Spring and summer weekends play hosts to many open houses and showings in the real estate world. Buyers go out on the hunt for the perfect property while sellers get busy sprucing up their properties to sell fast. My post for this week focuses more on the sellers with a checklist they can use to for their open house or showings. The items range from the most obvious to those that may often get overlooked.
Your home and the way you set it up is highly personal decision, however, a potential buyer will not want to see the property in a personalized way. Personal affects such as photos, personal use items, toys etc. may create hinderances for the buyers mentally seeing themselves moving in. To depersonalize - or neutralize - your house, start by removing all personal items. Clean out clothes and shoes from closets (tip: for the stuff you cannot pack away, consider putting them in boxes to create a more visually clear space), minimize family photos, remove personal toiletries from the bathroom, put away toys and pet items. Secure valuables to avoid unnecessary unpleasantness should a mishap occur. Take magnets and pictures off of the fridge and invest an extra few minutes in clearing out/organizing the inside. The goal here is to create a neutral space potential buyers can see themselves moving into.
2. Deep Clean
This step should be taken the moment it is decided that you want to sell your house and maintained over the period of time until the sale is finalized. A deep clean includes cleaning all the nooks and crannies of the house, things that might be overlooked in regular everyday cleaning. The bathroom and kitchen are definitely the best places to start off with. Wipe down cabinet doors, door knobs, light fixtures, wall baseboards etc. Clean all mirrors and windows and give the house a good dusting. Last but not the least, focus on the garage and basement. Sweep the garage and look for any cobwebs. The garage should preferably be empty but if not, organize the things so that everything has a place and potential buyers can have a sense of the size. For the basement, look for signs of mold, water seepage or cracks in the foundation. While deep cleaning the house, it is a good idea to look for the little things in need of attention along the way; wobbly doorknobs, leaky faucets, fused lightbulbs – little things that will help in giving a good overall impression of your house.
In real estate open houses and showings, the phrase ‘less is more’ holds great value. The less crowded a house is, the more it gives potential buyers a sense of the space they will acquire. However, this is easier said than done! For this, tackling the house room by room might be the best way to go. In the kitchen, clear up the counter space by removing appliances and such, put away dish drying racks and sponges, pack away dishes and utensils. Clear counter spaces in bathroom as well, remove whatever toiletries their may be. Relocate or reorganize furniture in living and family rooms, focusing on the main functionality of the room. Limit the number of cushions and decorative pieces. Overall, give buyers a neutral atmosphere that does not distract them from the actual house.
Before every open house or showing, create an inviting ambience in the house before leaving. Set the thermostat to a comfortable degree depending on the weather. Turn on all the lights and open up blinds and curtains. If possible, put on some soft music. Spray air freshener or light up a candle for a pleasant smelling environment. Creating an ambience requires targeting all the senses. This ends up making the visitors leave with a pleasant feeling, definitely making them remember your house while considering their choices.
5. Curb Appeal
The exterior of your house will be the first thing a prospective buyer will see and more often than not, is the deciding factor in whether they will go ahead and view the inside of the house. No matter how much you work on the interior of the house, if the outside does not impress, your potential buyers will decrease. This makes the curb appeal of your house the most important thing when it comes to presenting your house for sale. Walk outside and take a good look at your house. Note down all the things that need your attention. Mow your lawn and trim shrubbery to create a clean look. Clean the porch area and exterior of windows. Wipe down the front door and check if the hardware needs replacing/fixing. Finally, create a clear pathway to your house (fix walkways if any/needed) to give visitors unhindered access to your property.
Of course there can be many other things that may require attention in your household, I have just listed a few major things that you can do to make your open house/showing a success. Having a checklist is a fast and easy way of reminding yourself of the things that need to be done before you leave the house. The pointers above may help you create one according to your property and needs.