a job well done.

  •10.         Fish Bowl - Yes you will feel like you're living in a fish bowl, and strange people are walking through your house, looking at your personal spaces.  It is natural to feel "invaded" in your home which is your private sanctuary.  Try to keep your eye on the big picture, you are selling to move up, move away, change your lifestyle, whatever the reason, it does get easier with time, the first 2 or 3 weeks are an adjustment.  If you are having doubts, or concerns, about the whole process, please speak with your listing agent.   He or she should have ideas and suggestions to help mitigate any problems that may arise.

  Once a seller can fully understand their role in the selling process, it truly becomes a partnership and a large commitment must take place between both parties, seller and listing agent.  Don't be afraid to be honest and open with your sellers, it is your duty to make them see their house through the eyes of a buyer, before they walk into the house.

Comments (9)

Keith Elliott Jr
KEIRE Realty Group - Manassas, VA
Principal Broker/Owner

Hello April,

Welcome to Active Rain and congrats on your first post! The opportunities to learn and network are incredible here. Best of luck to ya!

-Keith

Aug 11, 2008 07:43 AM
Patricia Fisher
Keller Williams Realty - Spartanburg, SC

Welcome to the Active Rain Community!  This is a great site to network, learn, and share ideas with others.  Have a great day!

Aug 11, 2008 08:19 AM
Stefan Geyer
SOA Realty - Aurora, CO

Great first post here on Active Rain...just great for any post!  Thanks, and welcome to Active Rain April.

Aug 11, 2008 11:24 AM
Debbie Gilbert
Century 21 Clemens & Sons Realty - West Hartford, CT
Farmington Valleynulls Finest Homes, West Hartford, CT

These are great ideas-- Welcome to Active Rain! I'll look forward to reading more from you. Best wishes!!

Debbie

Aug 11, 2008 12:18 PM
Ron Brown NMLS #270845
NMLS ID: 40831 - Federal Way, WA

April,

Welcome to Active Rain! Congratulations on your first blog.  You'll find this is a great site for sharing ideas, networking, and growing your business.  If you ever have a question about VA loans, or FHA loans I'd be happy to help!

Ron Brown

VA Loan& FHA Loan Specialist

First Mortgage Company of Washington

Puyallup, WA

Aug 11, 2008 02:05 PM
Bill Kennedy
Keller Williams Realty - Greenville, SC
Homes For Sale Greenville SC

I wanted to personally welcome you to active rain! This is a great community to learn and to share. Join some groups, check out some blogs, and enjoy!

Aug 11, 2008 03:29 PM
Yvette Gardner
Keller Williams Realty, Spartanburg, SC - Spartanburg, SC

Welcome to the Active Rain community. You have chosen a great site with tons of information you can learn from.  Have fun with it and hope to see more of your blogs soon!

Aug 12, 2008 12:55 AM
Nate Blankenship - Spartanburg, SC Realtor
Keller Williams Realty - Spartanburg, SC

Welcome to Active Rain! This is a great site to network, learn and share ideas with others. Thanks for a great post and I look forward reading more in the future. Have a great day!

Aug 12, 2008 02:16 AM
Connie Rice
Keller Williams Greenville Central - Simpsonville, SC
Connie Rice & Partners - Greenville, SC Real Estat

Welcome to the rain! You've joined a great place to network, make and meet new friends and discuss lots of interesting topics. I see you are already off to a great start! Stop by if you get a chance. I would love to hear your feedback on our thoughts! Well, have great time and ENJOY. Look forward to seeing you around.

Aug 12, 2008 08:50 AM