- THE RIGHT KIND OF REALTOR®
Prepositioning your home prior to listing is the best way to optimize its sale price as well as the terms of sale in your favor and open houses, are one of the most common and effective ways to show and sell it. Open houses however, are not a favored tactic by all REALTORS® and obviously, among those that do use them, there are vastly different levels of capacity.
With 60-70,000 REALTORS® in Southern Ontario alone and the market experiencing more difficulty moving properties than in recent years, selecting the right REALTOR® for you can have dramatic effects on whether your home even sells, as well as the sale-price and terms of sale if it does sell. This article can help you with both outlining some of the most powerful and proven prepositioning methods you and your agent should focus on, while also giving you some key aspects to consider and ask potential agents about to help you select the right representation.
What would you invest in time and money to get an extra $7,000, $15,000 or $25,000 for your current house? The differences in how you handle the elements below can certainly add up to a lot more too, so go through this list carefully and consider both, what you’re willing to do yourself and pay for assistance with, as well as how well equipped your realtor® is to first properly preposition and then, sell your home using open houses.
- ARE YOU A DESIGNER? GET HELPFUL ADVICE OR HIRE ONE!
Even if professional staging and design isn’t in the budget, you probably know a few people who can help in a major way - without even minor inconvenience to them or you. Your REALTOR® should really be your go-to guide for all elements discussed below, so again, make sure they offer you tons of helpful advice and suggestions on all fronts as well as perhaps a bit of help with the finer details on the staging side if you don’t end up hiring a professional. Also, ask your REALTOR® for help arranging for proper storage of all the furniture and items that end up being removed, from a properly prepared home for sale.
Plus, if you know a photographer, designer of any kind or even someone with a seriously enviable sense of style, they can be a huge help for almost all of us who need it. So don’t be afraid to invite the right kind of friend over for a quick visit and walk-through to get their advice. Make sure to go through your property inside and out and consider using this article in addition to your realtor’s® checklist as a guide.
- CLEANING, DEPERSONALIZE, DECLUTTER & STAGE YOUR HOME
Take this section seriously, because from cleaning and depersonalizing, to decluttering and staging (even if you do your own staging with the help of your REALTOR®) these items frequently make the biggest difference to sale-terms as well as overall sales success, of all topics discussed in this article!
On cleaning, think fancy hotel standards. First, do as much as you want to yourselves, then seriously consider hiring professional cleaners as well as carpet cleaning pros. Below we’ll discuss the benefits of also hiring a handyman to attend to all the tiny repairs that often make a monster difference as well as perhaps, getting someone to help with curb appeal and landscaping the yard and exterior.
When it comes to depersonalizing and decluttering your property (remember, it’s not your home anymore, you want a buyer and yourselves to start thinking about it as theirs) think minimalist and neutral. The idea is to create a blank canvas that will appeal to all possible senses of style as well as create the appearance of the largest possible amount of space, in each room of your house, the garage, each closet and even the yard outside. Allow minimalism and neutrality to be your two sole guides as you go through the entire home. Potential buyers can come in all shapes and sizes, with all kinds of varying tastes.
Do you collect anything? If you do, when it’s time to sell your house and in preparation for successful showings and open houses, it’s now time to lovingly pack away all personal collections and unnecessary items that define your own unique taste. The tiniest of things that you love, as well as buyers impressions of the previous owners themselves, can easily turn people off and you’d be amazed how quickly the decision to NOT buy your home can come about. The simplest of things, such as for example, your collection of owl, horse or pig items and all kinds of subtle impressions and ideas about previous owners can turn buyers away.
Most artwork from walls and floor pieces, should likely be removed and most certainly, remove all family photos! For artwork and knickknacks, leave only one or two well placed pieces for each room. Also remove every single item from all tables and countertops, including all appliances from the kitchen, everything from the bathroom counters (even everything from inside bathroom cabinets that’s not absolutely necessary) as well as completely clearing off coffee tables, end tables and table tops.
What to keep? Make sure your REALTOR® is experienced and expert in this area enough so that that they can offer enormous help re-arranging furniture and picking those one or two paintings and pieces of art for the walls and centerpieces of tables and countertops.
Make sure you also clean out all those closets, literally packing away all but the most necessary clothing items and leave the shelving bare or as close to as possible. Closets are often neglected, but can make a big difference when done right, to help people appreciate the amount of space there actually is. The human eye is a funny and strange thing. Most people can’t properly visualize the amount of empty space actually available in a room that’s packed (however cozily) full of furniture, items of all kinds filling corners, with knickknacks spread around and items hanging on the walls. Buyers also need the same kind of help with closet- spaces, so make sure your closets are as empty as possible!
For staging, depending on your situation and property, hiring a professional stager with the help of your REALTOR® can give you a massive advantage and lead to a much higher sale price, as well as more beneficial terms in-line with your ideal preferences. Ultimately, even if you hire a stager, unless you’re accustomed to paying others to do all manners of work around the house and in life to save you time, you might want to expedite and lower expenses by doing as much as possible yourselves first, when it comes to cleaning, depersonalizing, decluttering and staging, with again, help and advice from a great REALTOR®.
BOOST CURB APPEAL
Green is gold! One of the most obvious and impactful ways to boost curb appeal is to add fresh greenery, flowers and take care of your lawn. Even without spending time and money on major gardening, you can add planters and window boxes in key accent areas to significantly enhance your property’s exterior appearance.
Make the door standout! Painting a front door is an easy DIY job and even if you pay someone to do it, it’s a cheap way to make a big difference in curb appeal. Bold colours that enhance, versus clash with your existing exterior are recommended and don’t be afraid to go bright either. Just choose carefully before you paint and perhaps ask your REALTOR® or that design savvy friend for their recommendations.
Light up buyers first impressions! Porch string lights, fresh fixtures around the door, even solar powered lanterns can all work wonders to light-up the walkway, front porch, door and front of the home. Bear in mind that potential buyers often drive-by at night before and after viewings, so consider lighting up the property at night while it’s for sale to increase viewings and help potential buyers choose your property.
Mailbox makeovers and front door décor matter! Consider swapping out a dated or drab mailbox for something stylish. Or once again, a fresh coat of paint is a cheap and easy way to turn a negative into another positive element to first impressions. Like many parts of our human awareness, first to even post-viewing impressions are often primarily subconscious and all tiny visual details matter more than you might think. For front door and entrance décor, ask your REALTOR® as always and depending on the property, everything from a small inviting porch table and chairs to planters on either side of the front door and the perfect rented entry-table for inside the entryway can all make a home much more attractive to buyers.
Power-washing is a powerful, fast and fun must! Cleaning the outside of your home is almost as important as cleaning the inside. Power-washers make it fast and easy and depending on you, they can be pretty fun too. Not that most of you would need the reminder, but if you have children and depending on their age, this entire list from powerwashing and yard-work to packing, cleaning and staging are great ways to get the whole family involved, get things done faster and get better results.
A freshly painted or stained garage door captures a lot of positive attention too! A new door is expensive, but fresh paint or stain, using once again a bold colour or the perfect tone to highlight the home’s exterior is a powerful, easy and cheap way to boost curb appeal. Like many of these items, this is another great DIY task, a good way to get the kids involved or a cheap item to add to your handyhelper’s list.
Clear, clean, well-defined paths, the right balance of and selection of outdoor furniture and even new door hardware are important! Make sure you clear and ensure all pathways are well-defined and sharp looking. Consider a few solar powered lamps to help and add to the path and home’s overall visual appeal too. All outdoor furniture needs to be clean and in good condition. The right balance is key too, because too much outdoor furniture looks crowded and too little can look bare. Even a small table with a pretty planter and a few small ceramic stools, can go a long way for a garden corner or a smaller yard. Depending on the situation, new hardware can help make that front door look gorgeous.
Online advertising and the quality of your listing online is as important as it gets in today’s digital world, where everyone looks online first and foremost. Aside from leveraging as many of the best online sites and ensuring the photos, video and listing write-up are of the best possible quality, FaceBook still reigns supreme in Canadian real estate for additional online help getting attention and securing more overall viewings and visitors to your open houses.
Ask your REALTOR® if they plan on using Canvas, which is perhaps the best available tool for creative and interactive Facebook posts and ads, as well as utilizing the standard Facebook Live posting techniques & Facebook events.
USE STRATEGICALLY PLACED PHYSICAL SIGNS
Balloons attached to the normal physical signs are a great way to grab way more attention from people driving by. Drones with hanging signs have recently begun to be used to add powerful eye-catching attention, hovering above your open-house.
Don’t underestimate the power of standard physical “Open House” signs. Make sure your agent places several, helping potential buyers to easily find your house (especially if you are located off of a main road). This basic tool which is often neglected can certainly attract more potential buyers who may just be driving by and haven’t seen your house online. You never know who will decide to poke in for a quick look and decide your property is their new dream home.
INVITE THE NEIGHBOURS
Sometimes, we can all feel frustrated by nosy neighbours. However, your open house is exactly the time you want every neighbor especially the nosy ones, to be checking out your home. Invite all your neighbors to your open house. They may know of someone looking to move to the area (family, friend, or otherwise), and could end up recommending your home to them. Think of your neighbours as some of your most effective scouts and connections. Frequently, the nosy neighbor-types will be the first to tell their friends about your amazing kitchen counters, that bathroom remodel and all the best features of your property. Your realtor® can often help with letting your neighbours know about open-house dates and also consider sending your neighbor's personal invitations or fliers yourself too. Or, if you prefer, emails and personalized electronic invitations work too.
Make sure you secure your valuables (and any medication), before potential buyers start viewing your home. Thefts are rare, but they can happen. Pharmaceutical theft is one of the more common issues that can arise, so ensure your medicine cabinets are clear. Dispose of any medications you no longer need and lock up the ones that are in use (or take them with you). Also, be sure to lock up anything else that may tempt someone, such as jewelry, cash, credit cards and valuable (even if only sentimentally) knickknacks.
Your realtor® and team are there to help you sell your home, so there is no reason for you to be present during your open house. In fact, it’s highly recommended and potentially beneficial for plentiful reasons if you take off. Pack up the kids, and the pets (if you have any) and go for a drive, visit with friends/family, or head to the park. This will lessen the stress on potential buyers, and help them to feel as though they can speak freely and candidly with the agent. If you can, take your pets items with you (dishes, litter box, etc.). If not, make sure they are spotless.
PROVIDE INFORMATION PACKETS
Make sure your realtor® either leaves informational sheets for potential homebuyers to take home with them, or does careful sign-in and gathering of email information to follow up with a digital package. Buyers are almost always looking at multiple to a great many houses and having all the right information easily accessible about your home, will help them to more easily recall and consider it.
PROVIDE YUMMY TREATS
Providing delicious and/or freshly baked treats has two advantages: one, it creates an inviting, enticing aroma and the power of smell is a big deal that retailers have been using for decades, and two, your potential buyers have a delicious snack to enjoy while they tour your home, which leaves them with another set of positive impressions. Giving them a special treat, ensures potential buyers are sure to remember your property and as discussed directly below, cliché cookies work, but you can also consider contacting a local bakery or restaurant for something extraordinarily special, scrumptious and memorable.
CONSIDER A THEME OR CREATE AN EXCITING EVENT
These days, hosting an open house is about an experience. This is in part especially because of and despite the fact that prospective homebuyers often don’t have the opportunity to spend a ton of time at any given property. People want to maximum their Saturday’s and Sundays and also often plan to preview as many properties as possible.
For example—if the home happens to be designed with a regional theme, consider presenting them with similarly themed delicious treats. Also consider playing light music (e.g., bossa nova, smooth jazz or classical) which also cheers up the preview time and works to make a memorable experience.
Depending on the value of the property and your need to sell, you and your REALTOR® can also try all kinds of more unique and inviting strategies to make your open houses fun, unusual and wildly successful. You might host an open house that features a local or visiting author doing a book signing, food from two top restaurants, pop-up shopping, and more. The home could also be staged with furniture from a well-known antique/estate-sale business. Your goal is to draw people to the home and give them a reason to tour all the rooms and linger. For these stronger types of tactics you may also want to secure a media partner or two for pre- and post-event local and social coverage.
MARION GOARD’S A SEASONED PRO WHO LOVES USING OPEN HOUSES
Call 905-330-5201 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange coffee or tea and your free consultation.