Open Your Home to Buyers with an Inviting Open House

OpenFrontOfHouseSMAfter a lot of soul-searching and after finally finding the right agent, your home is now on the market.  Listed.  Congratulations!  Now what?  Some people are incredibly lucky and the demand is so overwhelming that a home will sell with hardly any effort, which of course depends on location, price range, and inventory.  But that’s the fairy-tale scenario of selling a home; most sellers have to put forth an effort to entice buyers and strategically market their homes to outshine the competition.

Unless inventory is unusually low, like in the winter market (this is one of the best kept secrets in real estate—sell your home in the winter market!), your home will have to compete against other listings in similar neighborhoods and/or at comparable price points.  How will you make your home stand out? Does your home have a lengthy list of updates? Is your kitchen gourmet chef ready?  Do you have an in-law or teen suite?

Sellers don’t think in real estate terms—they have an emotional tie to their homes.  Most homes have been lived in and are loved for the memories of the time spent growing there.  It makes sense, but just because YOU love your home doesn’t mean potential buyers must love your home.  In order to sell your home you NEED them to fall in love with your home and want it to be their own.

Just because your home might not be showcase ready right now, don’t be discouraged!  Here are five simple steps you can take to prep your property in order to show it in its best light.

  • Speaking of which, take lighting into consideration.  Are the fixtures old or the light bulbs dim?  Buyers want light and airy spaces.  No one wants to buy a living room as dark as a medieval dungeon.  Go to your local hardware store and replace outdated fixtures; purchase some energy efficient bulbs.   Consider swapping out heavy curtains for sheers.
  • Clean, organize, and remove family photos.  In order to connect with the space, buyers must envision themselves living in your home.  However, it’s a bit hard when that home is cluttered with all of your personalized souvenirs.  Take time each week to start the purging process early.  Focus on a specific room and either pack it away or get rid of it (check with local charities and consider donating items in good condition).
  • Pack valuables and toys.  Buyers will be opening closets to see if they can contain their whole wardrobe or collection of sports memorabilia—don’t gamble with the chance to lose a precious family heirloom or make closets appear smaller by stuffing them full of toys.
  • Don’t underestimate a gallon (or two) of paint.  Neutral colors tend to appeal to a larger population and selling your home is a numbers game.  Freshen up a space with a new hue.
  • Scents just make sense.  That trick of baking cookies just before an open house is not a myth, buyers are extremely discerning and you don’t want to miss an opportunity because your home smells stale.  If you’re not great at baking, buy plug-in fresheners in welcoming fragrances like florals or spices.

Small efforts on the sellers’ part can make a huge impact with potential buyers come open house time.  If it is too hard for you to emotionally separate yourself from your home, ask a friend for suggestions or, better yet, ask your Realtor…that is one of the reasons why you are paying him/her!

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