Dear Seller, What Does A Buyer Think About Your Home?

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

When a buyer is home shopping, they will often see numerous homes a day. Because there is often a mad-dash between potential homes, it is very important that your home has a great first impression. To do this, you need to de-personalize the home. It’s time to say goodbye to your daughter’s bright pink walls and to remove the 450 family photos off of the mantle. Why? Sometimes, when a buyer strolls through a home, they picture the current owner and have  a hard time visualizing the changes they can make if the current features are over the top or ‘in their face’. Make sure your first impression counts!

Outside:Curb appeal is huge. If you are a condo owner, you can’t do a whole lot in this area, but try to make sure your outside lights have working bulbs, replace the entry mat, and keep your walkway swept (or shoveled.) As a homeowner, try to keep unsightly trash bins out of the way, children’s toys picked up, and the lawn mowed. Sometimes, fresh stain or paint can perk a home up and create an inviting environment. Check that the doors all open and close smoothly, and all the locks are in working order. Do you have more than one car? Find somewhere else (the garage, work) to park for the day of the showing.

Inside: If the buyer accepts the outside of the home, you want to be sure they love the inside. It’s tricky, especially if you are still living in your home. Try to keep the home orderly; no dirty dishes, children’s toys put away, beds made, closets closed. This is important because if they buyer sees your home in complete shambles, they may think, “how has this person cared for the rest of the home? Have they ignored nagging problems like leaky roofs or moldy floor tiles?”

It is also important to keep your place neutral. Brightly colored walls may suit your tastes, but a neutral color is going to appeal to a wide range of buyers. Try replacing the carpeting or flooring that is worn out and dated.

Appeal to the senses! I know one woman that baked cookies in the morning if she knew there was a showing that day, just to make sure the home had an inviting smell. Watch out for pets; when you live with them, you usually can’t smell them, but folks who maybe don’t own a dog or cat often find the smell offensive. Make sure the blinds are in working condition for a  bright, open atmosphere, and the floors are vacuumed so the buyer does not have the unfortunate experience of feeling yesterday’s cheerios or the dog’s food underfoot.

Lastly, Depersonalize. This is often the hardest thing to do; we all love having family photos and cute nick knacks around the home.  However, having these objects around may stop a buyer from visualizing themselves in the home. Try to create a bright, open environment. It may feel bare to you, but it will allow the buyer to visualize their own belongings in the space.

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