Preparing your home
In preparing your home for viewing by prospective buyers, remember that people
buy on emotions. Your home has to feel right, or buyers will look elsewhere.
Buyers want to be dazzled. Ask your REALTOR® and some honest friends to look
at your home objectively and suggest ways to make your home more inviting and
salable. Consider both the exterior and interior. Since you will be appealing
to buyers' feelings, you need to pay attention to detail. An extra $50 you
spend on red geraniums or new bath towels might mean a significant increase in
a buyer's offer.
Clean your home thoroughly and make minor repairs such as tightening towel
racks and gluing wallpaper edges. For larger repairs, consult your REALTOR®
as to whether repairing the item will generate a good return on the sale.
Repainting the woodwork may be worth it, but replacing the carpet may not. One
safeguard is to hire a professional inspector to examine your house for
structural and mechanical defects. By having an inspection early, you can void
surprises and have time to get repairs made.
Honesty and candor
If your home has a major problem that you don't intend to correct, be candid
about it. For example, don't paint over the water marks on the ceiling to hide
a leaky roof. Buyers will find out about the problems anyway, especially if
they are smart shoppers and hire professionals to inspect your home. In an age
when lawsuits are as common as family sit-down dinners, it pays to be open
about everything. Some buyers may turn up their noses at your sagging
staircase, but others will see it as part of a redecorating scheme.
If you're really worried about repairs or failures of mechanical systems,
consider buying a residential service contract. A residential service contract
is an agreement with a company that will repair certain items in the property
if such items fail to function or are in need of repair (for example, air
conditioning unit, heating equipment, plumbing system, etc.).
Soon after obtaining a listing on your home, the REALTOR® may enter the
listing with MLS, set a sign in your yard, and may place a keybox on your
door. The keybox enables member REALTORS® to show your home to buyers when
you are not home.
Attracting and screening buyers
As part of the overall marketing strategy, your REALTOR® may arrange a tour
of your home for local REALTORS® and perhaps schedule an open house for the
public. Your REALTOR® may also run ads in the local newspapers and other
publications. Being an expert at matching prospective buyers with homes for
sale, your REALTOR® may target advertising to certain audiences. For example,
if your home is near a lake, the REALTOR® may run ads in recreation and sport
magazines. As responses come in by telephone and referrals, your REALTOR®
will screen out sightseers and half-hearted inquirers and make appointments
with serious prospects.
When the showings begin, keep your home clean and ready. Your REALTOR® will
try to give you advance warning before showing your home, and other REALTORS®
will do the same. But sometimes you will receive little or no warning, so be
prepared. If people drop by and are not with a REALTOR®, it's best not to
show your home to them. Ask for their names and phone numbers and to refer
them to your REALTOR®.
When a REALTOR® comes to show your home, it's best if you are not present
with them. Many buyers feel like intruders when the owner is present; they
tend to hurry away. Letting the buyers walk through your property at their own
pace will help put buyers at ease. They will feel free to look around and ask
questions. If you must be there, however, let the REALTORS; handle the
showing. Sit quietly in the living room or on the patio. Be courteous, but
avoid engaging the buyer in conversation. The REALTOR® needs the buyer's
complete attention to show your home properly.
After showing your home, the REALTOR® will give you periodic reports on the
responses of certain prospects. If buyers respond favorably but not enough to
make an offer, your REALTOR® may explore certain features of your house in
greater detail. Learning that the beveled glass in your front door came from
your great aunt's attic, the REALTOR® may be able to pitch your home to an
aspiring antique collector. If buyers mention a problem repeatedly, the
REALTOR® may shift to a different class of buyer or talk to you about
possible remedies. At some point, you may have to reconsider making a repair
or adjusting the listing price.
REALTORS® are required by law to make your property available to all persons
without regard to race, color, religion, national origin, sex, disability or
familial status. Your REALTOR® will not discuss any matter than is related to
or potentially may discriminate against any person.