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4 Steps to a Successful Sale

July 27 2010

house for sale lg

I was showing a house in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, yesterday. I arrived a few minutes early. My buyers were going to be about 10 minutes late. The sellers were still at the house. I knew I had scheduled the appointment, and hoped they would make themselves scarce rather quickly.

When you attempt to sell a house, the hardest part for many homeowners is making the psychological transition from home to house. It is your home, but you are selling a house. That emotional disconnect is nearly impossible for many, and it is what causes the most strife and discord during a real estate transaction.

There are certain things I ask all my seller clients to do and consider when preparing to sell their homes, and I want to share those with you – whether you are a prospective seller, a real estate agent, or just curious about real estate.

Steps for a Successful Sale

1. It might be your home, but you are selling a house. Disconnect the best you can; realize that a home can be anywhere. You will have a new home, but if you are emotionally attached to your house, you will not have the smoothest business transaction.

2. De-personalize the house. Remove all your personal photos from the house. It is difficult for a buyer to attach to a house when they are looking at your personal photos and considering how lovely your wedding/baby/graduation photos are. Let them get emotionally attached to the house.

3. De-clutter. Show them the house. If they have to try to imagine what is behind the oversized sofa, then perhaps you aren’t presenting the house, but the sofa. No one lives like they do when they stage a house for sale, but that is why we have storage places. I love the houses that clearly have three kids under the age of five with only near and tidy toy rooms. I can only imagine those parents ripping their hair out before every showing.

4. Get out during ALL showings. Short of a sleeping infant, a broken leg, of someone who is infirmed and can’t leave, get out of the house at all costs. This means if you must put your children into their car seats and drive the neighborhood, or roll Grandpa in his wheelchair onto the patio for 15 minutes, do it. The buyers need to be able to relax and “feel” the house, to get that connection. It is the territorial nature of it; the buyer feels as though they are intruding, bothering, inconveniencing the seller, and you must permit complete comfort.

The sellers didn’t leave until we got to the door yesterday, and that actually worked well in this instance, as the buyers and sellers seemed to have a quick polite connection, and the seller was charming and disarming, apologizing for getting the time wrong. I suspect she didn’t, but sometimes curiosity gets the better of you, and convenience wins.

I know someone will bring this up, so let me say it now – some real estate agents aren’t exactly punctual, and leaving your home with children in tow, or under other circumstances, for an hour or more can be rather inconvenient. I tell my clients in that position – leave as the buyer arrives, slipping out the back door, or through the garage, as inconspicuously as possible. If you are an agent, try to stick to your time window, and if running toward the latter half of the window, I like to call the appointment center as a courtesy to notify the homeowners.

To avoid being late, I like to rely on showing appointment software, that keeps me dialed into my daily showings.

The result of taking these steps, getting you more money for your house. It is what I do.