Tuesday, March 1, 2011

When you are Selling Your Home, You have to Remember the Ultimate Customer is the Buyer... How to present your home for sale.

Lime Living Room - It's bold but not for all
When you are selling your home you have to remember that the ultimate customer is the buyer.  You as the seller are presenting the 'product' and you have to keep that in mind throughout the process.  Here are somethings that you should keep in mind when selling your home.

1.  De-Clutter, de-clutter, de-clutter  - You want prospective buyers to see the space.  Clutter makes the unit feel smaller than it is and can prevent them from getting in and out of rooms, close to the windows to see the view or seeing detail such as the moldings or the beauty of the floors.  Clutter can also be distracting.  When clients are going out on a Saturday looking at 4 or 5 units at a clip, you don't want the only thing they remember about your unit was your collection of CDs in the living room or that stack a books that you have on the floor.  Remove basically everything from the kitchen counters except for maybe one decor piece like a decorative tea pot or platter.  You want them to see how much counter space you have.  You are moving anyway.  Pack up as much of your stuff as you can and put it in storage if you have to. 

2.  Open the blinds and leave the lights on - Second to location, light is the next most important factor to most people when looking for a home.  Open the blinds, leave lights on to show just how much light your unit can get.  When I open the door to your unit and all the lights are off, that's the first impression. 

3.  Leave your home for showings - The other day I took some clients out where the Tenants insisted on being present for the showing.  My clients were incredibly uncomfortable in the unit and did not verbalize what they liked or more importantly their objections.  When clients voice objections, it gives me a chance to give them some perspective or some information to understand what the utility of a feature is.  My clients were concerned with making the current residents uncomfortable and as a result they could not get out of there soon enough.  They usually had questions about the unit, but on this one didn't ask anything.  After we finished for the day, they could barely remember the unit.  Having the owners in the unit is even worse.  In the back of their minds, they realize that if they want your unit, they would be negotiating with you which makes them even more tight lipped.  You want them talking about your home, having their questions answered so it gets on the short list. 

4.  De-personalize - Too many personal photos on the fridge or portraits are distracting and prevent the prospects from visualizing themselves in the unit.  Again, you don't want the only thing they remember about your unit are your pictures from your trip to Aruba.  It prevents them from envisioning the unit as their own.

5.  Make your Decor more Neutral - Did you spice up your living room with a bold color like purple or coral?  That's distracting.  You might want to paint that wall a more neutral color.  Again, you don't want the only thing they remember about your place is that odd piece of decor instead of how beautiful the kitchen counter tops are.

6.  Stage your place to give it that "showroom" quality - You always want to arrange your furniture in a way that creates flow, maximizes the appearance of size of the space and creates pleasing views of each room.  A good real estate agent should be able to help you stage your place.  Please don't take it personally.  It's all about presenting 'the product' in the most favorable light to prospects.

7.  Do not restrict showing times - I know it's very difficult to be out of your home during evenings and weekends.  You might have children who need to get their homework done.  You've worked all week and would like to be in your own home.  However, realize that clients will all more than likely not come back to see your unit especially if it's at a price point where there are many choices.  That is, if they have Wednesday night or a Saturday to look and they can see 5 units, they will replace yours with the next one on the list and they may never get back to yours.  Again, as the seller, you are the one offering the product for sale and you want to accommodate the buyer as much as possible.

8.  Clean your home - I almost forgot to mention this one because you'd think that most would get this without having to say it but unfortunately no.  Clean up the tile in the bathroom.  Nothing will turn someone off more than mold in the bathroom.  Dry the sinks, put out fresh towels.  If you have Tenants in your unit, you may want to send in a cleaning service once a week during the listing period.  Tenants may cooperate but they don't really care how much your get for your unit and they may not do anything in terms of cleaning on your behalf to help sell your home.  There is also a difference between how clean people keep their home vs the level of cleanliness you want when showing your unit.  Use cleaners that leave a pleasant smell - not overwhelming but pleasant.

This unit was occupied by a Tenant.  What do you think the prospects thought of this?

9.  Consider small repairs - Is there something minor that has to be repaired like a running toilet or some rust on one of the base heaters? A small but noticeable needed repair again can be distracting and it can put someone off and your unit off the short list for something very minor.  If the toilet is running, it might make them ask, "what else is wrong"?  You don't have to gut your place but make smart choices about minor repairs to get them out of the minds of prospective buyers.

This crack was from normal settling and is a relatively simple repair.  Have it done so prospects don't get hung up on it.

10.  Price - Keep in mind that housing is a market and the market will move.  Ultimately, all of the aspects of your unit are wrapped up in the price - location, light, size, layout, condition, finish level, etc.  Buyers have ready access to so much information today and no one will pay more for your unit than what the market will bear, especially if it's a condo.  Condo's are rather ubiquitous.  There are many comparison points and it's fairly easy to price your unit.  Yes, a brownstone is different and pricing is slightly more ethereal.  Continue to work with your agent on monitoring the price of your unit.  The market moves slowly but it does move.  From the listing presentation to getting the unit up on all channels with de-cluttering, staging, professional photos, creating flyers and other marketing communications, it could be 2 weeks.  After your agent has been able to do a broker's open house, a public open house and gone through a couple of good weekends (good weather, non holiday), you want to sit with your agent to discuss feedback and pricing.  Do this periodically throughout your listing and be open about changing the price.  Again, it is a market and prices do move. 

Information Provided by Donna Antonucci
Prudential Castle Point Realty


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