Upon viewing the listing for your home in Stony Plain, Spruce Grove, Parkland County or the Edmonton area, buyers will want to take a tour. As buyers are thorough when it comes to inspecting a potential home, you will want to keep everything in order at all times. While it may be inconvenient to be especially tidy during this time, you will reap the rewards by presenting your home in the best possible light. When your home is clean, organized and in show condition, it will stand apart from the many others a potential buyer has seen.
The first step to making your home ready for showtime is a lock box. This device makes showing your home very convenient. Other REALTORS® can show your home, without having to locate the key each time, or making an appointment. Your REALTOR® will place your house key inside this box and attach it to a convenient area on your home. Only REALTORS® bonded and approved by the local real estate board have an assigned code to access this box. Codes are changed each month. The box also records the codes of the REALTORS® who have recently visited your home.
Your home should always be available for viewing. Most agents will call you and give you a few hours notice prior to showing your home. Be cooperative and unless absolutely unavoidable, do not cancel the showing. Buyers like to see a home as quickly as possible. This, however, works to your advantage. When a buyer sees a home quickly and likes it, you will get an offer sooner, rather than later.
Buyers like to have complete access to your home. Some, however, may feel reluctant to view your home as thoroughly as they would like if the seller is home. When you give buyers the opportunity to fully explore your home, you are sending a positive message – you have nothing to hide. When your home is being shown, take yourself out for coffee, go shopping, or take the kids to a park. If you have to be at home, be sure to remain in one room and out of the way. While it is appropriate to greet buyers at the door, do not volunteer any information. Simply say, “nice to see you,” and let your REALTOR® handle it from there.
Prior to the buyer's arrival, turn on all the indoor and outdoor lights – even during the day. At night, a well-lit home creates a lived-in, warm impression when viewed from the street. In full light, during the day, full lighting diminishes the harsh shadows created from sunlight. In full view, your home looks inviting, welcome and ready for a new buyer.
Avoid using scented sprays. They tend to be very obvious and in most cases, too overpowering. A buyer may get the wrong idea. Many people also have allergies. For a pleasant aroma you can choose to have a potpourri pot simmering. Even better, keep the pot simmering throughout the entire time your home is listed. It’s a simple matter to keep a potpourri pot filled with water and fragrance, rather than scrambling each time a buyer visits. You might forget this important element to a successful sale. Another idea is to prepare some baking (either yourself or from a bakery) such as cinnamon rolls, or other bread product. Put these unbaked pieces in the freezer. Before you head out for coffee, set your oven on a low temperature (275 – 300 C) and let the baking warm your home. When you get home, after an hour or so, you will have fresh baking waiting for you.
Be sure to advise your REALTOR® of any pets you own. If possible, try and have a neighbour or family member board your pet while you are showing your home. Pets may become confused and disoriented in the presence of visitors. When you are out of the house during the showing, perhaps you can take your pet with you.
If your pet has to remain at home during the showing, try to keep it contained in the backyard (for dogs), or perhaps a specific room for indoor cats. Be sure to post a sign on the door, in consideration of your visitors, and the cat. Frequently, noise and unfamiliar people frighten cats. They usually hide until things are back to normal. Some however, may panic and try to escape.
Remove all garbage
Be mindful of the kitchen and bathroom areas, the places where buyers tend to scrutinize the most. Be sure these areas are clean and disinfected prior to showing. All garbage should be removed, even if the garbage is kept under the sink. Buyers look everywhere. Kitchen garbage bags are an inexpensive item when you are considering the impression you want to make on a potential buyer.
Keep your home tidy and organized
While it will take more effort than normal, keep your home clean and organized throughout the listing period. It is definitely worth it to get up a few minutes earlier to make the bed and wash the dishes. Pick up papers. Organize the mail. Throw out magazines or stack them neatly on the shelf. Dust and vacuum as frequently as you can. You want your home to look its best any time a potential buyer visits and that could be at only an hour’s notice.
[Read my blog articles on home staging: "Home Staging Starts With De-cluttering" and "Be Your Own Home Stager".]