Lancaster County PA Realty Check: Preparing Your Home For Showings

Preparing Your Home For Showings

In this very competitive housing market, where only well priced and well prepared homes are selling, what can you as a potential seller do to improve your chances?  Here are some time-tested suggestions for success!

CURB APPEAL:  How long do you think you have to convince a buyer looking at the outside of your house that they would like to see it?  Would you believe that buyers will assess whether your home is worth looking into in 15 to 20 seconds.  Your house needs to be a "happy" looking home before people will step inside!

Happy house Remove clutter from your lawn, keep the grass trimmed and weed the garden.  If there is any peeling paint, scrape, prime and put on a fresh coat.  Repair any torn screens.  Your front door is a focal point.  Make sure it's got fresh looking paint.  Oil any squeaking hinges.  Consider planting some flowers in strategic places.

 KITCHEN:  The kitchen is the heart of the house.  Don't skimp here.  If the floor needs to be replaced, replace it.  Remove any appliances and clutter from the counter tops.  Repair any dripping faucets.  Clean the vent hood.

BATHROOMS:  Put your good guest towels out.  Repair dripping faucets.  Remove any stains from tub, sink and commode.

LIVING AREAS:  Patch and paint any exposed cracks or nail holes in the walls.  If fresh paint is needed, choose neutral colors.  Replace all burned out light bulbs, and use brighter than normal wattage - a bright home will show much better!  (But be sure not to use any wattage higher than recommended by your light fixtures, for safety.)   For daylight showings, set curtains and shades to let in as much sunlight as possible.

Straighten out  closets, basement and attic.  Have a garage sale.  Get rid of clutter - it will cost you money.  Wash your windows.

SHOWINGS:  Turn all your lights on.  It should go without saying that there should be no pet smells or other unpleasant odors.  Take care of these well before any showings are expected.  Have a nice aroma in the house - like baking banana bread, or apples and cinnamon.  Even if you have to use a spray, it will make the home seem inviting.  Put some soft, easy listening music on the stereo for background.

SHOULD YOU BE HOME DURING SHOWINGS?  Short answer - definitely NOT.  And pets should be gone as well.  Not everyone will appreciate and love your animals like you do. 

Some sellers mistakenly believe that since they know more about the house than anyone else, that they should be there to answer questions.  Unfortunately, this is counter-productive.  Buyers don't feel comfortable with a seller following them around, and will try to escape as soon as possible.  Let the agent (who knows the buyers better than the owner does) handle any questions.  If more information is needed, the agent will ask the seller later.  Buyers need to be able to voice their concerns, likes and dislikes without being embarrassed.  A good agent will be able to hear the buyers' concerns and help them work through to solutions.

I would be happy to give you a no-obligation evaluation of what may be the most cost-effective things you can do to prepare your home for sale.  Just call me at (717) 951-5552

 

Copyright2008BrianSchulman©

Brian Schulman offers expert personalized real estate representation and services in Lancaster County, PA.  To contact him, visit http://www.FindLancasterHomes.com/

 


 

 

Brian Schulman offers expert real estate representation for buyers and sellers of homes in Lancaster County, PA.  To learn more, visit http://www.FindLancasterHomes.com/

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Comment balloon 16 commentsBrian Schulman • March 20 2008 06:37PM

Comments

Wonderful post.  Get that house ready.  Don't wait for the buyer to put stuff on a home inspection repair list.
Posted by Lenn Harley, Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland (Lenn Harley, Homefinders.com, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate) almost 10 years ago
It's so hard for some sellers to get rid of the clutter - especially when there are tenants.  I wish they would get rid of the tenants!
Posted by Georgie Hunter R(S) 58089, Maui Real Estate sales and lifestyle info (Hawai'i Life Real Estate Brokers) almost 10 years ago
Thanks, Lenn.  Deferred maintainance will likely cost the seller considerably more in terms of a lower realized sale price and slower sale, than the cost of making repairs before the home is shown.
Posted by Brian Schulman, Lancaster County PA RealEstate Expert 717-951-5552 (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, Lancaster PA) almost 10 years ago

Georgina, tenants often seem to want to sabotage a sale, because they fear that they will be evicted or their rent will be raised after new owners take possession.  It's a good idea for the sellers to try to come to an agreement with tenants beforehand about cooperating with showings and improving their housekeeping.

Sometimes a financial incentive is effective in procuring tenant cooperation, such as a discount on rent if they make certain improvements in their housekeeping.  If the tenants are really an embarrassment, it may pay for the seller to offer them a certain financial reward if they leave early.

Posted by Brian Schulman, Lancaster County PA RealEstate Expert 717-951-5552 (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, Lancaster PA) almost 10 years ago
Brian - With the present market condition proper preparation is key to gaining a competive edge.  You gave some sound advise.
Posted by Jennifer Fivelsdal, Mid Hudson Valley real estate connection ( JFIVE Home Realty LLC | 845-758-6842|162 Deer Run Rd Red Hook NY 12571) almost 10 years ago
Jennifer, absolutely - it's more important than ever to competive in todays market.
Posted by Brian Schulman, Lancaster County PA RealEstate Expert 717-951-5552 (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, Lancaster PA) almost 10 years ago

Brian:

Hey this is a great post very well laid out. Keep up the great work and have a great week.

Posted by Alan Kirkpatrick, Alan in Austin (Austin Texas Homes) almost 10 years ago
Alan, you have a great week, too.  Thanks for commenting.
Posted by Brian Schulman, Lancaster County PA RealEstate Expert 717-951-5552 (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, Lancaster PA) almost 10 years ago
It never ceases to amaze me of how some people prepare or do not prepare their properties for sale. The smallest things glare out at anyone looking and it's usually pretty easy to make it so that does not happen. I love when my sellers listen to what I have to say, they usually sell much quicker than those who don't.
Posted by Wendy Montoya, REALTOR® Broker Associate, 254-315-4906 (Towne Adams REALTORS) almost 10 years ago

Hi Brian,

Great post with so much excellent advice for home sellers. Every one should receive a copy of this the minute they sign the listing agreement!

((-:

Jo 

Posted by Jo-Anne Smith almost 10 years ago
Wendy, I agree - the ones who take our advice tend to do a lot better than those who don't.  Some sellers seem to have blind spots - that is, for things that don't bother them, but would be detrimental to anyone else.
Posted by Brian Schulman, Lancaster County PA RealEstate Expert 717-951-5552 (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, Lancaster PA) almost 10 years ago
Great post Brian!  Many sellers take these things for granted and I think they don't see the problems because they have learned to live with it.
Posted by Tricia Flicker-Miller, Cressy & Everett (Cressy & Everett Real Estate) almost 10 years ago

Jo, that's a great idea.  As you suggested, I reformatted this blog as a print article, to be able to give to listing prospects and clients!   :o)

Brian

Posted by Brian Schulman, Lancaster County PA RealEstate Expert 717-951-5552 (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, Lancaster PA) almost 10 years ago
Exactly, Tricia.  Folks who have put up with, and in fact created the problem conditions, often don't see the woods for the trees!  Counseling them as to how to maximize their value is one of our more valuable services.
Posted by Brian Schulman, Lancaster County PA RealEstate Expert 717-951-5552 (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, Lancaster PA) almost 10 years ago
The odor one especially... I think people become accustomed to certain smells and aren't readily aware of them... this is one can be a delicate topic with listers- but the potential buyer's certainly aren't too shy about it.
Posted by Chuck & Lucy Willman www.TheHouseBuzz.com, TheHouseBuzz (www.TheHouseBuzz.com) almost 10 years ago
Chuck, you're right about having to be diplomatic.  People can be just as sensitive about being told that their house smells bad, as they would if you just advised them that they smelled bad!
Posted by Brian Schulman, Lancaster County PA RealEstate Expert 717-951-5552 (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, Lancaster PA) almost 10 years ago

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