Congratulations! You’ve listed your home with a great real estate agent, and are eagerly awaiting loads of visitors to show up to your open house.
But wait. Inviting potential buyers into your home isn’t as simple as tidying up the shelves, vacuuming the floors, and dusting the knickknacks. Your agent should have a plan in place to make sure all the rooms are in showable condition.
“Many agents think it is the responsibility of the seller to ready the home for showings, but this is not the case,” said Diane Cannon with our Laguna Beach office. “I always arrive early to my showings to check the home’s current condition and enhance each room.
“I lived and learned and truly understand how important this process is. Today I see and experience homes on the market that are not adequately presented to potential buyers. It’s easy to see that this is not the best way to present a home for sale.”
Selling a home is a lot like selling a car, according to Diane. People turn to the “Kelley Blue Book” method of pricing used cars. If an owner takes very good care of an automobile, with regular detailing, low mileage, timely service visits, and little or no body damage, that owner achieves the highest Blue Book value, plus a very enthusiastic buyer and smooth transaction.
Homes are more complicated, but the presentation to the buyer is similar. To obtain top dollar, the home must be “show ready.”
How does your listed home go from “no show” to “show ready”? Diane and her longtime design consultant Clark Collins of Collins Design & Development, have developed a five-step process for doing just that. Here are some of Clark’s tips to keep in mind when selling your home:
You typically have one opportunity to make a good first impression. You’re going to be moving anyway, so prior to your first showing, do some serious packing and purging. If possible, get a small storage unit where you can store boxes and other items you won’t need in the near future. If a storage unit isn’t a possibility, store items in a friend’s garage. A home that is nicely “edited” and free of clutter will show beautifully to prospective home buyers.
Use this as an opportunity to clean out cabinets, drawers, and even the garage. If it’s too daunting to consider doing this yourself, hire a professional company to do it for you.
Repair broken doors, cabinets and window hardware; replace missing screens, fix minor plumbing and electrical problems, etc. These items are going to show up on the home inspection, so you might as well address them.
Make sure all the exterior lighting is in working order, purchase new doormats, remove weeds from the garden, clean out rain gutters, give the lawn a fresh mow, and consider planting some colorful flowers in the front yard.
If a complete paint job is too daunting, think about hiring a painter for a few hours to do touchup on walls, trim, molding, and cabinets on the interior and exterior. Finally, consider bringing in fresh-cut flowers, ferns, or orchids. If you feel inclined, set the table.
Remember, prospective buyers will decide in the first few minutes inside your home whether it’s the one for them. Give it your best shot!