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Cheap, No-Brainer Open House Tips

August 29 2011

This post originally appeared on the ReachFactor blog.

As a Realtor or seller, when faced with the prospect of preparing a home for sale, a lot of big-picture projects come to mind that would give the home more first-impression appeal. Like, exterior painting, bedroom carpeting, kitchen remodel or even a simple flourish like window flower boxes. A new article from Bankrate comes in like a breath of fresh air and points out that it’s the simple things that make a home appealing to a buyer. Rather than just tally off the “five tips” I’ll focus on a few that really resonated.

According to Bankrate reporter Scott Van VoorhisScott Van Voorhis, the number one thing—and I can totally agree here—is the smell. According to Mr. Van Voorhis, “a house that smells right sells right.” He goes on to quote Rona Fischman, a Cambridge, Mass. broker, who says the house “should smell like a normal, clean house. If it smells like it just had an industrial cleaning or a cover-up smell or of rotting garbage, it really turns people off.”

The writer goes on the push a theme that floats through the whole article: That, in spite of the fact that buyers appreciate a clean-smelling and looking home, they are turned off or suspicious of over-production. A child’s room with not even one stray toy on the floor, a coffee table without a book on it, and other signs of family life or normal habitation can leave a negative impression with some buyers, as if they needed to identify in some way with the previous residents in order to imagine themselves living there.

The rest of the article has the usual good suggestions—water the plants, put in new light bulbs, etc.—but the ones I’ve just covered seem the most interesting and provide a glimpse (or at least a theory) into what makes one home more appealing than another.

For more advice on open houses, read our article The Open House OpportunityThe Open House Opportunity. And as always if you have suggestions for cheap, no-brainer home showing tips, please feel free to comment below!

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