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How to effectively 'show' your home


Showing your home is a lot like a first date: You get your house all gussied up, put the prettiest face possible on the property and try to impress the heck out of someone you barely know -- the potential buyer. The objective, however, is not to get a phone number or a peck on the cheek. It's to make a sale, which in most cases, is a far greater challenge.


But showing a home does not have to be an overwhelming, costly process. Regardless of your home's size, age, style, and location, there are ways to spruce it up and effectively showcase its assets. So grab your paintbrush, carpet cleaner, lawn mower, and Lysol -- the four ingredients to a great first date -- and get to work on your house.

The condition of your home is one of three factors that influence a buyer's decision. Unlike location, this is one factor you can control.  But the idea is "not to improve the condition of your home to your liking, but to improve it to sell it."

Creating good flow ....

There are four main areas of the home sellers should focus on.

The first is the entryway. "That is your first impression of the house. Anything visible from this standpoint needs to look great. If you don't impress them immediately it will be an uphill battle from then on to regain their interest.

The family/living room, kitchen, and master bedroom are the three other crucial areas.

The key to showcasing these rooms is to create good flow. Buyers want to move easily from one room to the next.  But at the same time, they need direction. It's important to assign each room a purpose. she says. Even though you may use your formal dining room as your office, you must show the dining room with its intended purpose.


Sellers should personalize the experience for the buyer. The buyers have to be able to see past your life and your stuff so they can visualize what it would be like for them to live in your home. Minimizing clutter and packing up personal belongings helps them do that.

There are two schools of thought on de-personalizing your home. A lot of people say to take down the family photos, but I disagree. You're not fooling anyone by pretending you don't live there. However, I would recommend that wedding and graduation photos, as well as collections (i.e. stuffed animals, teapots), be removed. Those are too personal.

On the other hand, anything that could potentially pose a distraction should be put away. "Buyers only spend 10 to 15 minutes in a home. You don't want them to be distracted by unimportant details like personal mementos. That won't help you sell your house," she says.

Cleanliness is godliness
At the same time, it's not possible to fully neutralize a home that's being occupied. Furthermore, "vacant houses do not show well. A room looks smaller without furniture and stuff in it.  But it must be understood that each person has a different sense of style. That style is often reflected in the type of furniture one chooses and in the way that it is arranged. As long as the house is clean and well-maintained, buyers can look beyond the furniture style, but it's hard to look past a lot of outdated wallpaper or too many intense wall colors.

Rearranging the furniture can help showcase important features of the house or minimize less attractive features. Accessorizing is very important.  Adding a burgundy throw to a neutral-colored couch, or a vase of fresh flowers on the coffee table or fresh towels in the bathroom creates a welcoming environment.


Boosting curb appeal

As far as the home's exterior, it's important to pay attention to curb appeal. Here is where you can get the most bang for your buck.  It's relatively inexpensive to de-clutter your garage, sweep the driveway, paint the front door, mow the lawn, and plant some flowers. It goes a long way and means a lot to the buyer psychologically.


Landscaping is also key. You don't want to have a lot of brand new plants. You want something that looks more mature and established. Stay away from starter plants -- they look like they've just been dropped in the ground. Also avoid the other extreme, which is to have too many plants and flowers to the point where the yard looks overgrown.
It's also important to be aware of the condition of your neighborhood. For most buyers, it's all about location, location, location.  While you can't control other people's yards, she says you can make sure there's no garbage in the streets or suspect abandoned cars. If you really take pride in your house, that can be contagious.

10 showing tips

  • Don't mask smells with candles or potpourri. There's no sense in replacing one odor with another. Buyers will wonder what odor you are trying to hide. But keep the exotic spices and fish to a minimum when cooking the night before a showing. Work towards achieving a "clean" smell.
  • Remove animals and litter boxes from the property. Find "Spot" a temporary home. Dog smell is not going to entice potential buyers.
  • Don't turn on all the lights.  Nobody looks his or her best under stark light, including your house. Offer a nice balance of natural lighting, table and floor lamps, or tasteful overhead lights. The idea is to create a mood. Overhead lights are the easiest ones to overuse.  Table lamps tend to create a better mood.
  • Don't paint all walls white. White walls can look too institutional. Besides, colored walls are move in vogue right now. But.... make sure it's a  neutral color like beige with yellow undertones or a mossy green.
  • Get rid of dated wallpaper. While wallpaper is making a comeback, dated wallpaper will always be, well, dated. Since it's not easy to paint over wallpaper, removing it is the best option.
  • Be mindful of the carpeting. If the carpeting is in bad shape, replace it. Never give the buyers an allowance to replace the carpets. Do it yourself and do it before the showing.
  • Remove window screens. Screens take away from allowing natural light inside. Plus, no one will notice they are missing.
  • Remove all knick-knacks under 10 inches tall. We all have random, small objects that clutter our home. Pack them up and put them under the bed.
  • Put away holiday decorations. Unless you are showing your home during the holiday season, make sure to put away all holiday paraphernalia.
  • Don't spend a fortune on improving your home. It's worth the investment to spend some money on enhancing your home, but don't go overboard.
  • Replace old light fixutures.  New ones  can cost as little as 20 dollars apiece and can really update and freshen a home.









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