Before I start working with a buyer they have often spent days and hours looking at homes on line and come to me with their “must view” list. I’ve seen lists as short as one home and as long as 50 homes. A normal number is around 5.
Their decision to see these homes is based on location, price, size, what the home offers and how it is presented in the photographs; not necessarily in that order. For the sake of this story the buyers tell me that Sunday is their ideal house viewing day starting at noon. I go online, request the showings 24 hours in advance from furthest point to closest, half an hour apart plus driving time. Now I wait for confirmations.
From the sellers point of view they have to figure out how to juggle their lives around to be out of the house for the specified time (about an hour) along with having it clean and tidy for the showing. Here are a few getting your house ready tips:
Don’t be home for the showing
Make sure the home is clean
Don’t use scented products especially plugs ins and room deodorizers
Hide evidence of pets and clean litter boxes
Put away all clutter (coats, boots, kids stuff, laundry etc)
Turn on the lights (not lamps unless that’s the only source of light)
Turn on the heat (buyers will speed view a cold house)
No music, it's distracting
We arrive at the first house, walk in the side door and it smells weird. The floors are dirty, boots and shoes are everywhere as we stumble over the debris to take our foot wear off. What happens at this point is the buyers immediately feel disappointed. The pictures showed it shiny, organized and full of wow. There is no wow. There is no smiling and now they start noticing flaws.
The second home is neat and tidy. It’s also freezing cold. A few rooms are warm however most of the house is chilly and we can only assume this is an effort to save on heating costs. The buyers start to worry about the lack of insulation. As an agent you try to deflect these objections and show them the great features of the home. This doesn’t always have an impact when the house shows them something of concern, indirectly, by having the heat nearly off.
The sellers from house #1 had to handle our showing, going to church, taking kids to a hockey game, packing lunches and dropping the dogs off at a neighbors. There was no time for cleaning.
While I can understand this, and the buyers can understand this, it doesn’t change that first impression. Same thing with house #2. Somethings like turning on the heat is easier to control than a bus load of children and pets.
Everyone has their story.
Buyers: make sure to give your REALTOR® at least 24 hours notice for a showing to allow sellers to get ready.
Sellers: Get ready. It’s not easy, I know. You want to sell your house so that first impression has to be a Wow. You can do it.
Have a great week!