First impressions are big. Ideally, your agent will walk you through major changes like renos, repairs and reorganizations to make your house ready to list. But here are a few basics that people overlook all the time. These can set your house apart. I’m not here to hurt your feelings, but I am going to give you some practical advice so you can present your house in the best possible light. Most are quick and easy. Ready?
1. Turn the lights on! Nothing is more welcoming than a well lit home. It’s also more pleasing for buyers to walk effortlessly from room to room without waiting for the agent to fumble around finding light switches. This is VERY effective if buyers are viewing your home after dark! Now if your showing is at 4:00 p.m. and you need to leave the house at 7:30 am, skip this one. But if you are walking out of the house half an hour before the showing, run through the house and quickly flip on the lights, especially the hard-to-find switches.
2. Wipe down your light switches (and appliances). I mean, we know that you’re supposed to have your house clean and ready for every showing (you know that, right?) But light switches are often overlooked because when we live in a house we don’t even look at them when we use them…but buyers look directly at them. Wipe ‘em down!
3. Empty your garbage cans. Bathroom and kitchen! It’s part of the overall esthetic and no one wants to see last night’s chicken carcass, your used tissues, or worse.
4. No scent is good scent! Avoid over scenting or over deodorizing. It makes people suspicious, but some people are also very sensitive to scents. If there is a smell, better to spend your time attacking the cause. House smells like dog? Figure out why. Remove the dog bed and toys. Is the kitty litter box full? Empty and clean it! Speaking of pets, it’s ideal if pets aren’t at home during showing. If the dog is barking, or if we’re worried about the cat getting out, it takes the focus off the home itself. And we’re thinking how many times did that furball pee on the carpet? In fact, it’s a good idea to tuck all pet paraphernalia out of sight so that petless buyers can see themselves in your space.
5. Close the toilet seat. Very rarely do people viewing a house look in toilets, but make sure the toilets are clean. And close the lids. It’s so much more aesthetically pleasing when the seat is down. While you’re in the bathroom, put razors and toothbrushes away. People don’t like looking at other people’s personal hygiene gear in the place where they’re trying to envision theirs.
6. Shovel the walk, eh? Because we live in Canada (and this works for you snow bound Americans, too) shovel your walk, your steps, your driveway and your back deck for winter showings. Even if you’re not using the deck in the winter, I can’t tell how big it is and neither can a potential buyer unless it’s been cleared of snow. It also makes the whole house look better cared for if there is a safe and tidy sidewalk.
All these are little things, but they can add up to a big first impression. And that’s the one that really counts!
Check back for my next blog: Emotional Value vs. Real Value of Your Home