Selling Our Own Home – Day 15

realestateiconWell, 3 showings on Saturday is good, but none for Sunday. Oh well. It’s tough to know what is normal without the connections of a [tag]real estate agent[/tag] who goes into her [tag]realtor[/tag] office every day and hears things like “I didn’t schedule any showings this weekend,” from a lot of brokers and then knows that it was just a slow weekend. Or, maybe the opposite (yikes!). Monday should be a total washout. Not only is it Monday, but it is supposed to snow as well. I’d complain and talk about how unusual it is, but it really isn’t. We always end up getting one “late” snowstorm every year. The good news is that the leaves aren’t really coming in yet on any of the trees so we shouldn’t have to worry about breakage.

Let’s talk home presentation. Everyone talks about [tag]curb appeal[/tag]. It matters, a lot, but inside matters even more.

The thing about curb appeal that makes it so important is that you don’t want people walking into your house with the notion that it is dirty, or unkempt, or even a dump. Because, once they get inside they’ll see what their mind is expecting to see. Even if you home is a gem on the inside they’ll see tiny areas of peeling paint instead of huge windows.

But, once people get inside, it’s time for your home presentation to take over. The key to home presentation is making it possible for buyers to see it as their house. After all, they are walking into a strangers house with a chaparone basically. It’s pretty odd. So, nothing else can distract them from how great your house would be as THEIR house!

Most realtors will tell you to remove clutter and may even suggest removing certain furniture. The point of this is two-fold. One is to make the space look bigger. The other (more important in my opinion) is the enable them to visualize their stuff in that room. If you have a 20″ TV in the corner and they have a 50″ TV at home then they are going to look at your TV and imagine a much bigger one in that spot. If your 20″ is a tight fit, then they know they have to look somewhere else to put the TV. Giant bookcases along every other wall make it hard to see the othre great spots for a TV. On the other hand, a sparse, or empty house makes it even harder to visualize.

When buyers come into your home and see a couch, coffee table, chair, TV, and end table, they (consiously or not) compare to an inventory of what they would want to put into the same room. So, those items enable them to see how they fit just fine without being crowded. The same size room when it is empty might seem like a tight fit for that much furniture. So, don’t empty out your house or try to make is some barely decorated modern look if that doesn’t fit your house. Open is good, but it isn’t the only thing.

Keep it clean. Again, the buyers aren’t stupid, they know that they can clean up, but it is a lot easier to imagine your mahogony desk in a room that doesn’t have Lincoln Logs scattered all over the floor. Of particular importance are suspicious items. In our house for example we have white sinks. They look really nice. But, if we let them go too long between cleanings, they start to look a little greyed and dingy. Now, we know that they clean right up back to gleaming white, but strangers won’t know that. They’ll look at the sinks and wonder if that is the best you can get them. You don’t want that.

Also, think about smells. If you cook in your home and it smells like your food that is great if the person who comes in likes the same food as you. But, a couple who is all about lean vegetarian Italin walk into a house and smell hot spicy tamales, well again, it’s hard to see it as your home. Do yourself a favor and buy a couple of air freshners. Not the sprays or the kind that plug in. Their smell is too distincitve and people will think you are trying to cover up the fact that your house stinks from mold or whatever. Instead, get an unscented or basic scented freshner that you set out on the counter and has activated charcoal as its main ingredient. Activated charcoal actually absorbs oders instead of covering them up. So, your great tamale lunch can’t be dedected at the 4:00pm showing. Put the freshner away before the showing (again so no one thinks you are hiding anything.)

One great trick we learned when we were on the buying end of the showings last time is to print nice cards that point out features of your home. Don’t go crazy. Every home has an oven don’t bother pointing it out. But, if it is a double oven that has been installed so cleverly that it hardly looks like a double oven, then DO point that out. In our home we have cards pointing out that both the upper and lower doors are pantry (tons of space) and also pointing out a very convienent closet in the kitchen that was drywalled and painted at the same time, so it is very nice and inconspicious. So much so that someone might not even notice it! If you have walk-in closets and don’t leave the doors open, then put up a note about that. Otherwise people won’t bother looking in more than one closet and may miss it.

Lastly, turn on all your overhead lights. The lights on the ceiling should be on so that no one ever thinks “Gee this room is dark,” before they walk in. Lamps are a little bit more up to you. Turn on the ones that you think really make each room look good. If you have a lamp you use so you have bright reading light, but doesn’t really add to feel of the room leave it off

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