Good news. Your real estate agent just called with a buyer who would like to see your house. Trouble is, there’s only so much your real estate agent can do and it’s up to you to make your home as presentable and attractive as possible, with the goal of engaging the buyer emotionally. Here are some tips for showing your home.
First, you want the buyer to feel comfortable and welcome. Therefore, it’s best if you’re not present when the buyer is there. If you’re there, the buyer won’t feel comfortable opening closet doors and exploring and they won’t talk about the house in front of you either. Be sure the temperature inside your home is comfortable. If the weather is cold enough outside that you need a sweater in order to stay warm, the heat should be on inside your house. If it’s 80 degrees outside, the air conditioner should be running. The more comfortable it is inside your home, the longer the buyer will want to stay.
Next, do what many restaurants and hotels do, create a mood. One way to do this is by lighting a fire in the fireplace. Or you can turn on soft music. Place two champagne glasses on a table. Water fountains are an ideal way to drown out traffic noise. And be careful not to disrupt the mood you are trying to create. There’s nothing more distracting in a home than overpowering scents from plug-in air fresheners. Avoid burning scented candles and using perfumed sprays. Spring is an ideal time to open the windows and let in some fresh air. If you’re going to bake cookies or simmer spices, make sure you leave some cookies or something for the buyer to eat like finger sandwiches, cookies, soft drinks, water or a dessert and paper plates on the counter so they won’t leave disappointed. Near the snacks is the perfect place to leave pens and a stack of preprinted questionnaire cards or guest book to sign. After being fed, buyers will feel more obligated to respond to your request for information.
It’s also a good idea to play up the visuals of your home. Open the curtains or blinds to let in light and to show off a beautiful backyard. If it’s winter, place photographs that showcase your landscaping or the fall foliage in prominent positions throughout your home. And use blinds or window coverings to your advantage as well. If there’s a dilapidated fence nearby, keep your blinds partially closed so undesirable outdoor scenery isn’t as visible. You also want to showcase the inside of your home in the best possible light and the best way to do that is by turning on every light in the house, including lights in the closets as well as appliance lights. You can even brighten rooms that have few windows by strategically placing spot lights behind your furniture. Make sure you turn off the TV so it doesn’t distract the buyer.
Part of making your buyer feel even more at home is to encourage them to touch parts of your home. By draping sensuous fabrics like silk throws or velvet over arm chairs and sofas you’ll make your rooms even more inviting. Leaving doors slightly open is another way to invite the buyer to explore your home’s rooms. And in carpeted areas, vacuum in one direction for a neater appearance.
Finally, it’s important to remember that you only have a few seconds to make a good impression. Consider providing your buyer with information they may miss or may want to know by attaching printed cards to items throughout your home. In the dining room be sure to place a card on the antique chandelier your grandparents brought over from Italy that says “Not included in the sale.” Attach a card to the basement banister that warns if the steps are steep. If you’ve already moved your washer and dryer, place a card on the laundry room wall describing the room.