So, you’ve decided to sell your house? Congratulations! After meeting with an agent to sign the paperwork, surely you’ve gone over the many things you can do to improve the way your home shows. From sweeping the front walk to making the bed or even putting cookies in the oven, there are hundreds of little tricks sellers use to put their home’s best side in the spotlight.
But what you may not have prepared for is the uncomfortable feeling of knowing that strangers are walking through and scrutinizing your home. Your home has, until now, been your private domain, a retreat, and a refuge all your own. But once that for sale sign goes up, you’re in a different world and you may be tempted to try and hold on to the security of knowing all of the happenings in your home by hanging around during showings. But there are several important reasons to relax, take a step back, and let buyers (and their agent) walk through uninterrupted.
- Buyers will not feel free to discuss their concerns with the homeowners around. This feedback is important for buyer’s agents to have so that they may help overcome many issues. Good agents can provide buyers with options that could change a buyer’s perspective on a property. Do you have an extra bedroom the buyers don’t want to furnish? Why not convert it into a private library or workout room? Buyers hate the cabinets in the kitchen? Here are some suggestions for quick fixes or low cost changes that could easily bring them back around to considering your home more seriously.
- Buyers may not want to let you, the seller, know that they’re in love with the house. They want you to think this is a serious business deal and they could take it or leave it, because they think it will help them in negotiations. The key here is to get them to negotiations to begin with. Let them be happy and excited and you’ll get your offer soon enough.
- Information Overload: Your home is your castle, and you want to make sure potential buyers don’t miss a single glorious detail. We get it. But in your enthusiasm, you may start to overwhelm the buyer. Or not pick up on clues from them. Or focus on things they could care less about so they get bored and anxious to move on. Don’t risk it.
- Expectations: In your enthusiasm to show off your home, you may start to make promises to the buyer – “Sure that framed picture can stay” or “Oh, yeah, I’ll paint the garage for you.” But these promises may be based on the prospect of a full priced offer, and with a lower than anticipated offer in front of you the next day, you may not be so eager to make those kinds of concessions. And then you can end up with an ugly “he said/she said” scenario that leaves no one happy.
- Hot Topics: Like it or not, many home buyers cannot look past their own prejudices to focus on a home. Don’t give them anything more to judge or to question. Sometimes buyers and sellers meet, start talking, and become the best of friends. But how often do you really think that happens? You’re a super swell person, but do you get along with everyone you meet? Do some people just rub you the wrong way from the get-go? Do you cringe when hearing someone go on about their favorite political candidate? Don’t let potential personality conflicts get in the way of the ultimate goal of home selling. Just don’t go there to begin with.
- Looks can be deceiving: What if it just so happens that you look like a potential buyer’s ex girlfriend? Or a mean former teacher? There are so many possible relations. Do you want to be associated with a buyer’s past history? Sometimes it is unavoidable, but is it worth the risk?
What to do, what to do?
Instead of hovering around your home when you are scheduled to have a potential showing, try the following tips to get your home ready for showing, then try some of the following: take a walk, return some purchases, get the car washed, take the kids to the park, treat yourself to a nice meal, work-out, see a movie, buy a “just because” card for a loved one, hand write some letters, remember how to do cartwheels in the grass, or volunteer. Whatever you choose, just avoid being in the home during showings (and always leave some room in the schedule for the buyers to take a bit of extra time – nothing worse than feeling rushed).
image courtesy of mtarvainen