Susan Fung's Blog
Although preparing your house for a real estate showing can be hectic, there are ways to make it easier and less stressful. One source of stress for many people is that nagging feeling that they're forgetting to do something important.
Admittedly, overlooking some things could result in lost sales or even lost valuables, but a little advance planning and organization can help prevent those problems from happening.
The solution is to create a checklist of important reminders and tasks you have to complete before leaving the house. Your real estate agent will provide helpful guidance and tips on effectively preparing your house for showings.
Putting Your Best Foot Forward
When your house is up for sale and it's being actively marketed, appointments with prospective buyers are sometimes made on the spur of the moment. While real estate agents will be scheduling the appointments and conducting the tours, it's up to you to ensure that your home is always in tip-top condition. Hopefully, you'll be able to enlist your family's help in picking up clothes, putting dirty dishes in the dishwasher, and cleaning up after themselves. If you have small children, they will undoubtedly need assistance in putting away their toys and making their bedrooms look civilized! Here are a few guidelines to keep in mind when getting ready for house showings:
- Cleanliness (or a lack thereof) will be one of the many things that house hunters notice. While your house may meet their requirements for number of bedrooms, bathrooms, and overall layout, they could quickly lose interest if your floors, countertops, and sinks are visibly dirty.
- Pets can be a potential issue if your home is scheduled for a showing. Not only can dogs be a distraction if they bark a lot or have other undesirable behaviors, but some people are allergic to dogs and cats. The ideal solution is for a friend, family member, or neighbor to take care of your dog while the house is being shown. Unfortunately that's not always possible. Sometimes confining your dog to a fenced-in back yard (briefly) or a comfortable crate that they're accustomed to may be a viable, short-term solution. Several factors would come into play, including the weather, the temperament of your dog, and whether it's going to bother the neighbors by being outside.
- Doing your best to eliminate clutter throughout the house is another strategy for making the best possible impression on potential buyers.
Protecting Your Valuables and Privacy
Another priority that some homeowners forget is to hide valuables, such as jewelry, mobile devices, checkbooks, and cash. It's also a good idea to make sure your computers are password-protected, and that you turn them off before leaving the house. If you have any concerns about security during home showings, you might want to hide computers, personal items, and yesterday's mail in a secure place. Although most people touring your house will only be interested in its features, décor, and condition, it's always good to exercise a little caution when opening your house up to the public.
Whether you're looking to buy a house or sell one, a helpful saying to keep in mind is the one about recognizing a duck:
"If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, and looks like a duck, then it's a duck!" As silly as that expression may be, there's a lot of wisdom in its message.
The reason it applies to real estate transactions is that people sometimes tend to overlook, justify, and gloss over potential or actual problems that need to be dealt with (and not ignored). Here are some examples, as they relate to home sellers and buyers:
Selling a home: As a home seller, one of the most important things you can do to make your home more appealing and marketable is staging. Not only is it beneficial to apply a fresh coat of paint where needed, but parts of your home may need to be repaired, upgraded, touched up, or cleaned.
One false assumption home sellers sometimes make it that prospective buyers won't notice or care about broken tiles in the bathroom, peeling paint on the front steps, cracks in the ceiling, or mold in the basement. While there are a lot of factors that help sell a house quickly or cause it to linger on the market for months, sometimes it's the little things that can impact the desirability of a house. If there's an imperfection, flaw, or cosmetic problem in your home that you've been noticing for months or years, there's a good chance prospective buyers will take note of it, too.
Whenever you can affordably correct a cosmetic problem in your home or property, it will usually be to your advantage as a home seller. If the problem looks like it could be a potential deal breaker, there's a chance it will be.
When you need an objective opinion on matters such as home staging, curb appeal, or increasing the marketability of your home, an experienced real estate agent is often your best source for advice and guidance.
Buying a home: There are a lot of factors that need to be evaluated when searching for your ideal home. While optimism is an essential state of mind to cultivate when you're navigating the sometimes bumpy road of house hunting, it's also important to balance that positive attitude with a drop of caution and skepticism. If you get too caught up in the excitement of buying a new house, you might miss red flags along the way that could lead to future problems or expenses.
By hiring a reputable property inspector to check everything in the house from structural integrity to the condition of mechanical systems, you can be alerted to potential safety hazards, possible water damage, malfunctioning electrical circuitry, and dozens of other issues that need to be identified, and hopefully resolved, before you become the new owner of a house.