As a buyer’s agent, I’m looking at houses all day long. I know what buyers like and what makes them immediately leave. These concepts aren’t new, yet in this market of distressed properties, I’m seeing less and less “staging” and cooperation and more of a “you’ll take it as it is and love it” attitude. After all that’s what all the banks do right?
In actuality, REOs (real estate owned) or bank owned homes are the easiest to show and sell. They are vacant. A buyer can see the home anytime they want . Added to that the buyer’s can look at the house all they want without the weird feeling of snooping through someone else’s stuff. REOs are sometimes remodeled, painted in a neutral color, the carpet is replaced, and in some cases the appliances are new or retrofitted. Finally, the process is often faster, 30 -60 day escrow and no third party approval needed.
So how do you get your home to compete?
First, if you have to sell your house as a short sale you can’t compete on time. The best you can do is hiring a short sale specialist (I can refer you to some great ones no matter where you live) to work the negotiation process. Often times, the right agent can make a huge difference in time.
However, you can make your home competitive in other areas.
1.) Make your home as easy to show as possible. We live in a fast food culture. We expect instant gratification. If a buyer can’t see your house immediately, they most likely will not see it at all.
2.) Clean you house. I sounds like a no brainer right? You’d be surprised how often I walk into a house with dishes in the sink and clothes on the floor.
3.) Remove personal items like pictures and chotskies. You want the buyer to be able to imagine their stuff in the house, not be obsessed with the photo of you pole dancing a light post.
4.) De-clutter the house. If you’ve started packing, move the boxes to the garage where they are out of sight. This let’s the buyers see the full space and opens up the rooms.
5.)If you’ve already moved, keep the power on. Buyers work and many of them can’t view houses until the evenings. Looking at homes with a flashlight has become a common practice. Stand out and keep the power going.
6.) Don’t over power the house with smells. Neutral smells like cinnamon, vanilla, and light lemon are inviting and nostalgic. Fruit Explosion or anything floral from the dollar store may smell great to you, but they can also induce headaches and allergies in others.
Your house is competing against the house next door that’s $10,000 cheaper and bank owned. You want to impress the buyer so much, they are willing to stick around for 4 months waiting for lien holder approval. Take the extra time and effort to make your home more appealing to buyers. Now, more than ever, your house has to make the buyer fall in love.
*On a completely unrelated note, I’m hiring. If you know anyone who loves to look at houses, is independent, organizes and a motivated, please have them submit a resume to Jessica.L.Kincaid@gmail.com