Guest blog by Margaret Owens.
Showcasing a property before selling has become an indispensable activity for all who want a quick sale. But an open house done right has yet another benefit: good presentation often leads to a better price and higher profit for the seller. So, what should homeowners and agents alike do to prepare for an upcoming open house? First, they should avoid showcasing mistakes that can sabotage the sale of even the nicest home.
Avoiding home showcasing altogether
Homeowners often worry that staging will cost them too much and that, in the end, it isn’t worth the price. However, there is no need for your clients to hire a high-class home staging expert if they can’t afford it. As a real estate agent, you should be able to provide sufficient information and explain the benefits of showing their homes to potential buyers. If homeowners have enough time to do research, they can learn a lot about home staging tricks on their own, as numerous free online resources are at their disposal.
Overdoing the home staging
If showcasing homes was that easy and simple, every slightly creative soul would do it. But it isn’t. A truly successful open house goes beyond decorating and creating an atmosphere – the trick is striking a balance. Ideally, a home ready for showcasing should not be overdesigned, overdecorated, nor full of personal items. Perfumes and music might seem like a good idea, but it’s not the case. From the buyer’s perspective, strong air fresheners and music during the open house are a turn-off. They invite suspicion as they might be used to mask unpleasant scents and noise. This is something no one would want in their new home.
Forgetting to declutter and store away excess belongings
Decluttering and depersonalizing the living space is the next step toward successful showcasing. Storing away unnecessary belongings, including furniture, is a part of the preparation for sale and often a part of the seller’s moving process. But decluttering and storing away doesn’t mean showing things in drawers and wardrobes at the last minute. When house hunting, storage space is almost equally important as living areas, and buyers would want to get a feel of it. Opening built-in closets only to show the chaos within can deter the potential buyer for good. Instead, advising the homeowner to rent a nearby storage unit will allow them to keep only the belongings most necessary for showcasing. And, once the home is sold, owners will have less to pack or store for relocation.
Not bothering to deep clean before showcasing
After decluttering, homeowners should invest in deep cleaning services or take the time to clean their homes thoroughly. Having pets around, being a smoker or a cooking enthusiast invites additional cleaning tasks. Washing carpets, curtains, decorative pillows, and upholstered furniture is among the top priorities, right after cleaning the kitchen and bathroom. You never know if a buyer is allergic, and you shouldn’t risk it. As you’re not accustomed to the odors in the home you’re showcasing, you should offer to conduct a test and try to detect any unpleasant smells.
Conducting the open house as a seller
One of the greatest mistakes when showcasing a property is doing it from the position of a seller. True, no one knows the home better than the owner, but that is precisely the problem. Buyers will simply not feel comfortable enough during the viewing. They won’t be inclined to ask questions that they would ask an unbiased professional without emotional investment, like their real estate agent. Buyers will never feel sure they were told the whole truth about the home’s possible downsides if they only get information from the owner. Finally, sellers might unconsciously sabotage their own home sale by relating information that isn’t in their best interest. This is why an agent should insist, in the seller’s best interest, to conduct the showcasing alone.
Disregarding house maintenance
Before focusing on home design trends that attract buyers, home sellers should point their attention to resolving any structural issues in their house. Neglecting such issues can quickly show, and, in the long run, will cost them more with every passing day. But maintenance doesn’t focus solely on the house – it extends to the lawn, yard, and driveway, too. A well-kept home also includes excellent landscaping and curb appeal, but agents should consult with the sellers before they start working on their home. This is the time to offer some tips on how the seller can boost the property value while repairing their home and save some time (and money) in the process.
Overlooking lighting and home temperature during viewing
To present a home in the best light, a seller should be advised to (literally) turn on all the lights. They should double-check all the fittings, change the burned-out bulbs, and leave all the lights on for when you arrive with a buyer. Moreover, sellers should ensure that every area in the house is at room temperature regardless of the season. Keeping the indoor temperature constant in all rooms doesn’t just add to the buyer’s sense of comfort, but it also shows that everything is in order with the HVAC. Thus, they should be reminded to regulate the temperature in all rooms in advance. While saving on the electricity bills is essential nowadays, this showcasing mistake can cost the sellers too much.
Being impatient during an open house
If the seller is popping in every couple of minutes during the open house, it will make the buyer nervous. As the agent conducting the showcasing, inform the homeowner for how long they should stay away and ask them not to interrupt. They likely have things to do around their home, but viewings do not last long anyway. If they have a dog, this is the perfect opportunity to take them away for a walk. The buyer should be free to examine the home at their own pace. An open house can lead to a life-changing moment in a buyer’s life, and it should not be rushed or interrupted. The more positive impressions your potential buyer gathers during showcasing, the better the chances of a satisfying transaction for all of you.