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Selling your home: Making your home accessible and a pleasant showing experience
A lot of people ask for advice on how to sell their homes. There is the standard good advice... You can hire a professional stager to make your home be on the level of a model home. You can retile you bathroom or install granite in your kitchen to have a little more upgrades than the one down the street for sale. You can do all kinds of things on the level of presentation. One thing I think most people overlook is making your home accessible and making the showing experience a pleasant one.
First, try to be inviting to everyone who calls on the house. It is definitely inconvenient for people to be romping through your daily lives, but it is unfortunately part of selling a home. When someone calls to see the home, say something like: "Sure, we were heading to the park, so feel free to look around." Basically, you just want them to feel like they are not bothering you. This just helps set the mood of the home being inviting instead of starting off the showing with a feeling of intrusion.
Another thing is to try to leave when potential Buyers are being shown the home. Buyers just do not feel comfortable if someone is there, and they usually rush through the home without spending some time looking at where their furniture will go or how big the closets are. In addition, if you have dogs or animals that would be distracting during the showing experience (i.e. barking or jumping), try to take them with you, or if you are at work, keep them in the backyard. Basically, let the Buyer concentrate on your home.
Also, don't give a personal tour of your home. It is hard to resist since you know the most about your home and want to share that with potential Buyers, but when it comes down to it, you want people to daydream about the overall home being theirs, not concentrate on sink faucets. You want the people to become interested in your home on a personal level, thinking of how they will go about their daily lives in your home rather than notice every detail. Noticing every detail will come later.
Also, ask your listing agent to list your house with the easiest showing instructions so that your home is accessible without much effort. Sometimes Sellers will need to make appointments due to certain situations like the elderly or newborns. But if possible, have the Buyers phone / leave a message and head to the home. Our MLS system calls it "Call 1st - Go". This makes it possible for anyone to come by, even if they were just driving by and admiring the home. You may not get much notice, but it allows these sudden-interest people to come in, and the more people that come through will give you more a chance sell it.
Talking about short notice, try to keep your home as clean as possible at all times. Many Buyers will say that they can imagine beyond a mess, but most cannot. Messy homes end up being distracting from what the home is offering. It is definitely hard to keep a model home look while trying to live in it, but it helps sell the home. And if you keep it consistently clean, then when a Buyer ends up wanting to come with short notice, you will be ready.
Also, do not use combo locks, if possible. Phoning for the combination is an extra step that may prevent the showing if the person with the combo is not available. Most MLS systems have electronic lockboxes available, which make access easy and have the added plus of logging in each agent that comes. Of course, if electronic lockboxes are not available in your area then combo locks are a good alternative to trying to arrange appointments.
The last thing is to never say no to someone requesting a showing. It can definitely be hard to prepare when someone wants to see your home, especially when you have little notice. This again is where being prepared and tidy at all times is helpful. Have a game plan prepared, especially if you have kids or animals. Many people decide to take their dog on a walk because it us a quick exit and lets the Buyers have a little time in the home to look around.
In summary, you want as many people looking at your home as possible and the showing experience to be as comfortable for the Buyers as possible. So, try to make the showing access as easy as possible and keep distractions (like animals, messiness, & even yourself) to a minimum.
About the Author: Ki Gray is a realtor in Austin with Escapeso Austin Real Estate