7 Secrets On Showcasing Your Home For A Successful Sale

Most prospective buyers make their decisions based on the emotional reactions they

form upon first seeing your home. In fact, seasoned real estate professionals will tell you

that even the smallest detail can be an important deciding factor, especially in a competitive

market. The key to getting a buyer interested in your home — and getting them to

place an offer that reflects its top value — is helping that prospective buyer feel comfortable

while viewing your property. You want them to establish a connection from the moment

they drive up to your home. And once they’ve viewed the inside, you want them to

see themselves living comfortably in it.

 

Too many home sellers underestimate the power of this emotional

response. As a result, they see competing homes down the street get the

“Just-Sold” signs, while their own real estate investment languishes on the

market, not getting offers worthy of its value. How can you avoid having

this happen to you? Read on.

 

Research And Strategize

Knowing exactly what you have to work with will go a long way toward helping you

form a strategy to achieve your real estate goals. First, you need to educate yourself on

everything that can affect the sale of your home and which elements you can actually

control. Obviously, it’s impossible to control everything, but there are some changes you

can initiate, and these may make all the difference.

To help you gain a realistic perspective, here are a few factors to consider when

reviewing your property:

Property location

The prevailing market conditions

Whether you’ve hired a professional real estate agent to help you

The number of desirable features within your home and how well they are displayed

The overall condition of your home

While some of these things cannot be controlled by the home seller—such as location and

market conditions—other factors can. It is important to remember that even the most

subtle of differences can play an important role in properly showcasing your home

so that it inspires buyers to place an offer on it.

 

What Is Showcasing?

When you open your doors to prospective buyers, whether at an open house or a private

showing, you are showcasing your home. Your home, like it or not, is in the spotlight.

This is where you want it to shine. Ideally, your home should stand out in the minds

of prospective buyers. You want it to be a star. If there are five homes for sale in your

immediate area, you want yours to leave the best impression.

 

Here Are Seven Strategies And Secrets Designed To Give Your Home The Edge It Needs In A Competitive Market

 

1. CURB APPEAL

While you can’t change your location, you can change how your home shines in that

location. The more you make your home shine, the less location will play a role in the

buyer’s decision to place an offer for it. Why not make your front yard look like one of

the best on the block? It isn’t as costly as you might think, and it is extremely important

that your home stand out. Your front yard will be the first thing prospective buyers see

when they drive up, and it will help form the first impressions they have about your

property. This sets the tone for their entire visit, so make it a good one.

 

2. TAKE YOURSELF OUT OF THE EQUATION

present the buyer with a clean slate onto which they can project their own personal style.

They must be able to see themselves living in your house. The best way to achieve this

is to take as much of you and your personality out of it. This is not as easy as it seems,

because you’ve probably spent several years adding little touches and other changes that

personalize your place to make it a “home.”

Here are some simple, cost-efficient ways you can help prospective

buyers envision their own things in your home, and inspire them to

make an offer:

 

Remove all the family photos off the walls and store them in an out-of-the-way place.

 

This doesn’t mean you have to take them ALL down, but you should limit them to just

a select few. That infamous hallway lined with pictures of the kids might be a trip down

memory lane for you, but it’s a roadblock for a potential buyer. For someone viewing your

home, it’s either an opportunity to laugh at the dated looks throughout the years, or it inspires the uneasy feeling of walking into someone’s private world that wasn’t meant for their viewing. You don’t want the buyer to feel inhibited and possibly keep them from forming an emotional attachment to your property. Remember, the main goal in effectively showcasing your home is to provide the buyer with a blank canvas. They cannot do this if you have too many of your own personal touches placed around the house. When in doubt, ask your real estate professional his/her opinion if you should remove a picture or personal memento.

Don’t crowd your potential buyer. During an open house or private showing, allow them

to move freely with their real estate agent from room to room without your presence. Not

only does this person feel uncomfortable trudging through your home, but knowing you

are on the premises makes them feel even more ill at ease. Typically, buyers like to share

their thoughts and impressions with their agent and the family members accompanying

them. This is good. However, when they know you’re in the house, they either refrain from

sharing impressions, or they feel they have to whisper or wait until they leave to talk. By

then they’ve forgotten the points they liked about your home, or they only focus on the

bad things they didn’t like. The goal is to make the prospective buyer feel comfortable.

Your presence in the home is in direct conflict with this goal.

Granted, when dealing with a private showing and not in an open house situation, it may

not be easy to simply walk away from your home and turn it over to complete strangers.

One strategy is to make yourself scarce—that is, you might step outside in the backyard

while your prospective buyer is viewing the interior, and vice versa.

Keep the kids and all pets out of the buyer’s way. Even if you have well-behaved children

and Fido has attended obedience school, they can still be a distraction and keep the buyer

from bonding with your home. If you can’t arrange for them to be out on a walk, keep

them busy in one room so they do not follow the buyer around as they view the property.

Insider Secrets:

To avoid distractions, arrange to have

any pets removed from the property

while you are showing your home.

 

3. CREATING A CLEAN SLATE WITH CLUTTER CONTROL

Sometimes, a clean house still doesn’t look clean. Your home may be spotless,

counters clean, corners dust-free—but if you still have clutter, it can still look

unkempt to a buyer. Worse yet, you may give the impression that the living quarters are cramped and lack storage space. Remember, the buyer must be able to visualize all of their things fitting into your home.

Here are some things you can do to showcase your home so it looks

its very best:

 

Don’t try to pack too many different pieces of furniture into one room. If you have items

that you really don’t use, you may want to invest in a temporary storage unit. You want

the buyer to feel there is ample space in that room for their furniture. Arrange all furniture

so that there are clear pathways and ample space to get by large items such as couches

and tables. Packing it full of different chairs, end tables and decorative items closes the

room in, giving the impression of a small living space. However, the other extreme isn’t

good either. Sometimes you have to move quickly and, as a result, the house is empty of

furniture. An empty home can look just as uninviting as a crowded one. If you are able

to, leave several pieces of furniture behind to add to your home’s appeal.

Weed out all clothing that you’re not wearing on a regular basis, remove it from your closet and pack it away out of sight. You may even want to purchase several wardrobe boxes and store them in the garage or in a storage unit. An over-stuffed closet leaves buyers with the impression that there isn’t enough storagespace. Make sure the shelves and various other storage options are organized and clean.

Keep all children’s toys organized with a toy box or within cabinets. The more you can

put these things away where they are not immediately visible, the better. If you can see

various items packed into shelves, it promotes a congestive, chaotic feel in that room.

You don’t want the buyer to feel claustrophobic. You want them to only focus on the

attractive comfort of your property, not to think about how the walls are closing in.

Refresh what once looked old or run down. While cleaning your house and preparing it for viewing, take care to scrub out all hard water stains in the bathroom and kitchen. These make the tiles and appliances appear old or dated. Lime,calcium and rust stains can be removed by cleansers specially designed for such use, and the results are often remarkable. If you find that

the grout between the tiles is severely stained or cracked and you are unable to clean it, you may want to consider removing and replacing it with new grout to give the tiles a fresher look. Nothing should look old or worn down. Fixtures that do— lights, faucets or flooring—will drive down the sale price of your home. The buyer will automatically assume they will need to put money into improving these things and will price their offer accordingly.

Insider Secrets:

Invest in a storage unit to keep extra

furniture so that your home appears to

have plenty of space.

 

Insider Secrets:

Store extra clothes in wardrobe boxes

so that your closet doesn’t look overstuffed

and devoid of storage space.

 

Insider Secrets:

Giving old tile new grout is a cheap

 way to rejuvenate a bathroom and

increase the value of your home.

 

4. THE IMPORTANCE OF AMBIANCE

Preparing for an open house or a private viewing is a bit like getting ready for a hot

date. You want to make the best impression possible. This means, taking care of all

those little details that make the other person feel at ease so they fall in love with

your house.

Here are a few tips to put into play when preparing for potential

home buyers:

 

• Entice their sense of smell. While scented candles are nice, they often give off

fumes that can aggravate sensitive sinuses, not to mention stain the walls. A better

solution would be to use a lightly-scented potpourri or cinnamon sticks. You might

even consider baking cookies so that there is a pleasant, homey smell enticing the

buyer when they first enter. Studies show that memories are actually stimulated by

our sense of smell. So, inspiring thoughts of home, hearth and comfort with a little

spice is a good thing. Just don’t go overboard, or you might end up chasing potential

buyers out if the scent gets too overpowering.

• Eliminate unpleasant odor sources. Limit pets and their litter boxes from the main areas of your home during viewings. Open the windows whenever possible to air out places where odors normally reside. Don’t go overboard with odor-masking sprays, as this can backfire and call attention to the odor rather than eliminating it.

• Add music to their ears.

 

Light, relaxing mood music played at a low volume can enhance your potential buyer’s perception of your property. Place a radio in each room so that those viewing your house will hear soothing sounds as they move throughout. Make sure to play it quietly on a soft jazz station so that it is only an accent, and not a distraction when buyers tour each room.

 

Insider Secrets:

Place a radio in each room and set

it on a light jazz station. Keep the

volume low, adding just enough music

to provide ambiance, but not so much

that it’s a distraction.

 

• Consider hiring a professional stager. These are specialists with interior design skills

who come in and actually rearrange your furniture. They design your home to make it more

appealing to buyers. Although real estate professionals are more than capable of giving you insider secrets to sell your home for top dollar—and some even have interior design skills themselves—they also have access to professional stagers who can give your property an additional edge. In a competitive market where buyers are calling the shots, a professional stager can help you present a polished home to attract multiple offers. Speak with your real estate professional and ask them to help you determine if hiring a professional stager makes sense within your budget.

If it looks like you can make the money for hiring a stager back through a better sale

price and gain a substantial profit from it, then it is definitely worth the money spent.

This is especially true if you have a luxury home, where buyers will expect a high-end

appearance. If luxury buyers are the demographic that will be viewing your property,

you need to remember that their tastes are a great deal more discriminating. So you need every competitive edge you can get.

 

Insider Secret:

Using a professional stager can give

you an additional edge in a cooling

market where buyers are calling the

shots. This is especially true if you are

selling a luxury property.

 

5. ACENTUATE THE POSITIVE

Chances are that, each buyer who comes through your front door is looking at multiple

properties. You need to clearly and accurately set your property apart from the

competition. By the end of the day, that buyer might not even remember which property

had the features they really liked the best. That’s why you should consider creating a

brief, informational sheet that calls out all the special features within your home.

Here is where your agent’s expertise really pays off. Agents are with buyers all day, every

day. They know exactly what most buyers have on their wish lists, and they know what

features you should call out and list toward the top of your one-page flier. Keep in mind

that you don’t want to list everything. What one person sees as an appealing feature, another might consider a detriment. Ask your agent to help you list just the best features

to showcase.

Here are a few things to keep in mind while creating your

informational flier:

First and foremost, listen to your real estate professional. Not only do they have the

expertise you need to maximize your home’s positive attributes, they are also a valuable

source for that much-needed reality check. Your agent is with buyers every day. They know who is buying and what they are looking for. They can tell you what features your home has that will be highly desirable in today’s market. The upgrades that you’ve made might be appealing to you, but your agent will know if they’ll appeal to a potential buyer.

Make your feature sheet short and concise. A buyer will not care if you spent

thousands of dollars to put in the new tiles in the bathroom. They will only care that

the tiles are new and a color they like. Keep in mind, those tiles might not be that

buyer’s taste. They may actually want to rip it out if they buy the house.

List all new fixtures and functional items. If you just put a new roof on the house,

installed a new water heater, updated the central air system or added new plumbing,

these are things to draw attention to. New fixtures mean that the buyer won’t have to

worry about them breaking down any time soon. That’s very appealing.

Don’t get too attached to your decorative upgrades. These are all a matter of taste. You

can list some small details— such as crown molding, new rugs and hardwood floors—but

keep in mind that a home’s beauty is still very much a matter of personal taste.

If you are leaving the refrigerator and the washer and dryer with the house, mention

that. All of these things are a plus to a new home buyer who might not already own them.

These are one less thing they have to worry about buying if they decide to purchase your

house versus another that might not come with such amenities.

 

Insider Secrets:

Work with your real estate professional

to create a short, concise informational

flier that displays all of your home’s

attractive features.

 

6. WHEN COLORING PERCEPTIONS, BE NEUTRAL

Everyone loves color. The problem is, everyone loves different KINDS of color.

Therefore, when preparing your home to sell, you need to adjust your home’s color

scheme to a more neutral palette. The goal is to make it easy for the buyer to see their

own belongings within your home. If you have bright walls and all of their furniture

is understated, they are not going to see your home as a match for them. It just won’t

meet their style. Seeing a neutral color on the walls provides that buyer with the blank

slate they need to imagine their own possessions within your home. It allows them the

opportunity to form that important attachment.

Here are some easy, inexpensive ways to adjust the colors in your

home and prepare it for sale:

 

Walk through your home and take inventory of all the walls that are painted and

what color they are. Ultimately, you want to paint each room a light tan or off white,

but first you need to prioritize. The first room your potential buyer will see is the first you should adjust, and the one you should pay a great deal of attention to. A can of primer and some neutral-colored paint will go a long way toward making that room look like it could accommodate any decorative style the buyer might prefer.

Consider Removing all wallpaper. Yes, even the cute stuff in the baby’s room.

Wallpaper is a huge roadblock to new buyers because it has your personal style

stamped all over it. If you’re experienced in doing this kind of thing yourself, go

for it. If not, hire a professional. You don’t want to maul a room in the process of

trying to improve it. The small amount of money you put into hiring a professional

to remove your wall paper, sand down the area and paint it a neutral tone will be

returned to you in the end when you sell. You are only going to get top dollar for a home that is in top selling form.

 

Insider Secrets:

A neutral paint color will go a long

way toward making a room look like

it could accommodate any decorative

style the buyer might prefer.

 

Use paint to accent features you want to stand out. If your rooms have crown molding,

paint the molding a slightly lighter hue than the wall. White molding will really stand out

against the contrast of a sand- or tan-colored wall. This will automatically draw a buyer’s

eye to that feature. Similarly, painting the area above a fireplace with a slightly deeper

shade of tan will help that area really pop out to the buyer when they enter the room. This

is what interior designers call making it “the focal point of a room,” and it is what good

real estate agents know can be a money maker for the seller.

Pay special attention to smaller rooms, as color and presentation there are very

important. If you’ve painted your small, second bedroom a deep red, this will actually

make it look cramped. Dark colors tend to close in a space. A light, neutral color will

actually open up the room and make it appear larger than it really is.

 

7. GO WITH A PRO

Even though today’s home seller has access to more information than sellers in the past,

you should still think twice when selling your home without the help of a real estate

professional. Placing a home on the market is a full-time job that requires the experience,

time and expertise to help make the most of that sale. According to the National Association

of Realtors,® two-thirds of people who have sold their homes themselves say they would not do so again. Why? Money. Simply put, having a Realtor® could get you more money in the long run, even when it means handing over a small portion of the sale. Real estate professionals know what home buyers are looking for and can help your home stand out, especially in a cooling market.

Here are just a few of the reasons why you should hire a real estate

expert to help your home stand out:

Let your home shine. Getting more money for your property isn’t just about knowing

the market and advertising your home. It’s about knowing what will make your home

stand out and helping it outshine the competition. This is especially true when selling

a home in a buyer’s market. Every additional edge helps, and your agent can help you

display your home at its best.

Realtors® know exactly what home buyers are looking for in today’s market. They have

a good handle on what your home can sell for and what buyers really want in a home.

Remember, they are out there dealing with the market every day. They know who’s

buying and what entices them into making an offer. Before placing your home on the

market, most agents will walk through it with you to get a feel for any adjustments that

need to be made so that your home is showcased to inspire offers. This kind of insight is

invaluable, and will get you more money for your home in the end.

A real estate agent provides a buffer between the seller and the buyer. Selling your home

is an emotional time. It isn’t necessarily a time you want to be haggling over the value

of your house and all the memories you have wrapped up in it. In most cases, it’s good

to have someone else do the tough negotiation for you. Without their assistance, you are

much like a ship at sea without an anchor. There is nothing to stabilize you and provide

that needed reality check when things get emotional. A Realtor® knows how to keep

things moving forward in a productive way, and ultimately helps you make the most of

your real estate investment.

 

Insider Secret:

In a competitive market, working with

a real estate professional who can

provide you with insider secrets gives

you the additional edge you need to

make the most of your home sale.

 

Be Prepared

Preparing your home for sale can be a daunting task, but with the help

of your real estate professional and the insider secrets they have to

share, it can be done quickly and easily. The most important thing to

remember is that the better you display your property, the more money

it will sell for. Let your agent help showcase your home so that it really

stands out against the competition of today’s market. Make the effort

now, and you will soon reap the rewards when you cash in on your real

estate investment.