First impressions are important, especially when it comes to selling a home. Ideally, you want prospective buyers to easily picture themselves living in the space, which means that they shouldn't see evidence of you there.
Here are the best ways to make your home appear accessible without sucking all the personality out of it at the same time. Each one of these tricks can lead to a higher selling price!
1. Hide All Personal Photographs
The easiest way to get people imagining themselves living in a home is to remove the items that specifically show somebody already has a lot of memories there. You don't want them looking at pictures of you and playing detective with your life. Spend a few minutes taking down any pictures of your family, pets and any homemade art hanging on the refrigerator.
2. De-Clutter and Minimalize
To make your home a blank canvas, you need to get almost all of your personal belongings out of there. Plan to get about 75 percent of your possessions out of the home, because your Velvet Elvis and art deco furniture are only going to remind a prospective buyer that they're in a stranger's home. We recommend renting a storage locker and hauling most of your items away. If that's not an option, take everything and neatly stack it in the garage, basement, or other out-of-sight storage area.
3. Tantalize the Senses
The senses can play a huge role in the decision process of buying a home. You want to stimulate these senses without committing to a specific "personality."
Sound: Play soothing sounds as opposed to fast-paced or loud music. The best way to find "neutral" relaxing music is to check out the spa channel on the television. Spa music stimulates the auditory sense of relaxation.
Scent: Mask any lingering or stale odors by placing fresh cut flowers in a few places around the home. Lilacs, lilies, and peonies are especially good at masking odors. Another classic trick is to pop some cookie dough in the microwave for a few minutes, which helps conjure up memories of comfort.
Tip: Never spray Lysol or other imitation scent products, because that usually makes people think you're coving something up. Also, if you have a cat litter box, get it out of the house! Cat pee doesn't really help sell a home as much as you might think.
Sight: Place a bowl of snacks or cookies in plain view and then leave a note letting prospective buyers know that waters are available in the fridge. Make them feel at home! You want prospective buyers to spend as much time in the home as possible. A few laughs in a kitchen while enjoying some cookies and refreshments can go a long way!
Occasionally, one can see "For Sale By Owner" signs, and some owners think that selling their own home will not only save them money, but believe they have an advantage over the sellers that have their home listed by a reputable Real Estate sales professional. Before you decide to take on this very important and legally complicated process…remember not even most Real Estate Lawyer's recommend selling your own home yourself in today's market. Here are a few of the reasons why:
1. You are limiting your exposure to potential buyers (less than 10% of what a good real estate broker will generate) which theoretically means your home will take ten to fifteen times longer to sell on the market.
2. The longer a home is on the market the lower the selling price is. Why? Because most buyers think that if the home has not sold after this long... there must be something wrong with the home.
3. The selling/buying process begins AFTER the buyer leaves your home. Most sellers think that all it takes is for someone to see their home, fall in love with the great decor... and the offer automatically will follow. Remember that the buying process begins after they leave your home. If a real estate sales representative does not represent the buyer, and they are looking on their own…they usually leave the home and start to talk themselves out of the buying process. Real estate professionals are trained on how to overcome buyers remorse--a very common occurrence.
4. Because of the limited exposure you will very likely end up with a lower selling price. Remember, in order to generate the highest price possible for your home… selling means exposure. You need the maximum exposure possible, to generate the highest price possible.
5. Most buyers find it extremely awkward to negotiate or even to talk directly with sellers and therefore avoid FSBO properties.
6. Lack of negotiating experience and lack of pertinent information often will result in a lower selling price, or worse yet, a bungled contract and possible lawsuits.
7. The majority of qualified buyers are working with experienced real estate professionals.
8. Many serious buyers will pass by a FSBO home merely because they recognize that it is not in the real estate mainstream, this can some times make them wary.
9. As most local buyers now retain an experienced real estate sales person to represent them as their buyer-agency, you will probably be negotiating against an experienced professional.
10. Expected savings in broker's fees will also be greatly reduced if you offer a selling commission to entice real estate sales representatives to bring potential buyers.
11. If you are planning to use a Lawyer to help you negotiate the offer, then your lawyer's fees will be considerably higher.
12. Only real estate sales representatives have access to the up-to-date market information. News reports cannot approach the timeliness or specificity available to real estate sales people. Further, real estate sales representatives are involved in home sales much more frequently than the average homeowner is. This familiarity leads to a degree of expertise that provides an edge on negotiating and successful selling.
13. You only pay the commission to the real estate broker, if they successfully sell your home at the price you are happy with.
14. Accepting an offer is one thing, ensuring a safe and successful closing is quite another. Real estate transactions usually always have problems on closing. At times, expecting the Buyers and Sellers Lawyer's to fight it out or resolve the problems, can sometimes mean the deal is lost. This is the time that your experienced real estate professional, can be the most important. Your Real Estate professional can act as a great mediator. Lawyers MUST act only on their client's instructions and are not paid to negotiate.