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.
- 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.
I’ve helped hundreds of people over the years to buy their dream homes. Over and over again, I share these tips with my clients here in Greenwich CT and internationally. Some of these tips are common sense, others may be new to you.
So here we go, my top ten tips for buying a home!
- Location. Location. Location. It’s an oldie but a goodie. You’re not going to change where your house sits – so make sure it’s what you want and WHERE you want. Is it near the schools that your children go to? Is it close to friends and family (if you want to be close to friends and family ;>). Is it not too close to a busy road or nestled in the community you want to be in?
- The orientation of the house. I’ve written an entire article on this topic – it’s something I never get tired of stressing to home buyers. If light is important to you, you should buy a home that faces south or southwest. This is where all your light will come from.
- Flow. How you move between rooms in your home is important – and not easy to change barring major construction. Think about how the rooms relate to each other.
- Does the price make sense? Buying a home can be a very emotional process. And choose the right home can be overwhelming AND exciting. How do you judge if the price makes sense? You might feel that you really want the home, no matter the price. What I like to do with all my clients is a comparative market analysis to make sure what they’re asking – and what you’re offering – is on target. I help clients to navigate the impulse and emotion of home buying.
- Is the home peaceful? A home that is relaxing and serene is so important for most of us. Life is stressful and busy – our homes should be comforting and peaceful. And peaceful doesn’t mean you have to live in a silent vacuum. It means that it is comfortable and soothing for you and your family. For example, a train might go by in the evening. You might love the sound of a distant train. Others might not.
- Go for the best possible kitchen. Sure, you can buy and then remodel your kitchen: people do it all the time, either immediately or down the road. A kitchen remodel is a significant expense. So search for your dream kitchen in your ideal location and get it right right away.
- Dream master suite. When buying a home, make sure the master bedroom and bathroom meet your needs. Like the kitchen, a master suite renovation is an investment. And where does it sit? At the front of the house or at the back? Next to the kitchen or upstairs away from all the other rooms? You’re best off finding your dream home with the right master suite and kitchen (a la tip 6). NOTE: Sometimes location (tip 1) trumps many of the other criteria. Don’t worry, I’ll help you work through all this.
- Hire a good inspector. Yes, the seller has the home inspected – but that inspector is working for the home owner. Hire a good inspector who you know is representing your needs. I can recommend several good inspectors here in Greenwich.
- No home is perfect. No matter your budget, your dream home will have a quirk or two. Honestly: It’s okay not to be perfect. Don’t let those little imperfections deter you if the house is meeting all your other criteria.
- Make sure you have an outstanding real estate agent and a lawyer representing your needs.
It’s hard to believe but Airbnb launched in 2008 (where DOES the time go?). This tech “start-up” allows home owners to rent out their houses, or even just a room, through a secure e-commerce platform that is currently valued at over $30 billion (about the same as Marriott International). It’s no trend – home sharing is here to stay.
While many home owners were initially leery of Airbnb (“What! Allow strangers to stay in my house? Sometimes when I’m still there?”) and some potential renters (“What! Stay in a stranger’s home and not a hotel?), there’s a long history that points to the likelihood of cultural acceptance for this seemingly radical idea. In fact, here in Greenwich CT there are plenty of homes listed on Airbnb.
As a realtor, I see some distinct benefits that Airbnb has to offer homeowners, especially when they are getting ready to buy or sell. Here’s what I see:
Airbnb is the commercial systemization of a long standing practice.
Does your family have a mountain retreat or a beach condo in Florida that you’ve lent or rented to a co-worker’s son and his family? Have you ever stayed with friends of friends when you unexpectedly had to travel to Chicago or Atlanta? If yes, then you’ve participated in the social contract that makes Airbnb possible and profitable. While the concept seems radical to many, there’s an attractive model here—with built-in safety protocols—that allow great hosts and travelers to enjoy a more personal experience.
Considering a drastic life change or move? Try it out first with Airbnb.
Are you intrigued by the idea of a second home, downsizing or maybe even checking out a tiny house? Have you thought about a move to the heart of the city? Or are you convinced that life would be better if you lived in Greenwich and worked from home or commuted into the city? Before you completely uproot your life and family, test your assumptions. It’s one of the least understood benefits of Airbnb—the ability to try on a different physical address to help you learn what you’re really looking for in your next house. Experiment by renting a home in Greenwich or a farmhouse in the Berkshires of Massachusetts for a few days and learn if the locale brightens your day.
Rent out your home on Airbnb and find out if it’s market-ready.
One of the features that creates trust within the Airbnb community is the reviews and member profiles. Going through the exercise of searching similar rentals in your area, writing a description of what your home offers and even welcoming guests can provide a treasure trove of information. From rave reviews to discovering potential pitfalls (maybe you really do need to update the kitchen before selling), you’ll gather information that has the potential to make selling your house if not a snap, then certainly easier. Of utmost importance when deciding to list your house on Airbnb: Check with your insurance company. Make sure your regular insurance covers this kind of income related activity.
Did you find these tips helpful? You can read all my articles about home buying and selling on my blog. If you want to look at the gorgeous homes that I represent in Greenwich and internationally, click here.