One of the most important factors in selling your home is successful showings to potential buyers. Not only does this involve presenting your home its best possible light for every buyer, but it also means making it easy for potential buyers to schedule their visit. If you've already prepared your home for the market getting ready for a showing is a snap!
1. Prepare to Be Flexible
As soon as your Realtor puts your home on the MLS, you’ll start to receive calls from agents asking to show your home. The process of showing your home can be exciting but also burdensome if you still live in the home. However, it’s important to show your home to as many prospects as possible, especially during the first few weeks of putting it on the market. While a showing may not always be convenient or work with your schedule, especially those that come up at the last minute, we recommend making every effort to show the home whenever an agent calls to request a showing. Many times, buyers have a limited window to see homes and if a seller asks the buyer to come back another day, it will simply result in no showing at all. Our best advice is to do your best to be flexible and welcome any opportunity to show your home. If someone does call with a last minute showing request, simply ask for 15 minutes, then prepare the house, gather your family and pets, and leave your home to the potential buyer.
2. Always Use the Supra Lockbox
Never open the door for the agent or buyer, or leave the front door unlocked. Use the lockbox provided by your REALTOR®, which will keep track of visitors and ensure only licensed active REALTORS® can access your home. Using your lockbox has a number of advantages, including:
- More Showings - Lockboxes enable agents to show your home more easily, which means more eyes on your house and a better chance of getting a great offer.
- Enhanced Safety - There are few ways to show your home that are as safe as the lockbox. Not only can lockboxes be programmed to let people in only during certain hours (ex: no later than 9:00 pm), but they also keep a record of who’s opened them. This electronic record can help track down troublemakers, should any problems arise.
- Prospective Buyer Follow Up - Your Realtor can use the recorded information to follow up with buyers who passed on your house and ask them what they didn’t like about it. This is a powerful marketing strategy that can help you and your Realtor better understand what to do to make your home sell.
3. Turn All the Lights On
When prospective buyers are perusing your home, the last thing you want is to have them searching for light switches, thinking “This place feels like a cave.” Bright places are happy places, and you want your visitors to feel confident about buying your home. Follow these tips to make your home look warm and welcoming:
- Open curtains and blinds.
- Turn on all lights - fixtures, lamps, porch lights, garage, attic, basement- every light you can!
- Turn on CFLs at least 10 minutes prior to the showing. CFLs take longer than traditional bulbs to reach their full brightness, so give them time to warm up.
- Keep the lights on both day and night. Having your lights on at night creates a warm, homey feel and keeping the lights on during the day helps keep unflattering shadows created by the sun at bay.
4. Quickly Tidy Up Your Home
While it may be difficult to keep your house presentable while you’re still living in it, try to keep your home as clean as possible while it is on the market. Having a relatively tidy home will make it easier for you to be ready for last minute showings. When you know potential buyers are coming, spend some time putting up the dishes from the sink, wiping down bathroom and kitchen surfaces, and putting away toys and dirty clothing. If you are in a crunch for time, it’s best to clean and straighten up the rooms of your home in the following order: entryway and kitchen, followed by master bedroom and master bathroom, and finally the kids’ rooms, if you have time. Be sure and hit these hot spots, as experience has taught us these areas can make or break a buyer’s decision.
5. Turn the Music Off
Buyers may not like your taste in music. If you are using noise to cover up outside noises, it's better to let them hear and decide for themselves. There is one exception... If you have a spectacular media room, feel free to turn on a great action or kids movie.
6. Leave Your Home
Once you schedule the time of the showing, we recommend leaving your home while the Realtor and his or her clients visit the home. Although you may have good intentions when you try to give a personal tour of your home, such actions nearly always have a negative effect on potential buyers who prefer to tour the home and discuss without the seller present. Of course, leaving your home may not always be possible (e.g. napping babies, an important conference call, etc.). If that’s the case, you should still allow the agent to show your home, but stay out of sight in your child’s room or stay in the study while potential buyers walk about the house. Buyers typically don't mind having to simply poke their head in the room where you may be quietly reading a book while your child naps away.
7. Have a Pet Plan
Pets are a major distraction for buyers, whether positive or negative, so it’s a good idea to have a plan for what to do with your pet when it’s time for a showing. If possible, take your pet with you when you leave the home. If you have absolutely nowhere to take your pet, use a kennel, preferably in the backyard, or in the laundry room or garage if it’s not too hot. Warn potential buyers that your pets are still present to avoid any surprises. Whatever you decide to do, make sure you can follow your pet plan at a moment’s notice.
8. Bonus: Leave a Treat
Leave a treat. Serious buyers may see 10-12 homes in a day and are usually hungry, tired, thirsty and cranky especially in heat of the summer. It costs very little to put a few cold bottled waters out and some granola bars or other simple wrapped up snack. You would be surprised at how well this little treat is received.