You’re trying to sell your home. Hopefully, you’ve done all your homework, and are now ready to invite potential buyers into your home. Try to put yourself in their shoes…if you have a home, you’ve most likely worn those shoes out a while ago. Pretend that you’re trying to buy a home…again. What would you NOT want to encounter? Here are a few ideas to keep your home visitor friendly. As long as you keep these in mind, you should have no problem selling your home!
What’s that smell?
Have you ever walked into a home, and everything smelled like wet dog? Or maybe the air was clouded with smoke from a cigarette? Perhaps there was a lingering odor of old mold in the atmosphere? Yea, these aren’t exactly appealing, even if you are a chronic smoker, or a dog lover. I love walking into homes that are vanilla-scented, or houses that have candles ablaze with sweet fragrances. You want your visitors to arrive and notice how wonderful and clean your house smells. It doesn’t matter if you prefer the smell of clean linen, or if you prefer to bake cookies to give the house that ‘just-baked’ aroma…bottom line is, you don’t want your home smelling like dirty dog or a guy’s alcohol-strewn fraternity house. (Nasty!)
Get this dog off me!
If you have pets, beware. Animals have the potential of making some people very nervous. Me? Well, I don’t particularly like when I am arriving at a friend’s house, and their dogs start attacking me as soon as I enter. I actually dread that moment. I don’t like when hairy cats pounce on top of me, or when birds are flying overhead and doo-doo is landing on me. If you have pets, keep them under control while the visitors are there. You don’t want them feeling uncomfortable and leaving, along with their big bucks, due to out-of-control animals. It’s just not worth it.
What’s that growing in the tub?
I once had a friend in Killeen, TX that I was visiting, and as soon as I entered his home, it reeked of cat litter. I had to hold my gags in out of courtesy, and take tiny, controlled breaths as to not intake a heavy duty whiff of this nastiness. Well, I thought I’d take a break and go to the restroom, wanting some relief. Lo and behold, the bathroom was a tremendous mess. The tub was dirty, the toilet was soiled. There were two cat-litter bins near the toilet itself that seemed to have never been changed out. (I think this is where the overwhelming odor was coming from.) Needless to say, I was grossed out…as the younger version of me would say. Please, scrub your tubs, clean the toilet. Remove all traces of disgusting germ inhabitation. Clean the mirrors, buy new towels…do whatever it takes to make sure that bathroom looks spic and span. This will earn you tons of potential buyer ‘brownie points.’
Another room that deserves worthy attention is the kitchen. If you love collecting piles of trash bags, your little obsession has got to go on the day that your guests are to arrive. (You don’t know how many maggots might be breeding in there by now!) Put away all your dishes, clean water spots from the faucet and sink, organize the refrigerator. While you’re at it, take care to make all the beds in the room prior to the guests’ arrival. You want to present your home as a positive atmosphere for your future home-dwellers. Clean up after yourself. Put the magazines away, pick up after the kids. Keep the home as presentable as humanly possible.Let there be light!If you’re one of those people that like living in the dark, you’re going to have to smarten up a little and install a few bright bulbs throughout your house. Nothing says ‘unapproachable’ as a poorly lit home. I know when I used to live in Germany, I had a good friend that I spent lots of good times with…but I never entered his home. Why, you ask? Well, every time you saw him open or close the door, all you saw was complete darkness, except for a little, dim lamp…and you could see the silhouette of his mother…just sitting there. Very, very eerie. You’re not trying to scare away any future prospects of money with your Vampire-ish ways…so do what you need to do to make your home seem more airy, light, and bright! Remove heavy curtains, open the blinds, install light fixtures where they’re needed, and replace any dim lights. Let there be light! (Insert heavenly music…here.)
Bust out the drill, ladders, and Windex!
Look around your home. Fix whatever you see needs repair. Do you have a window that you need to use a carjack to open? Get that baby repaired. (Clean the windows too while you’re at it! Little kid palm prints may be cute to you, but a potential home buyer would rather see sparkly, clear panes of glass!) If your gutters are growing a party of plants, clean them! This could help with drainage issues as well, which is a factor that may inevitably put off the most eager of potential buyers. If you have a basement, don’t forget to tidy up in there too.
That green and yellow striped wallpaper has GOT to go!
Since you’re ready to let go of your home, it’s time to let go of your decorative touches as well. If you have Dora the Explorer wallpaper plastered all over your home, it’s time to consider the removal of it. Unsightly wallpaper might distract the potential buyer, and may make them feel as if it’s a permanent vice of the house, and not at all something that can be worked with. If you have white walls, it will be easier for your visitors to imagine their own decorative touches they’d like to add if/when they own your home. A word of caution, though…do not paint over the wallpaper! Even though it’s a task worthy of a little sweat, thoroughly remove the wallpaper and then paint over it. If you don’t feel like doing this yourself, you can always hire a professional!
Cockroaches, spiders, and rats…Oh My!
Let’s play pretend. Let’s say that you’re a person looking for a new home. You walk into a beautiful home, and suddenly, you saw something from the corner of your eye. Later on through out the tour of the home, you hear a crunch. What happened…? You stepped on a big ol’ cockroach! How disgusting! I’m sure that would leave a bad impression of the home. You may feel as if they have some kind of roach manifestation, and who wants that in a potential home? So…before you let visitors in your home, take care of your bug/rodent problem. I’m sure that rodent that you haven’t paid much mind to is waiting, holed up in his little hideout, for the opportune time to come out had scare your guests. Exterminate them.
Force the Weed Whacker out of retirement.
Sometimes, I see homes in my neighborhood that have a “for sale” sign, but the lawn is a disaster. If that family couldn’t take care of the lawn, what else have they neglected in their home? At least, that would be my initial reaction. Take a good look at your home from the outside. Pretend you don’t even own the home. Do you like what you see? Is there anything that can use a little, how shall we say this…beautifying? Bust out the weed whackers, lawn mowers, and rose clippers. You’re trying to make your home look like the best in the lot. It’s the first thing that the potential buyers are going to see as soon as they occupy you driveway. Dazzle them. Aim to impress. You wouldn’t go to an interview with flip-flops, board shorts, and a muscle shirt, would you? Maybe if you’re applying to work at the gym! But the point is, you want your house to be “dressed” it’s very best.Hot home, cold home.Make sure your home is at a comfortable temperature. If it’s freezing outside, your visitors want to walk into a warm, cozy home. If it’s an absolutely smoldering day, you want your guests to feel cool as cucumbers when they step inside. Keep this in mind before showing your home to potential buyers, otherwise, they might rush the tour and be thinking about leaving your home, rather than paying attention to the details they wanted to attend to.Soft waterfalls, ocean waves…kind of peaceful, isn’t it?If you want to give your home a more relaxed, serene atmosphere, you can always play a little music in the background. Granted, you don’t want to be blaring Slipknot’s greatest rock hits! You can invest in a CD that contains sounds of peaceful waterfalls, or even light Celtic music. This is a little touch that can be added to show your guests that you care about their comfort and stay as they take a tour of your home. Try to avoid having a blender whirring in the background, or dogs barking up a storm in the yard. These extra sounds could prove to be extreme annoyances.
One tour guest per tour, please.
When you finally have potential buyers at your home, you don’t want to overwhelm them by having the whole family greet them at the door with huge, scary smiles. You don’t want to introduce them to the whole family, including the pet cockatoo. What you do want to do, however, is have one designated person waiting at the home, ready to welcome and invite the guests in. As the guest enter, make them feel at home, and let them feel comfortable to roam the home, or ask if they prefer for you to give them a tour. If they seem like they rather be left on their own, let them know that you’ll be waiting at the dining room table, for example, occupy yourself with something other than stalking the poor guests. Don’t hover. This could make potential home buyers very, very nervous, and might make for an early departure. As a word of caution, be aware of people who are pretending to be potential home buyers. As strange as this may seem, this type of thing does, in fact, happen. Keep a cell phone with you, or stay close to a phone in case anything seems out of place with your ‘guests’. If you don’t feel comfortable showing the home alone, you may have someone else with you…but always out of the guests’ way. We’re not trying to assume the worst of anyone, just trying to keep you safe from frauds.
The all mighty Fact Sheet.
Something that is recommended for all home sellers to do is to have a fact sheet. What is a fact sheet, you ask? These are also known as home brochures. These are informative sheets that give information on the property, and include details such as the room sizes, number of bathrooms, square footage, and available schools in the area. Always add your phone number to these fact sheets or your Agents’ phone number if you’re working with one. Add any information that you think the potential buyer will want to know about your home. This tool will help those potential home buyers who have been looking at homes all day. You kind of want to be remembered, and not forgotten in the attic of their minds. A fact sheet will help them remember your home, the positive aspects of your home, your phone number, the house location, and other pertinent information that will help them out immensely when they’re making a final decision.
Ready. Set. GO!
You’re now ready to show your home to potential buyers. Aren’t you proud of yourself? Soon, you’ll be able to hand over your beloved home to a pair of strangers, and hopefully for a hefty sum! Good luck with your future endeavors, and remember…always put yourself in the shoes of that potential buyer…soon you’ll actually be sporting them as you find a new home for yourself and your family!