That’s all it takes for most buyers to form a first opinion of yur house. It is an emotional decision that is made pretty quickly. Not much different from the process of deciding whether or not you are attracted to someone when you are in dating mode.
So when I hear sellers tell me, “They should be able to look past the deferred maintenance, peeling wallpaper, chipping paint, dirty rugs (insert any other offense to the sensibilities here), it tells me they have forgotten what that emotional component of buying a house fells like.
Imagine carrying that frame of mind over to the dating world and saying “They should be able to see past the fact that I haven’t washed my hair, ironed my clothes, or picked the spinach out of my teeth and see me for the solid person I am.” Doesn’t work in the dating world and doesn’t work in selling houses. Do you want to attract maybe one strange character who goes for that stuff or do you want to make yourself attractive to as great a pool of suitors as possible?
Imagine you are going to a speed dating session. What results would you expect if you showed up dirty, messy, unkempt, smelly, unshaven….you get the idea. You would not want to have to find out the answer the hard way, so you wouldn’t take the chance. You would shower, shave, comb your hair, brush your teeth, dab on something nice-smelling.
Think of the Open House as speed dating for your home. That is your first chance to make a good impression and to attract as many suitors as possible. Once you have made a bad first impression, it is pretty near impossible to fix it.
SO, the basics of getting ready for your speed dating session with buyers.
Good Photography and Good Grooming
Buyers are going to judge your house from the pictures online and then by what they see in a drive-by. Curb appeal is vital. Keep the lawn mowed, paint if needed, mulch, put out flower pots or plant flowers. A new doormat and new mailbox makes the whole house seem newer.
Clean every room from top to bottom, clean out closets and cabinets. Throw out junk that is not moving to the next house with you. Look at your home with a critical eye. If paint is chipping, fix it. If there are cracks in walls, rusty baseboard, etc. take care of it.
Put away the pictures of the ex – Pretty hard to imagine yourself in the life of a new dating partner if their place is a basically a shrine to their ex, right? Well, buyers want to imagine themselves living in your space. They don’t want to see how many toys you can cram into one room, family photos hanging everywhere, stuff falling out of closets. That’s the dating equivalent of having pictures of your ex everywhere.
Brighten Up – Open Windows, pull up shades, put in bright bulbs. Make sure no bulbs are out.
A New Outfit – To most sellers, staging is a dirty word that basically equates to throwing away their money. Staged homes typically sell for about 15% more than unstaged homes. Sounds like money well spent to me. If you don’t have much money to rent furniture, etc. you can still do a lot by putting new towels and soaps in the bathrooms, and decorating the house with a more critical eye. Taking stuff away is as important as bringing it in.
Basically, walk through the whole house and look at it as if you were a buyer looking at it for the first time. Be honest with yourself. Is it clean, bright, pretty? Does it smell nice? Are there no obvious signs of disrepair or deferred maintenance? As a Realtor, this is what I do. I look up at the ceiling, down at the baseboards, I scan over everything and what I notice or give you advice on – trust me, the buyers will notice too. Think of feedback as a gift – a chance to make improvements that are going to get your house sold. And better to hear it from me before your house goes on the market than to hear it from buyers!