Showing Your Home to Potential Home Buyers
Before anyone visits, prepare the home so it looks its best. Be sure your agent has placed a supply of brochures in a conspicuous location and that the brochure has a number of colored photographs that will help the buyers recall which of the houses they visited is yours.
A to-do checklist of what to do before the scheduled appointment:
- Turn on the interior lights and exterior lights if it is dusk or later.
- Turn the radio on low.
- Take out the garbage and anything with an odor (dish rags? sponges?)
- Dry the basins and sink and put any discards in the washing machine.
- Put pets in the garage in a carrier (with sign on the door) or take them for a walk.
- Take children to the park or the ice cream store.
- Leave! Sellers mean well, but their presence can do more harm than good, so leave the house and help the agent who will try to sell it for you.
- If possible, avoid cooking around the time visitors are expected. This may be a good night to take the family to the local pizza house to avoid the mess and odors.
- Call your agent to after the showing and retain the business card for your agent.
Your house should always be available for showings, even though it may occasionally be inconvenient for you. Let your listing agent put a lock box in a convenient place, to make it easy for other agents to show your home to home-buyers. Otherwise, agents will have to schedule precise appointments, which is an inconvenience. Most will just skip your home to show the house of someone else who is more cooperative.
Most agents will call and give you at least a couple of hours notice before showing your property. If you refuse to let them show it at that time, they will just skip your house. Even if they come back another time, it will probably be with different buyers and you may have just lost a chance to sell your home.
Why You Should Not Be Home
Home-buyers will feel like intruders if you are home when they visit, and they might not be as receptive toward viewing your home. Visit the local coffee house, yogurt shop, or take the kids to the local park. If you absolutely cannot leave, try to remain in an out of the way area of the house, preferably in the yard or garage, and do not move from room to room. Do not volunteer any information, but answer any questions the agent may ask.
When you know someone is coming by to tour your home, turn on all the indoor and outdoor lights – even during the day. At night, a lit house gives a "homey" impression when viewed from the street. During the daytime, turning on the lights prevents harsh shadows from sunlight and it brightens up any dim areas. Your house looks more homey and cheerful with the lights on.
Do not use scented sprays to prepare for visitors. It is too obvious and many people find the smells of those sprays offensive, not to mention that some may be allergic. If you want to have a pleasant aroma in your house, have a potpourri pot or something natural. Or turn on a stove burner for a moment and put a drop of vanilla extract on it. It will smell like you have been cooking.
If you have pets, make sure your listing agent listing states that in the multiple listing service. The last thing you want is to have your pet running out the front door and getting lost. If you know someone is coming, it would be best to try to take the pets with you while the home-buyers tour your home. If you cannot do that, It is best to keep dogs in a penned area in the back yard. Try to keep indoor cats in a specific room when you expect visitors, and put a sign on the door. Most of the time, an indoor cat will hide when buyers come to view your property, but they may panic and try to escape.
The Kitchen Trash
Especially if your kitchen trash can does not have a lid, make sure you empty it every time someone comes to look at your home – even if your trash can is kept under the kitchen sink. Remember that you want to send a positive image about every aspect of your home. Kitchen trash does not send a positive message. You may go through more plastic bags than usual, but it will be worth it.
Keeping the House Tidy and Neat
Not everyone makes his or her bed every day, but when selling a home it is recommended that you develop the habit. Pick up papers, do not leave empty glasses in the family room, keep everything freshly dusted and vacuumed. Try your best to have it look like a model home – a home with furniture but nobody really lives there.