Title Insurance: Getting Your Home Ready to Sell
Tips for Dealing with Prospective Buyers
- Refer prospective buyers to your broker to be prescreened and prequalified.
- Tell your agent everything about the home (good and bad) and let the professional decide how to highlight the positives and downplay the negatives.
- Write an exhaustive list of the features of your home.
- If you are present when prospective buyers are viewing your home, answer their questions professionally and truthfully, but do not offer information.
- Know the distance to schools, fire/police departments, etc.
- Let the home and the salesperson do most of the selling.
Guidelines for Getting Your Home Ready
- Clean everything. A clean home signals to a buyer that it has been well cared for and is most likely in good repair. A messy or dirty home will cause prospective buyers to start looking for flaws.
- Remove any clutter from your home before showing it. Have a garage sale. Empty the closets. Throw away what you cannot sell.
- Let the light in. Raise shades, open blinds, and pull back curtains. Put brighter bulbs in lamps (but not so bright as to cause a glare). Bright, open rooms feel larger and more inviting. Dark rooms feel small and gloomy.
- Let fresh air in. Get rid of odors that may be unfamiliar or unpleasant. People are most often offended by odors from tobacco, pets, cooking and musty laundry. Use fresh flowers and potpourri to your advantage. Other aromas that have a positive effect include fresh-baked bread and cinnamon.
- Fix anything that is broken, including plumbing, electrical items, windows, TV antennas, screens, doors, and fences. If an item is irreparable, replace it or get rid of it. (No window screen is better than a broken one.) A buyer will make a lower offer if your home is in disrepair and will probably still insist that everything be fixed before taking occupancy. Do not give potential buyers a reason to offer less than you are asking.
- Send pets away or secure them away from the house when showing your home. You never know if people will be annoyed or intimidated by your pets or even allergic to them. And you never want a prospective buyer to have to avoid animal droppings
- Send the kids to see grandma or take them on a walk. Children can be noisy and distracting to someone interested in looking at a home.
- Paint. Nothing improves the value of a home more, and so inexpensively, than a fresh coat of paint. And it is often easier to paint a room than it is to scrub it. Stick with neutral colors. Off-white is safest.
- Keep the noise down. Silence is a restful sound that offends no one. Turn off the TV and radio. Soft, instrumental music is fine, but avoid vocals. If necessary, close certain windows to eliminate street noise.
- Fix squeaky floorboards.
- Do not run noisy equipment while people are looking at your home. If possible, ask your neighbors to avoid irksome noises.
- Make sure the inside temperature is comfortable. If your home is being shown in winter and you have a fireplace, use it. A nice fire will make your home seem cozy and inviting.