By Todd Waller
Current real estate buyers … this post is about you.
Don’t worry; we’re not going to talk badly about you. In fact, we are going to discuss the things you do when you find ‘The Home.’ We are also going to discuss those things that sellers should be aware of when they place their home on the market to attract you to write an offer. Heck, those sellers were once buyers, right?
After 12 years of helping people buy and sell real estate, one of the most powerful things to see is a buyer walking into a home, catching their breath and knowing it is The Home. It could be the way the sun gleams off the hardwood floors or the amount of space the living room offers for a large family. If you’ve bought a home—and it was The Home—you know exactly what I mean. You entered the house and something about it caught your imagination or senses.
As a real estate agent, I love seeing that “caught breath” moment. Even more, I really love creating that moment on behalf of my sellers. When I’ve done my marketing job correctly and prospective buyers come through my seller’s home, I like to say a home becomes “sticky.” Now, when I say a home should be sticky, I am not advocating laying a Wylie-Coyote-style smear of rubber cement on the entrance hallway! No! I am talking about creating an experience for the buyers that resonates with the qualities they’re looking for in their next home.
How do you make that happen? Well, here are my ten steps to stickiness:
1. De-clutter your home: Family photos, knick-knacks, magazines, piles of papers need to be minimized if not disappear altogether.
2. Clean, Clean, Clean: Clean your home from top to bottom. I’ve seen homes get purchased due to cleanliness over price; a clean home shows the level of care that the owners possessed in their property.
3. Sparkle: Hardwood or tile floors? No matter the material, make sure those floors sparkle. Refinish hardwoods if the daily traffic has worn the shine off.
4. Light, Light, Light: If you have a dark home, buy some floor lamps. If you have blinds and drapes over your windows, open them up. If you have dirty windows, clean them! For your media gather, open house and showings, consider removing the screens from your windows. Let the light shine in!
5. Curb Appeal: Cut and trim the lawn. Weed the flower beds, heck, add flower beds.
6. Clean the Carpet: Don’t just drag a vacuum cleaner across the threads. If your carpet is older than nine months, get a professional carpet cleaner in there. You will be shocked at how much cleaner the carpet looks afterwards.
7. Refresh the Air: Animal, cooking or other possibly offensive odors need to disappear. Open up the windows, change the carpet, move the litter box, bring in some sweet-smelling flowers … do whatever you can to eliminate the odor. DO NOT over perfume the air. A heavy smell, no matter how pleasing, is an irritant and can make buyers think you are attempting to hide something.
8. Evaluate Your Home: Remember when you were looking for a home? Put yourself in the shoes of the buyer and see your home through their eyes.
9. Price, Price, Price: Even if your home sparkles so much that DTE calls you for some spare energy during peak power usage in the summer, if the property is over-priced, it will take a long time for it to move.
10. Availability: Make sure that when you list your home, agents and buyers will not have to jump through flaming hoops to see your home. If it sparkles and is priced right, another hurdle could be that that the showings are difficult to set up.
So go ahead and try some of my tips today.
Trust me; they’ll help ensure that your home gets the exposure, traffic and offer(s) needed to sell rapidly because real estate is one instance when a sticky situation is a very, very good thing.
TODD WALLER is a REALTOR® with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Snyder & Company, Realtors® in Ann Arbor, MI. Visit his website www.toddwaller.com and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.