Preparing a Home for Sale
Preparing your home for sale is about setting a stage so potential buyers can feel at home. This requires that the sellers take on the mindset of buyers and to de-personalize their home so that the home does not look like it could only belong to the sellers. Think “model home staging”. My advice to the sellers is to preview a model home and then compare the sellers’ home to the model home. What makes a model home so appealing?
The sellers need to set their intention that they are moving and should begin packing away their personal items and reduce clutter before the home is listed. When potential buyers look at a home, they need to be able to envision their life and their family within the walls. Often times the sellers art collections, personal knickknacks and family photos dominate the home, which interferes with the buyers ability to see themselves in the home. Eliminating excess furniture in each room requires letting go of the sellers world and opens up the opportunity for the buyers to visualize their lifestyle. Wall to wall furniture and extra tables, ottomans and chairs make the space appear smaller. Sellers should pack away as much as possible, leaving only the things that they require for daily living in the home. It is best to store boxes off premises. The buyers are often negatively influenced by a cluttered garage full of moving boxes.
Here are some exact quotes from buyers who have recently toured some of the Aldea homes currently on the market:
“Unfortunately, the homeowners have so much “stuff” in each room, that it’s a hard to see the actual flow of the home.”
“The over decorated home obviously belongs to an interior designer who has nowhere else to store all these props. You can’t see the home for all the clutter.”
“The massive amount of art on the walls was overwhelming. I dismissed touring this home based on the MLS photos. Now that it is empty, the home looks so much better. They should replace the MLS photos with ones that show off the house, not the art collection.”
“The constant barking of the seller’s 4 dogs was deafening. It was the worst showing I have ever encountered.”
Once the home is on the market, the sellers are in a new stage of “living in a showroom” so be prepared to show at all times. First impressions are lasting impressions. The outside of the house should look well kept, including a front entry with welcoming bench and some seasonal plants help create a sense of warmth. Keep the home clean and tidy. Keep the kitchen sink empty, beds made, laundry in the hamper and bathroom vanities clear.
When I host an open house, I simmer in a pot of water, 2 sliced lemons, 3 large sprigs of rosemary with a tablespoon of vanilla on the stove, prior & during a showing. The aroma freshens up the house without those dreadful chemical sprays. If at all possible, have some low volume soothing music playing softly in the background. Sellers can create a welcoming ambiance when buyers come through on a tour, by having small bottled water available and perhaps a snack such as granola bars.
I strongly suggest that the sellers and their pets leave the premise during a showing. This allows the potential buyers to peacefully ponder all of the possibilities that the home has to offer without feeling pressured or intrusive.
There is a very strong drawback for sellers insisting that their listing agent be present during a showing. In my experience, every time a listing agent has been present, the buyers do not stay very long, it takes the “private” out of showing, takes the comfort out of atmosphere, shortens the study of the property, as the buyers feel they can not express their thoughts or feelings comfortably. The sellers who insist that their listing agent be present, do not realize that this actually decreases their chances of sale. The sellers increase their chances of sale by allowing the property to be on a lockbox. Lockboxes can be set for specific hours and specific days.
If the buyers like the home, I usually invite them to sit in the kitchen, living room and in the outdoor portals, taking in the ambiance and views. I want the buyers to visualize how they would live, how they would decorate, utilizing the spaces with their lifestyle. Hanging out on the portals, sitting, relaxing, conversing and getting the feel for the home, helps buyers visualize their life in the home. When buyers return for a second showing, it is a strong sign that they are seriously considering making an offer.
It is a stressful time for sellers when their home is “on the market”. Home tours become an invasion of privacy, which is why sellers need to pack up their personal belongings and neutralize the home. The home should be on display, not the sellers lifestyle. The best way to ease the sellers stress, is to adjust the sellers mindset to living in a “staged home” and let go of living in the home as a “homeowner”. The average Aldea home on the market ranges from 14-155 days, a short time in the length of home ownership.
Dianne McKenzie, Associate Broker, Equity New Mexico
Stop by for Aldea Listings & Map on Aldea Plaza at19 Plaza Nueva • Cell: 505.603.9300
www.RealEstatePropertiesSantaFe.com • Equity ABQ Office: 505.291.0500
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