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How to prepare your property for sale

Industry watch

2019-07-31

When you show your home, you want to engage the buyer emotionally because the decision to buy is based more on emotions and less on logic. Give the buyer permission to say, "Yes, I want to buy this home," by staging, accentuating your home's positive attributes, and do not draw any attention to the negative aspects.

Here are tips for showing your home that engage all of the senses:

The Gracious Welcome to Show a House

Although the buyer is a guest in your home, you want the buyer to imagine owning the home. You don't want to make the buyer feel like an intruder. You want to say: Please, come on in so I can show my house to you.

  • Don't expect the buyer to remove her shoes, unless you are selling to a buyer for whom religious or cultural reasons mandate it. Or you are buying a house in Hawaii. Otherwise, the presumption might be insulting.
  • Leave the house. You will be tempted to follow the buyers and explain upgrades, amenities. Do. Not. The buyer won't talk about the house in front of you or open doors with you standing there.
  • Don't pressure or hurry the buyer. Tell the buyer to take all the time that is needed.
  • Leave a bowl of wrapped candy or other treats near the front door with a small note thanking the buyer for coming to see your home.

Check the Room Temperature

  • Showing your home is not the time to worry about your utility bill. If it's cold enough to wear a sweater to stay warm, turn on the heat. Don't make buyers shiver or wish they could roll up in your rug for warmth.
  • If it's warm outside, turn on the air conditioning. It's better to heat or cool the house a degree or two warmer/colder than usual and then set the temperature at normal. This prevents the heat or A/C from kicking on when the buyer is present because some HVAC systems are loud.

View more: How to turn your balcony into a beautiful oasis

Create a Mood

  • Light a fire in the fireplace. Even if it's the middle of summer.
  • Make it romantic by placing two champagne glasses on a nearby table with a bottle of champagne.
  • Turn on soft music.

Play Down the Scent

  • Many people are allergic to certain scents and deodorizers, so don't spray the air or plug-in air fresheners.
  • Don't burn candles or spray perfume in the bedroom for the same reason.
  • If weather permits, open the windows - if there is too much noise outside, close them.

Play Up the Visual

  • If you have seasonal photographs showcasing flower gardens, leaves bursting in color or a snow-covered lawn twinkling from street lights, then display them in a prominent position.
  • Open all the window coverings to let in light.
  • Keep blinds partially closed that otherwise show undesirable outdoor scenery such as a dilapidated fence or a nearby structure that obstructs views.

Light up the House

  • Turn on every light in the house, including appliance lights and closet lights.
  • Brighten dark rooms with few windows by placing spotlights on the floor behind furniture.
  • Turn off the TV; if you're playing music on a computer, turn off the monitor.

Encourage Touching

  • Drape sensuous fabrics such as velvet wraps or silk throws over chair arms.
  • Leave doors slightly ajar.
  • If you have carpeting, vacuum in one direction and don't walk on it again.


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