Showing Your Home

First Impressions are Lasting Impressions.
The exterior of your home often determines how buyers will view the interior, so:

  • Make sure your front entrance is clean and inviting.
  • Paint or replace your front door if it's faded or worn.
  • Add some paint to shutters, trim and any other outside features showing signs of wear.

Accentuate the Positive.
"How we live in a home and how we sell a home are often two different things." Try to see your home with a fresh perspective and arrange each room to bring out its best attributes, including:

  • Keep windows and floors clean.
  • Replace faded wallpaper and glue any areas that have come away from the wall.
  • Repair worn woodwork.
  • Repaint scarred or dirty walls in a neutral color.
  • Steam clean carpeting or replace it if necessary.
  • Repair loose knobs, sticking doors and windows, warped cabinet drawers, broken light switches and other minor flaws.
  • Check and repair caulking in bathtubs and showers.

Try to see your home with a fresh perspective and arrange each room to bring out its best attributes, including:

  • Open draperies and curtains to let the light in during the showing.
  • Remove all unnecessary clutter from your attic, basement and closets to better display spacious rooms (consider storage or a garage sale to dispose of extraneous items).
  • Arrange all your rooms neatly and remove excess furniture. Keep fresh, clean towels in the bathroom. Use candles or air fresheners to make the room smell pleasant.

Put Your Home in the best possible light.
Strategically lighting your home, even during daytime showings, can create a cozy mood and highlight positive attributes of each room, so:

  • Avoid the use of overhead lighting that makes rooms look washed out and lifeless.
  • Be creative and arrange lamps to help smaller rooms seem larger, and large rooms seem more intimate.
  • Use lighting to highlight the "living areas" of your home, such as a pair of chairs near a fireplace, or a table in a breakfast area.

Inside:

  • Clear all unnecessary objects from furniture throughout the house. Keep decorative objects on the furniture restricted to groups of 1, 3, or 5 items.
  • Clear all unnecessary objects from the kitchen countertops. If it hasn't been used for three months…put it away!
  • Clear refrigerator fronts of messages, pictures, etc. (A sparse kitchen helps buyers mentally move their own things into your kitchen.)
  • In the bathroom, remove any unnecessary items from countertops, tubs, shower stalls and commode tops. Keep only your most needed cosmetics, brushes, perfumes, etc., in one small group on the counter. Coordinate towels to one or two colors only.
  • Rearrange or remove some of the furniture if necessary. As owners, many times we have too much furniture in a room. This is wonderful for our personal enjoyment, but when it comes to selling, we need to thin out as much as possible to make rooms appear larger.
  • Take down or rearrange certain pictures or object on walls. Patch and paint if necessary.
  • Review the house inside room by room. Paint any room needing paint, clean carpets or drapes that need it, clean windows.
  • Leave on certain lights during the day. During "showings" turn on all lights and lamps.
  • Have stereo FM on during the day for all viewings.
  • Lockbox--#1 Importance: "If we don't have it, they won't show it."

Outside:

  • Trim landscaping to reveal architectural detail (bottom of windows, etc.). "If they can't see it, we can't sell it."
  • Go around the perimeter of the house and move all garbage cans, discarded wood scraps, extra building materials, etc., into the garage.
  • Check gutters and/or roof for dry rot. Make sure they are swept and cleaned.
  • Look at all plants…prune bushes and trees. Keep plants from blocking windows. "You can't sell a house if you can't see it." Plants are like children-they grow so fast!!
  • Weed and then bark all planting areas. Keep lawn freshly cut and fertilized. Remove any dead plants or shrubs.
  • Clear patios or decks of all small items, such as small planters, flower pots, charcoal, barbecues, toys, etc. (Put them in the garage).
  • Check paint condition of the house-especially the front door and trim. "Curb appeal really works!"

In General
Try to look at your house "through the buyer's eyes" as though you've never seen it or been there before. Any time or money spent on these items will bring you back more money in return, and hopefully a faster sale.

Nine Minute Showing Drill

Occasionally you will receive a call to schedule a showing to take place within the next few minutes. The following is a checklist for this type of panic:

  1. Sound: Turn off the television and tune the radio (low volume) to a soft rock, middle of the road or classic rock station.
  2. Sight: Turn on every light in the house (day or night) and open every drape and blind (day time only).
  3. Odors: Heat some frozen pastry slowly in the oven or heat a pan on the stove and then drop in a few drops of vanilla.
  4. Kitchen: Wipe kitchen counters, place dirty dishes in dishwasher.
  5. Bathrooms: Wipe counters, flush and close toilets.
  6. Living/Family Rooms: Hide magazines, newspapers, and games; remove clutter.
  7. Bedrooms: Straighten beds. Hide clutter under bed (not in closet).
  8. Exterior: Put away toys and clutter. Keep walk clear.
  9. Children & Pets: They are a distraction, so send them outside.
  10. Goodbye: Sorry, but this is the single most important thing you can do in a showing to help sell your home! Even if the showing agent insists that it is okay to stay, you must leave. Buyers must get emotionally committed to your home to buy it and they cannot become emotional about "their new home" if you, the current owners, are "hanging around." Please, at the very least, go into the backyard. Even better, go to the store.

"These are a few of my favorite things!"

Make that list now of the things you love about your home, why you bought it, and what you will miss the most.

Gather photos of that dogwood in springs, the snow-covered yard, the flowers blooming, the clean and sparkling pool, the Fall colors, etc.

One house sold because the buyer saw a photo of it in the evening decorated for Christmas, with snow on the ground.  It looked magical and he wanted to live there!

Put these items out for buyers to see. It will add dimension.

 

Fran Evola, owner of Real Estate Unlimited, is always available to consult with you on your real estate needs.   812-288-6080

Ah, clean windows - the eyes of the home!

From the outside, clean windows are an inexpensive way to add a message to buyers - that your home is loved. Buyers are usually more comfortable buying a house whose previous owners have taken care of it. Clean windows are just one small clue.

From the inside, pull back those drapes and open those blinds, even if you prefer them closed. This is how you show off the rooms to their greatest potential. Even a small room feels larger when you can see outside. Clean windows play a trick on your eyes, which don't stop seeing at the window, but continue outside. Dirty, filmy windows do stop the eye.

If you are worried about all that sun coming in, don't be. It’s cheerful and inviting. The buyers can close the drapes when they move in, but don't close off a potential sale by making your home seem like a cave!

 

Fran Evola, owner of Real Estate Unlimited, is always available to consult with you on how to improve your home’s appeal.  812-288-6080

Are you a Flower-Child?

Do you plant flowers and shrubs in a random way or strategically?

Some folks just have a "green thumb" and love to watch things grow, so they buy plants they like, bring them home and find a spot for them.

Buyers may be overwhelmed by all of your plantings. More is not always better. At least try to trim back any unruly plants. Then, emphasize the perennials and how something is always blooming. Keeping it simple may assist your sale.

Fran Evola, owner of Real Estate Unlimited, is always available to consult with you on how to improve your curb appeal.  812-288-6080

Odor control!

Nothing sours a buyer quicker than an obnoxious smell, whether it’s from moisture, smoking, pets, mold or cooking.

Ask your family and friends to tell you if they notice any unpleasant odors in your home. Then do whatever you need to do to eliminate them.

  • Moisture leads to mold and mildew odors. Consider a dehumidifier. Connect a hose to it so it can drain continuously. If you have to empty it, you won't be able to keep up. Waterproofing may be needed in drastic cases.
  • Smoking can cause odors that are difficult to get rid of, but not impossible. Cleaning all surfaces, re-painting walls, ceiling and woodwork, and cleaning the carpeting will help. You may need to wash clothing, blinds and linens, too. Dirty ashtrays, even outside or in the garage, can turn buyers off.
  • Pet odors can stop a sale. Cleaning carpets may not be enough, especially if there are stains. Consider new carpet but only if the pet can be prevented from marking this new territory. Litter boxes must have fresh litter; a small cost and inconvenience compared to cost of a delayed sale of a few weeks or months.
  • Cooking odor can permeate a house, too. Consider eating out if you crave curry, fish, cabbage, etc. But do bake breads and cookies. Leaving out a plate of cookies will keep the buyers in your home longer, giving them time to consider its possibilities.

Don't overdo the scented candles or plug-in deodorizers.

Professional assistance may be required to rid your home of odors.

 

Fran Evola, owner of Real Estate Unlimited, is always available to consult with you on how to improve your home’s chances of selling.  812-288-6080

Why do I need a Home Stager?

Your agent is a professional and expert at many things related to the sale of your property, however, your agent may not be the best person to help you arrange your furniture, select your colors, or decide which changes need to be accomplished prior to buyers seeing your home.

They can save you thousands of dollars by lowering your time on the market, reducing or eliminating objectionable aspects of your home, and enhancing its best qualities. 

They can furnish empty spaces or consult with you about items that need to be removed and packed up for your next home. 

They have a list of trusted contractors that can quickly paint or touch up walls, woodwork or cabinets, put a new finish on your outdated countertops, vanities, tile, tubs and showers, install new flooring , or clean up your yard to enhance your curb appeal.

Fran Evola of Real Estate Unlimited can provide a list of great Home Stagers to assist you.  502-445-3040

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