Staging Your Home to Show Well
First impressions are priceless! The condition of your home at the time of showing, will have a great impact on the buyer. A clean and orderly home gives the impression the home has been well maintained. A disorderly home raises the question in the buyer's mind as to whether maintenance has been deferred in areas that are not readily seen to them. The state of your home at the time of showing will ultimately play a role in the buyer’s decision whether to view your home a second time or potentially present an offer.
Notification of Showings: Ideally, a Realtor will give you some advanced notice of when they would like to show your home, often calling the day before with a few hour window of when they will stop by. There are times, however, that you may only have a few hour notice prior to a showing. And it does occasionally happen that a Realtor may be in your neighborhood, see your for sale sign and their buyer wants to see your home right then. Being prepared to show your home at all times while your home is on the market takes an extra effort, but it will ensure your home will show well in all circumstances and pay off in the end.
Appointment Only vs. Lock Box: You are now wondering if it would be better to show your home by appointment only, rather than have it accessible by lock box, so that you have time to ensure it presents well for each showing. The answer is an emphatic no, except for extenuating circumstances like newborn children, an illness in the family, an elderly parent at home or a pet that bites. Aside from luxury properties, for which an appointment to view a home is acceptable and customary, most listings are on lock box and showing your home by appointment only will limit your showings greatly. For Realtors, appointment only homes are an inconvenience to show, because it is difficult to fit them into a schedule of several other properties to be see on the same day. For this reason, these properties sometimes get overlooked unless a buyer specifically asks to see an appointment only home. As a result, appointment only homes typically take longer to sell and this can result in the price reductions and low offers suffered by homes that remain on the market too long. Having your home accessible by lock box, if possible, is a very important strategy in selling your home.
Tips on Staging Your Home to Show Well
- Make all beds every morning.
- Pick up around the home.
- Put all dirty dishes in the dishwasher.
- Put toilet lids down and remove used bath towels.
- Take out the trash to remove any offensive odors.
- Turn lights on throughout the home, particularly in darker rooms.
- Open all curtains and window blinds to create a light and airy effect.
- Consider setting the mood with some easy listening music.
- Prior to the showing, consider baking a batch of cookies to create an inviting aroma if you are given enough notice.
- Be careful not to use too many artificial scents, as some buyers are allergic to perfumes and cannot tolerate them. If you use scented wall plug-ins, one on each floor is ample coverage. Too much scent raises the question in the buyer's mind if they are being used to cover up musty, pet or other odors that will later become apparent after closing.
- If the outside temperature is appropriate, open windows before your home is shown to let the fresh air inside.
- Mow your lawn.
- Put children and doggie toys away.
- If you have an intimidating pet or one that will bite, be sure they are either outside or secured inside in a pen, crate or room so that no one gets bit and the buyer and Realtor feel comfortable touring your home.
- Leave while your home is being shown. If a seller is at home during a showing, buyers may put the seller on the spot with questions that could compromise their negotiation and would be better answered by their Listing Agent. Some buyers feel so uncomfortable touring a home while the seller is there, that they rush through. And others refuse to view a home while the seller is there.
Showing Feedback: This is the test to see how well you did in preparing your home for market and staging your home to show. Feedback can be discouraging at times, even for seller's with immaculate homes, as buyers are more likely to mention something they don't like or concerns that they have. So, be prepared for this, but obtaining feedback is still a very important aspect of selling your home. It arms us with information regarding the perception of others and gives us the opportunity to adjust or repair anything that continues to be mentioned as a deterrent to an offer, whenever possible.
- Anita Davis -