Preparing Your Home For Showings
It can be daunting, trying to think of everything you need to do once you have decided to sell your home in Westchester County. Let our professionals at Hire Realty put their years of experience to work for you. Here are our "Best Practices" for showing your home to its best advantage. Then give a copy of our Nine Minute Drill to all members of the house for those last minute appointments for showings.
The exterior of your home often determines how buyers will view the interior, so here are a few tips to help you showcase your home:
- Make sure your front entrance is clean and inviting.
- Paint or replace your front door if it's faded or worn.
- Add some paint to shutters, trim and any other outside features showing signs of wear.
Try to see your home with a fresh perspective and arrange each room to bring out its best attributes. You will increase your chances for positive reactions (read sale!) from your potential buyers, if you follow these tips: First, a general list to minimize easily fixed negatives:
- Clean floors and windows, then take care to keep them clean.
- Replace faded wallpaper, or if needed, glue any areas that have come away from the wall.
- Repair worn woodwork
- Repaint scarred or dirty walls - use a neutral color (think grays, whites, creams).
- Steam clean carpeting or replace if worn
- Repair loose knobs, sticking doors and windows, warped cabinet drawers, broken light switches and other minor flaws that would give Buyers a negative impression of your home
- Check and repair caulking in bathtubs and showers.
Take a fresh look at the overall interior of your home - bring in a friend or relative to provide a new perspective if necessary. Arrange each room to bring out its best attributes by doing the following, starting several days before showing your home for the first time:
- Remove all unnecessary clutter from each room, of course, but also your attic, basement and closets consider storage or a garage sale to dispose of extraneous items).
- Arrange all your rooms neatly and remove excess furniture.
- Let your buyers see how spacious each room is, and let them envision how their furniture would fit into your spaces.
- Keep surfaces clean and dusted
- Open draperies and curtains - see if something negative catches your eye, then correct it.
Accentuate the Positive
- Put a pretty bowl of fruit on the kitchen countertop, or a simple bouquet of flowers on your bathroom countertop - take care not to use heavily scented flowers.
- Have soft, unobtrusive stereo FM on during the day for all viewings.
- Keep fresh, clean towels in the bathroom. Use candles or air fresheners to make the room smell pleasant.Be careful to avoid strong scents, however, for sensitive noses
- Light up your home - open curtains, turn on lights, arrange lighting and mirrors to open up smaller rooms, use lighting to highlight the "living areas" of your home, such as a pair of chairs near a fireplace, or a table in a breakfast area.
- Keep some store bought refrigerated dough on hand, and bake a dozen chocolate chip cookies just before showing, to make your house smell amazing
The above tips are how to ready your house for a showing. Below, we have provided a couple of handy checklists to make sure you have covered all of your bases before you start showing.
- Clear all unnecessary objects from furniture throughout the house.
- Keep decorative objects on the furniture restricted to groups of 1, 3, or 5 items.
- Help your teenagers clean and organize their room.
- Even smaller rooms need to look as if there is plenty of room for the prospective buyer's belongings.
- Clear all unnecessary objects from the kitchen.
- Avoiding stuffing cupboards, however. Keep only the essential appliances, if any, on the countertops.
- Clear refrigerator fronts of messages, pictures, etc.
- (A sparse kitchen helps buyers mentally move their own things into your kitchen.)
- In the bathroom, remove any unnecessary items from countertops, tubs, shower stalls and commode tops.
- Keep only your most needed cosmetics, brushes, perfumes, etc., in one small group, or better yet in a small attractive basket, on the counter. Coordinate towels to one or two colors only.
- Rearrange or remove some of the furniture if necessary.
- As owners, many times we have too much furniture in a room. This is wonderful for our personal enjoyment, but when it comes to selling, we need to thin out as much as possible to make rooms appear larger.
- Focus on creating intimate areas that highlight architectural features - a pair of chairs in front of the fireplace, a small table in front of a window.
- Take down or rearrange certain pictures or object on walls.
- It sounds counter-intuitive, but depersonalize your walls - store family photos - prospective buyers should be able to picture themselves and their belongings, in your home.
- Patch holes and paint if necessary.
- Review the house inside room by room. Paint any room needing paint, clean carpets or drapes that need it, clean windows.
- Trim landscaping to reveal architectural detail (bottom of windows, etc.).
- Go around the perimeter of the house and move all toys, bikes, garbage cans, discarded wood scraps, extra building materials, etc., into the garage.
- Check gutters and/or roof for dry rot. Make sure they are swept and cleaned.
- Look at all plants…prune bushes and trees. Keep plants from blocking windows. "You can't sell a house if you can't see it." Plants are like children-they grow so fast!!
- Weed and then bark or mulch all planting areas. Keep lawn freshly cut and fertilized. Remove any dead plants or shrubs.
- Clear patios or decks of all small items, such as small planters, flower pots, charcoal, barbecues, toys, etc. (Put them in the garage, or have that aforementioned garage sale).
- Check paint condition of the house-especially the front door and trim. "Curb appeal really works!"
Try to look at your house "through the buyer's eyes" as though you've never seen it or been there before. Any time or money spent on these items will bring you back more money in return, and hopefully a faster sale.
Nine Minute Showing Drill
Occasionally you will receive a call to schedule a showing to take place within the next few minutes. The following is a checklist for this type of panic:
- Sound: Turn off the television and tune the radio (low volume) to a soft rock, middle of the road or classic rock station.
- Sight: Turn on every light in the house (day or night) and open every drape and blind (day time only).
- Odors: Heat some frozen pastry slowly in the oven, bake up a quick pan of cookies from premade dough or heat a pan on the stove and then drop in a few drops of vanilla.
- Kitchen: Wipe kitchen counters, place dirty dishes in dishwasher.
- Bathrooms: Wipe counters, flush and close toilets.
- Living/Family Rooms: Hide magazines, newspapers, and games; remove clutter.
- Bedrooms:Straighten beds. Hide clutter under bed (not in closet).
- Exterior: Put away toys and clutter. Keep walk clear.
- Children & Pets:If possible, you should take pets with you as you leave - and you must leave - THE SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT THING YOU CAN DO TO HELP SELL YOUR HOME, IS TO BE GONE.
- Buyers must get emotionally committed to your home to buy it and they cannot become emotional about "their new home" if you, the current owners, are hanging around. At the very least, you should go into the backyard with the kids and your pets. Even better, go to the store or go for a drive - with the kids - and your pets.
Congratulations! You are now the best prepared Sellers around! We welcome your questions. Call 914-598-2386 today!