Is there some kind of magic potion to make your home sell instantly? How about even in the first 30 days? Well, just like the fountain of youth; it hasn’t really been discovered yet, but there are certainly some proven factors that can help you out. There are two basic issues that sellers may have: 1) They aren’t getting any showings or 2) they’re having showings but no one is making an offer. I’ll address them in this order, because quite frankly each issue has it’s own reason or two.
First of all, if you aren’t getting any showings you need to rule out whether or not you’re overpriced and verify your agent has an excellent marketing plan. Setting those issues aside for this particular topic, you next need to take a moment and glance at the photos your agent is using. Are they from a cellphone? If so, I’d say have them come out and re-do them. Very rarely are those high quality, they just don’t compare to a real honest to goodness Canon, Nikon or the like. When you’re looking at the photos, what do you notice? I know it is your home, and we tend not to see a lot of our own “things”. That’s why looking at a photo is better than just glancing around your house. At first look, do you notice things or the house? Do you see so much yard on the exterior shot that you can’t really see the home? Have your agent use a wide-angled lens. This makes for a much nicer profile shot. For the interior, are there items lined up on your kitchen counter? Lots of picture frames on the entertainment center? A good rule of thumb is to get rid of knick-knack items while your home is on the market – and do it before the photo shoot. An excellent interior photo of your home should showcase the house, not your stuff. Things that we often think make our house a home are also things that make photos look busy and unappealing. Also, if you have rooms that aren’t updated, why put them in the listing? I shake my head every time I look at a listing and see a random shot of a toilet stool…… Better to showcase the finer points and get people in the door. Can’t sell a house that no one looks at!
If you’re getting some decent showings but just not getting any offers or 2nd showings you also need to consider your price because you may just be a bit high. But, there are lots of reasons people don’t buy houses that really shouldn’t prohibit them. Let’s start with the exterior, because that’s where the buyers’ first impression comes from. Be sure your yard is freshly mowed, trees trimmed, and make your entrance welcoming. Not much more disheartening than getting to a house with an unkempt lawn and then having issues with the door. Be sure your door opens and closes properly. Be sure it latches and the handles are shiny and there’s no peeling paint. The front porch should be spotless and uncluttered. There’s always an agent/buyer conversation at the door, let it be positive, not about a squeaky door or ripped screen.
Here it goes – the key is in the lock and the door swings open……. Whew! What is that smell? Whether it is from a cat or potpourri; it needs to go. There’s no taking back this first 5 second impression. Smell is a huge deterrent. It puts a stigma on a home the second someone smells it. It is well worth your money to have the carpets & upholstery cleaned prior to listing. And don’t use crazy candles or potpourri. A clean smelling candle or air freshener is fine, but I always say the best smell upon walking into a house is NO smell. People associate smells with “they must be trying to cover something up”! Or it is a smell they hate, or in regard to pet odors, people think the house hasn’t been well maintained and that plants seeds of doubt.
One of the best ways to make your home smell fresh leads into what I say is the best investment in selling your home – paint! Paint is not expensive and it covers a multitude of issues. I always suggest that my homeowners go around and look at their home as if it belonged to someone else. First this eliminates the clutter like I mentioned earlier but go farther. Do you see dingy walls? Finger marks near light switches? scratches on the walls? Scuff marks by the doors and down the stairways? Paint makes a home smell fresh and look fresh. How about wallpaper? Get rid of it. You may like the pattern but chances are someone else will not. Strip the paper and paint. Just be sure to use a light neutral color, but not stark white. Go with a light beige or grey tone, depending on your decor. A fresh coat of paint, combined with the staging of your home – putting away those knick-knacks you don’t need, will make a huge difference. Have room to put the toaster in a cupboard instead of on the counter? Do it!
Be sure you clean your house before a showing. If it is between no showing or no cleaning, I always advise to go ahead and have it shown but if you know in advance – prepare your home like you’re expecting royalty. I know you’re busy, but better to do it a few times and sell your house than to have to endure showings continuously without a sale. Vacuum, dust, stuff the laundry into the machines, (not the closets cuz they’re going to open those!) You may even want to prepare a batch of cookies. People associate that with friendliness and they like that. People want to buy from nice people.
All in all, first impressions are critical. If your yard is spiffy, the house is neat, clean, not smelly, not cluttered, not crazy colors of paint or wallpaper – it will sell. You wouldn’t believe some of the things that go on the market. You can make your home stand out in a positive way just by doing the things that are inexpensive and not time consuming. Good luck!! and remember, as always – feel free to contact me for advice about selling your home or for a market analysis.