Don’t Let Your Manners Jeopardize Your Home Sale: 7 Etiquette Guidelines for Home Sellers

WHAT do your manners have to do with selling your home? More than you’d imagine! Based on the decades of buyers and sellers I’ve met, witnessed and helped buy or sell a home here in Greenwich, I’ve seen several home sellers self-sabotage a potential sale by letting emotion or behavior get the best of them. They can sometimes lose a sale in the process.

With the right attitude and consideration for the emotional pulls and tugs a home sale can evoke, you can anticipate many of these concerns and plan how to address them before they happen. This saves you and your team potential heartache, time and money. And there are plenty of proactive considerations that show a prospective buyer you appreciate their time and interest in your house. Here are some tips to attract buyers in Greenwich, CT.

  1. Show your home—and yourself—in the best possible light.

Don’t waste people’s time by putting your home on the market before it’s truly ready to shine.

Has your realtor or a trusted friend said, “It would really help if you repainted the living room/removed half of the furniture in the bedroom/cleaned out the basement/put in some shrubs around the foundation”?

And maybe you’ve decided these fixes aren’t necessary? If so, be prepared that a prospective buyer’s feedback may sound like this: “The paint in the living room really needs a refresh/the bedrooms seem really small/it’s hard to get a sense of the basement because it’s so full.” No one is going to say “I told you so,” but…they told you so.

You’ll find more warm-weather clean-up tips here.

2. Encourage free speech and set expectations for post visit feedback and follow up

Let your realtor know BEFORE showings start what you expect for post-showing follow up. Many sellers report feeling frustrated and disappointed when they ask their realtor how a showing went only to hear “Great!”

Assure your realtor that you want all of the feedback—good and bad—and that he or she should encourage prospective buyers to give their honest assessment of your home.

Talk to your realtor in advance about what you’d like them to ask potential buyers to solicit the feedback you most want. Do you want to hear the negatives along with the positives? Can you set emotion aside so you can hear the feedback which will give you the best chance to sell quickly and at the price point you want?

And to avoid post-visit let down, ask your realtor now what happens after a prospective buyer visits? I’ve had clients say they want to know which focal points of the home most impressed and which negatives where beyond their control (location, lot size, school district, property taxes). How and how often does your realtor follow up and what else can be done to encourage the buyer? Ask now, so you’re not tossing in bed at 2 am wondering if this visitor is “the one,” and if your realtor is doing enough to follow up.

3. Be Ready to Leave the Premises

Sure, you’re dying to know if prospective buyers will love what you’ve done with the kitchen, but you, the seller, need to leave during an open house or showing.

It’s hard for a potential buyer to see themselves in your home if you are there. It’s not easy to leave but this will happen often during the selling process. Have a few places in mind where you can quickly escape to—like a friend or family member who will let you into their house when they aren’t there, a book store or local coffee shop. Consider having a go bag with a book or some work you need to do to take the sting out of having to leave your home on short notice.

4. Let the dog out.

See above and add the dog park, or any pet friendly stores and spaces to your “go to list” if you have a pet. Someone with allergies, who isn’t into dogs or cats (they do exist) may conjure up negative associations when they see a pet—is the house really clean? Will it smell like wet dog in here when it’s humid or rains? If your dog stays and barks throughout the visit, the prospective buyer may rush the tour. Remove those concerns by taking the dog with you.

5. Park here.

As a consideration to your guest, leave ample and obvious parking for the buyer and the realtor. Let the realtor know ahead of time where to park.

6. Encourage buyers to take pictures and ask questions.

Some sellers are uncomfortable with prospective buyers taking pics of their home. Pictures are crucial to a buyer considering multiple properties; so tell your realtor to encourage prospective buyers to snap away. It’s also fine for you to request that those photos don’t go up on social media. Make it even easier for your visitors to fall in love with your home by leaving out some pictures that you’ve taken over the years that showcase the beauty and uniqueness of your home through the seasons. Updates, additions and renovations that have been documented can be left in a photo album for visitors. Put out documentation of the practically brand new refrigerator and stove that you plan to leave.

7. It’s true. Freshly made cookies don’t hurt.

Making prospective buyers feel welcome does make an impact. It encourages someone to linger, to envision themselves in the home. Engage ALL of the senses to make the experience complete.

Have a question about the ups and downs of the current real estate market? Wondering what your home is worth? Or are you thinking about buying or selling your home before winter? Give me a call! I’m always happy to chat. And sign up for my newsletter, won’t you? I share Greenwich real estate updates monthly.

Note: The beautiful and sophisticated home featured in the image above is 15 Mountain Laurel Drive here in Greenwich. Just bring your toothbrush because it’s move-in-ready home. Learn more here. Open house on Sunday, October 6 from 1pm – 4pm.