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Open Home Guide

Inspection success with these simple tips

It’s important to understand the role emotion plays in any sale and have the right know-how to create the right look and feel to truly engage buyers. When preparing your property for sale, think about your buyers. They don’t just want a home. They are buying a dream – a lifestyle. It’s your job to romance the buyers.

Remember that buyers will usually be visiting a number of properties on the same day, and yours will be in competition with others on the market at the same time. You never get a second chance to make a first impression! You need to give your all in displaying your property. It must clearly override all others, so that buyers don’t remember it merely by looking at the brochures or viewing it online – but instead have it etched in their minds.

So make sure your property stands out from the crowd on open day.

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First impressions

Other people’s mess always looks worse than your own. From the moment prospective buyers arrive they are making an internal commentary on everything they see. Get the big clean out of the way in advance, so you only need to do a quick refresh to prepare for open home inspections remembering some buyers will view out of scheduled times. So make sure:

  • Your house is thoroughly cleaned inside and out, top to bottom, including inside ovens, cupboards and wardrobes.
  • Gardens and lawns should be kept well presented.
  • All rubbish should be disposed of, garbage bins kept out of sight, cobwebs removed, paths kept clean, toys and garden tools stored away.

  • Invite light and air into your home

    Before your inspection open the windows and doors and let the air out of your home, so come inspection time it feels as fresh and clean as possible. Buyers head straight back to the front door if a home looks dark and feels “stuffy”. Weather permitting leave a window or two open so air can keep circulating through. Where practical, open those blinds and pull back the curtains, to let in as much light as possible.

    Illusion of space

    Remove ALL unnecessary clutter and watch your house expand in size. Neat, well ordered cupboards, wardrobes and pantry show that space is ample. Clean windows are also important and make a home feel more spacious.

    Don’t spend big money

    If you spend a lot of money painting, carpeting or adding a deck, etc you will want to add this to the price. Do your homework first. If you spend say $50,000, are there sales evident in your locale to recoup the spent dollars + some for the effort you have put in. Buyers may not share your creativity, and be willing to pay the extra in price, even though what they are getting is almost new.

    Little things count

    Make sure all minor repairs are completed. Start now doing all those small repairs you have been putting off doing i.e. the leaking tap in the kitchen, blown light bulbs, sticking doors and windows, loose doorknobs, dripping taps or peeling paint etc. etc. etc. – you know the ones I mean!!

    Property styling

    The first impression is what is going to sell a property. Homes that have been styled, stand out against comparable properties, and look impressive on real estate websites and in visual presentations.

    Property styling, or staging, has become one of the big growth areas in real estate marketing as owners and agents look to maximise a property’s appeal and value. Stylists and interior designers can either work with a homeowners’ existing furniture and design or create something entirely new from scratch. The secret to staging a property is to take away the owners’ personal tastes and create something that will appeal to the highest percentage of potential buyers.

    Property styling can raise the value of a property by decluttering, depersonalising and reducing the flaws. Perception is reality in selling, and creating a warm, homely and inviting environment will position your property ahead of others in a buyer’s mind.

    You also get a head start on preparing for the move. Household items used less often are packed away and you begin to view your home as a product for sale. A home stylist will help you emotionally disconnect from your home in preparation for change, which reduces the stress of selling and moving.

    Personal Touches

    A personal touch here and there, can spark an emotional connection with a buyer. Fresh flowers can add a dash of personality to your home, or a small dish of sweets near the door can be memorable. Perhaps a digital photo frame or Ipad on rotation of your favorite home photo’s to inspire the curious. It’s amazing how these minor touches can boost the overall appeal of your home.

    Neither hot nor cold

    Would be buyers shouldn’t raise a sweat or a chill inspecting your property. You need to demonstrate your home can effortlessly cope in all seasons.

    A comfortably warm home on a cold day brings a welcoming feeling of coziness. On a hot day, turn on air-conditioning or ensure your home is well ventilated.

    The scent of success

    Smokers and dog owners beware: stale air can make or break an open inspection, and make buyers want to leave fast. Unpleasant smells, and strains can actively turn someone off your property. Strategically place room deodourises, a bowl of potpourri around your home, ( but not too much ) and open windows. Stream clean the carpets or if need be wash down the walls and ceilings with sugar soap or similar. Ask a friend or neighbour to come over to give you the all clear.

    Let’s not forget to old and tested smell of a freshly baked cake or freshly brewed coffee. Often the effect is subliminal: days later, purchasers don’t always know why they got such good vibes from your home.

    No pets underfoot

    Give your pets a vacation during inspections. They need to be kept out of the way, preferably out of the home. Let the agent and buyer talk undisturbed.

    Don’t forget to remove animal hair from the furniture, stow the feeding bowls, toys or any litter trays. And just one more thing – pick-up any droppings!!

    Safety First

    While theft or injury from Open Homes is very rare, it is always better to minimize the chance of becoming a petty crime statistic or having to deal with a personal injury claim. These guidelines will assist.

  • Don’t invite disaster by letting any prospective purchaser to enter your home without the agent being present.
  • The agent normally records the name and contact details of every visitor before they enter your home, to deter thieves and provide a degree of accountability if anything goes wrong. But shouldn’t be relied upon.
  • Remove any items of value such as cash, jewellery and small artifacts. Keep them in a safe, locked area.
  • Draw the agent’s attention to any items / areas which might be particularly delicate or sensitive to touch or movement e.g. antique furniture.
  • Carry out a thorough inspection of your property at the conclusion of every open home to satisfy yourself that everything is in order. Report any irregularity to the agent and if necessary the police.
  • Check that your householders, and public liability insurance, is up-to-date.
  • Make sure your property is safe for people to walk through.

  • Take a back seat

    Leave potential buyers to wander through your home unencumbered and relaxed. Be ready to head out for a short time, taking everybody with you including pets during schedule inspections. Don’t forget to do a quick tidy up before leave.

    If you don’t want to leave entirely, consider setting up an area in or around the home so buyers don’t feel awkward walking around your home in your presence. Maybe they might stop, and chat to ask questions about your home and/or the area. But never apologise for the condition or appearance of your home. This only emphasises the faults. Don’t discuss the details of the transaction such as price or terms with prospective buyers or your friends. Your agent, is best placed to emphasise the features of your home to prospective buyers, and negotiate the best price.

    Setting a price

    It is sometimes a mistake to list your home with the agent who suggests the highest price or the lowest commission.

    While it is true that you can always ‘come down’, there are many factors to consider. First, the market is always looking for new listings. This means that the first few weeks your home is on the market is likely to bring more inspections than at any other time. Many buyers in the price range will rush to see your home. Those that have been looking for some time are the ones who have done their homework and are ready to buy. But they will also be the most aware of the market value of your property.

    A correctly priced home makes buyer’s feel they need to snap it up before someone else does. If the price is too high they feel no such sense of urgency. Just as vendors take the attitude ‘we can always come down,’ buyers think they will wait until the price drops. It is often the case that a property will lose as much as 10% in value after being on the market three or more months and becoming ‘stale’. The longer your property stays on the market, the more negotiating power buyers feel they have.