Now, just a few words about showing your home to potential buyers. As I mentioned previously most buyers are going to see your home on the internet but ultimately a truly interested buyer is going to want to see your home in person. That means your home is always “on stage” during the selling period. Just as staging, photos and videos of your home are important tools in the selling process, having you home looking in tip-top shape at all times is an important tool. As fate always works, the one time you home is in shambles is the one time an out-of-town buyer will be in town. I know one seller that makes it a point to go through her home every day, checking every room, to make sure the entire home is clean and tidy. She doesn’t want to be caught flat-footed in case someone wants to show her home while she is at work. I agree that this is enormous work; I remember doing it for my own home when I was selling it and it was a real pain, but do you want to lose out on a buyer because the sink is full of dishes and your teenager’s room looks like a hurricane just went through? Just commit to the extra work and get a by-in from every member of the family to help. Staying on top of the mess is the easiest way to reduce the amount of time spent keeping it picked up.
Open houses are another way to have your house seen. I will probably get shot for saying this, but most open houses don’t result in the immediate sale of your home. Most open houses are a way to get your home seen by prospective buyers who aren’t working with agents. I hold open houses all the time and they are of great benefit for my business however they don’t often result in an offer that day for the home I am showing. What an open house can do is provide feedback from potential buyers on the strengths and weaknesses of your home versus your competition. Use the open house as a learning tool and adjust your price, staging or listing as necessary. After every open house your agent should be able to provide you some feedback in the form of comments from people attending the open house. Make sure you discuss this feedback with your agent.
I am very adamant that all parts of your home be available for buyers to view. Along with this, sorry but you and your family, pets and whatever have to be gone from the home during a showing. I understand that sometimes showings come up at the last minute while you are at work, but if you know in advance that someone is coming to see your home, get out. I have been to open houses and showings where the owners are present or rooms are unavailable to view because pets are locked inside. It sounds a little harsh, I have a pet also, but believe me she would not be home if I had advance notice of showing. I visited one house where the owners were having a family pool party during the showing. There was food and dirty dishes all over the kitchen. The beds were piled high with changes of clothing for the swimmers. The pool was full of kids playing and adults lounging in the sun. Frankly I couldn’t get out of the house fast enough. I felt like I was crashing a party rather than looking at a new home. I have also viewed homes with rooms closed off because a relative was resting or a pet was lock up. Since I couldn’t view the entire house I wasn’t sure if the owners were trying to hide something or not and those houses went to the bottom of my list quickly. If you have pets and the showings will be while you are at work, check with a kennel or vet in your area, some of them offer a pet daycare option so your pets are looked after professionally and prospective buyers can look at everything in your home.
I have said it before, and I will say it again, you have to find a way to make your home stand out from the crowd and let a buyer envision the home as their own. These are the secrets to successful home selling.