So You’re Listed, Now What?
Many sellers begin hustling to have their property decluttered, personal items boxed, walls painted, landscaping improved, and the repairs completed – they strive to have it showcase ready and 100% perfect for potential buyers to see their beautiful home while working hard to have the curb appeal is at its very best.
After this long process of getting the home ready and listed, the for sale sign goes up.
As a follow-up post to the recent article, ‘Why Isn’t My Miami Real Estate Selling’, this is what sellers should keep in mind once the property is listed and showings commence – in collaboration with the broker/representative, here are the most important things a seller should do once they’re ready to get the property sold:
1. Never turn down a showing.
Remember Murphy’s Law of real estate: Whenever it is most inconvenient, a potential buyer will call to come by and see your property. Allow your representative to accommodate all qualified showings.
Every showing could be “the right one.” Some buyers and/or agent reps will not, or cannot, reschedule. The more buyers who see your property and particularly, right after it hits the market means better results and speed in selling. I’ve had many listings sell or lease to the first customer showing who has been watching for a property like yours meeting their qualifications.
2. Have the lights on.
Buyers decide within 30 seconds if they like a house. Opening the door to a welcoming bright property impacts a buyer’s emotions and decision. On the flip side, a room with low light and shadows can feel gloomy. It makes you hesitate to enter.
If a house is not particularly light-filled, spend money on new lighting and at a bare minimum, replace the bulbs throughout. It pays to have all of the lights on and your representative will arrive early to turn all of the lights on throughout – the cost is low, and the effect is major. Many buyers ask for houses that are bright with sunlight so regardless, light yours up!
3. Crank that air conditioning.
If you’ve got it, flaunt it. On a hot day in Florida, entering your cool property with the air conditioning low & cold might be just the feature that gets the buyers to feel welcomed and eventually make an offer. Additionally, change the filters and spend a few hundred on a coil cleaning so when the age of the HVAC arises from inspections, you’ll be able to show the receipt and good grade even with age behind it.
4. Humor the nosy neighbors.
Neighbors are naturally curious to know all about your property sale. Chances are good that someone in the neighborhood knows someone who might be the perfect buyer for your house. Social media exposure such as Facebook and Nextdoor posts help get the word out that the neighborhood house is for sale. Count on them to show up at the open house to see how your home compares to theirs and trust their friend has a cousin who is looking to buy a home in your neighborhood.
5. Stay ‘showcase worthy.’
The cleaning and decluttering never stops. Dirty dishes, cooking odors, pet odors/toys, wet towels & products in the bathroom — all signs of normal life need to disappear.
Keep empty laundry baskets ready for quick room sweeps before showings. Make the beds, pick up toys, yesterday’s mail, toaster crumbs, cereal boxes and anything else taking up space on horizontal surfaces. Then hide the laundry baskets under the bed, in the garage, or in your car.
6. The pet can cost you $10,000.
This is no exaggeration. Sellers cancel showings every day because they can’t get home to walk the dog. Putting off showings means that your days on market (DOM) will quickly accumulate. If a property does not sell right away, buyers take that as a sign to offer less than asking.
The price of advanced preparation or possibly doggy daycare pales next to a $10,000 price drop from unseen accidents, pet hairs, and especially pet smells and incessant barking.
7. Tone down the kids’ rooms.
It pays to minimize the Paw Patrol and Princess decor no matter how well it was done. Orchid colored walls, music star posters, and stuffed animal collections broadcast that you are selling a used home. Even an adorable baby room that is just too precious can hurt a sale. Keep decor and furnishings as minimal and neutral as possible. You might have a girl whereas the buyer may have a boy so think neutral or you take a big risk on your child’s decor being a perfect match for the buyer and their family.
In return for letting you box up and store their personalized decor, let the kids begin planning on how they’ll soon be decorating their own rooms in your next new home.
8. Keep your valuables safe.
In 17 years as a Realtor, I have never known sellers who have had items stolen at a property showing or open house, but it happens often. Buyers will look over the photographs that you leave out. They will open your medicine cabinets, drawers, and closets. Guns should be unloaded and locked away – hiding your valuables in the drawer or closet is not secure.
Don’t create temptation by leaving trinkets or cameras on the coffee table, diamond earrings on the dresser, or prescriptions in the bathroom. Get a safe and lock the valuables away.
9. Don’t get sued.
Get rid of tripping hazards, like toys left out, water spills, or slippery rugs. Make sure flooring is not loose or uneven, particularly on stairs, terraces, and decks. Mark concerns that are hard to see with bright tape or some shiny indicator. Use mats, and put towels down when it rains.
Sounds obvious? Many sellers may not bother but in today’s litigious society, it pays to be extra cautious.
10. Make yourself scarce.
Innocent questions from buyers can cost you a lot and sellers tend to talk a lot, even if they do not plan to. Chatting with buyers is more likely to hurt the sale price than help you sell. Yes, you know your property best but this is not always an advantage. If they ask “who cleans your HVAC, septic, or your chimney?” — you’ll feel obliged to disclose if you haven’t had it cleaned for years. If they ask about the neighbors, what do you tell them about the crazy man next door who complains about your kids? Your best bet is to leave when showings occur.
After they fall in love, let the seller’s disclosure do the talking.
11. Don’t let buyers make you nuts.
Buyers can be inconsiderate. They show up super late for appointments, or after waiting several hours, don’t show up at all. They may track dirt in upon entering and fail to remove their shoes. They may also look through drawers, closets, and your refrigerator inspecting and dissecting the property. As a negotiation tactic, they will on some occasions make absurd or insulting comments about the property that can simply hurt a homeowners’ feelings.
Selling a property is a business – your broker representative should handle the buyers with precision until it is time to hand them the keys.
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