Your agent needs to be skilled in showing your house. You cannot walk in with a potential buyer and set them free. You must prepare the house before a showing or open house.
Agents should make the selling process less stressful for you because they will take care of holding the open houses and showing your house to potential buyers whenever they call for a showing. If you list as FSBO, you will need to be available for all showings.
Clean. I cannot stress this enough. The number one tip? Make sure the sink is empty and floors are clean, this makes a huge difference! Do your best to maintain everything else clean and tidy. It is not realistic to live in a model home, but must you will have create a balance between your staged and lived-in home. Remember, the more you implement these strategies, the sooner you will sell and be in a new home that you can personalize!
Lights. You or your agent needs to turn on all the lights inside and outside of the house.
Bathrooms. Close toilet lids. Put away medications and toiletries that you have on the counters. Hang clean, fresh towels and put the ones you currently use somewhere else.
No pets. Do yourself and your pets a favor, and arrange in advance to have someone care for them while you’re showing the house or holding an open house. The process of selling is hard for everyone, including your furry family. When selling my house in Seattle, I was lucky that my parents lived nearby, so my two dogs stayed with them during open houses. During quick weekday showings, I would take them on a ride with me in my SUV and wait for my agent to complete the showing.
Smells. Get rid of pet or any other smells. Yes, baking cookies before a showing helps (unless you burn them)! I have done it, and it covers pet smells well (I have two German Shepherds). Other options include deep cleaning, baking soda on carpets, and spraying a mix of essential oils diluted in water.
Treats. Speaking of cookies, I always like to have a plate of cookies and small water bottles on the kitchen counter for buyers viewing the house. Put a sign that says “please help yourself” or they might not know to take one. I think it’s a nice gesture. Whenever I have been going from house to house looking at properties, I get hungry and thirsty!
Welcoming entry. How about some fresh flowers?
Put away valuables. It is not about distrusting people, it’s common sense. Help your agent by putting away jewelry and anything valuable to you in a safe deposit or elsewhere. This includes: medications, documents such as wills and insurance, medical records, etc.
Don’t stalk buyers. Once the potential buyers are welcomed into your home, your agent needs to give them space to look around, and let them know they can ask questions at any time. The agent needs to hang back and not go around saying “this is the kitchen…”
Signage. Buyers need to easily find your house. Agents need to place their for-sale sign somewhere on your property, and open house signs in various locations whenever they are scheduled.
Important! Do you want to know one of the biggest advantages of using an agent to list your home? They will serve as an objective third party when showing your house. They will be able to obtain genuine feedback during showings that a potential buyer would not feel comfortable revealing directly with a seller.
Why is this important? You will learn what is working or needs improvement. This valuable information will allow you and your agent to adjust your marketing strategy accordingly. It is imperative, then, that your agent keep track of showing activity and analyze it with you.
For example, when I was selling a home in Seattle, most buyers said they were not aware of the three levels in the townhome. Once we knew this was a concern, we updated the description on the listing and shared this item with buyers who called for a viewing.
Which brings me to another important point:
Filter buyers. Showing your home to a bunch of potential buyers isn’t necessarily what will get you an offer (or multiple). It is bringing in qualified potential buyers. A skilled agent will help filter out unqualified or indecisive buyers. She will ask about their ability to obtain a loan, if needed, and for a pre-qualified or pre-approved letter. Questions regarding their timeframe to make a decision or how long they have been looking will help determine if they are a serious buyer.
I hope this has been helpful. Please share, comment, or contact me directly. In another article we will discuss how your agent can help you prepare your house for the home inspection.