You've spent several weeks getting your home ready for market. You're staged, the professional photos have been taken, the sign is in the yard, and your listing is "live" on the MLS (Multiple Listing Service). And now, your Realtor called. All your hard work getting your house ready for market has paid off-you've got a showing request. They'd like to stop by with their agent in an hour. Is that ok?
While your house is on the market you and your family should always be "show ready". Buyers buy on emotion, and keeping that in mind, here's a checklist that will help to turn that showing into an offer:
1. Make your house available to show as much as possible, thinking twice about "restricting" different times of day, or even more of a detriment, full days all together. While many buyers and their agents will accommodate a 24 hour notice requirement, there may be some reason why that won't work for the buyer's schedule, and instead, they'll not view your house instead of booking 24 hours in advance. To make the very best use of time when scheduling home tours an agent and their client may schedule a full morning or afternoon of showings. If your house isn't available to show, your showing may be replaced with a similar home; there are plenty of others out there. More-than-likely your home won't get a second peek, or a second chance, to get shown, as they may put an offer on another house that they saw that day.
2. Your daily and weekly chores will be more important than ever, as you'll want the big chores out-of-the-way should a showing be requested. Have a "20 minute Tidy" rule- the plan to walk through the house in 20 minutes to make sure that it's ready for a showing when the Realtor calls. Clear and wipe the kitchen counters and make sure that there aren't any dishes in the dishwasher or the sink. Wipe down the bathroom, close the shower curtain, and close the lid of the toilet. Wipe the counters and the mirrors. Give a quick once over with a wet mop and/or the vacuum. Make the beds. Pick up toys and pet supplies, inside and out. Pick up after your pet in the yard.
3. Remember the ambiance of your home. Turn on all the lights. ALL of the lights, including the basement and exterior. Put on some type of music, with the volume low, that is soothing and welcoming. Room temperature should be at a comfortable 68 degrees or so. In the winter have the fireplace lit if practicle for your showing time. Light a vanilla or other homey scented candle, or drop a couple of drops of vanilla on the warm oven to give your house that fresh-baked cookie smell.
4. If you have a pet, have a plan in place to take them with you, or brought to a neighbor's, while the house is being shown. No matter how sweet your pet is, a dog barking or a cat rubbing up against a buyer's leg (who happens to be highly allergic to cats) may not be such a good idea and will turn off a buyer.
5. Your entryway is a vital impression maker. With your agent, be sure that your lockbox is in a conspicuous place and easy to open. Wipe down the storm door windows, sweep the step, and shake out the welcome mat. While your entry way is where you'll typically throw off your shoes, and drop your keys, when you're showing it sets the tone for the rest of the home tour. Make it welcoming by adding a bench to remove shoes and someplace to hang coats, fresh flowers, or even some cookies to welcome your visitors.
It can be a lot of hard work doing the "big stuff" to get a home ready for sale. Remember to pay attention to the little details when it comes to showing time, as you'll never get a second chance to make a great first impression. It's that first emotional response to your home that can be the deciding factor to an offer on yours, or another competing house in the neighborhood.