No one wants to put their home on the market to have it just sit there, unvisited, no offers. So most of us, when faced with the need to sell our current home, are willing to put a bit of effort into making it look its best.
But what do we mean by “parade-ready”? Particularly in this market where there is such a shortage of inventory, but really in any market, there are a number of buyers out there circling like buzzards, waiting for the home of their dreams to pop up with a for sale sign in the yard. Maybe they have been looking for a while, but the just-right home hasn’t surfaced yet. Or maybe they have been beaten out in bidding wars and are hoping to pounce on the next suitable contestant.
Either way, these folks will leap into action and immediately schedule a visit to your newly-for-sale home as soon as it hits the market. This doesn’t mean that you listed it too low, just that there is some pent-up demand out there.
Don’t be lulled into a false sense of security…this also doesn’t mean that your house is the greatest thing since sliced bread and will be immediately snatched off the shelf no matter what. It may be…or not. The parade of buyers will quickly descend, pass judgment, and move on if they aren’t moved to action by what they find. And they may not be back later.
We feel it is of paramount importance to have your home ready to wow the initial parade when it arrives, as it almost certainly will. Here are a few tips to get your home “parade-ready”.
- Price it realistically. Yes, we know, it’s a sellers’ market. Yes, we know that you don’t want to leave money on the table. But these days, buyers have access to all the information they need to make an informed decision about the reasonableness of an asking price. They may have been watching the neighborhood for a while, and may even be better informed than some agents as to realistic pricing. It doesn’t hurt to push the envelope a tad, but even 10% overpriced will be immediately sniffed out by the parade, and that property either overlooked, or put on the back burner until the sellers “get real”, whereas meanwhile, a similar home priced at or close to the market will receive multiple offers.
- Find and fix any easily repairable problems. Our experience shows that having a home pre-inspected and the typical multitude of minor repairs corrected before it is listed sends a strong message to sellers that you are reasonable, realistic, and serious about getting your home sold. A freely provided inspection report provides a level of comfort not found in the average, especially older, home, and may induce a buyer to move forward with confidence, knowing there will be no unpleasant surprises.
- Be sure it sparkles. From the moment the buyers pull up to the curb, they will start looking for reasons not to buy your house. Maybe not consciously but at some level. You don’t want them to find any. Tidying up is easy, not to mention free. It is a nuisance to keep your house in show-ready shape when you are actually living in it, but think how annoying it will be six months from now when it still hasn’t sold, and send it off on the right foot from the get-go. Be especially attentive to off-putting odors. We understand that your pet orangutan is “part of the family”, but that zoo odor won’t appeal to many buyers, who will be confident it is an unfixable problem.
- Don’t leave fixtures in place that buyers will fall in love with if you intend to take them. If your great grandmother’s chandelier currently graces the dining room and you can’t bear to part with it, replace it before your home is out there. Of course you can specify in the listing that it isn’t included in the sale, but better to not even have anyone see it and decide they, too, can’t live without it. We once had a deal nearly turn into a catastrophe when the buyers arrived to find a Webber grill had been removed from the back yard. They had a complete meltdown, and insisted that that grill was a major reason they had bought the house. The agents involved ended up chipping in to buy them a new one. Just don’t go there.
- Let us help you stage your home for the parade. Most buyers don’t have the imagination to envision how an empty home might look with their furniture in it. Or how it might look without all the clutter that accumulates over the years for all of us. You don’t want buyers distracted by your stuff. We have had buyers spend the bulk of their time in a home scrutinizing family pictures to see if maybe the sellers are someone they know (welcome to Reno, the Biggest Little City), rather than imagining it as their home. Let our experience with years of listening to buyers help you sort through what to leave, how to display it, and what to pack away.
We would love to have the opportunity to help you decide how to prepare your home for the parade. We also offer, for those that can’t or would rather not deal with it all, a “parade-ready” service that takes care of all of those details for you. Give us a call for a consultation!
Photo credits (From Flickr via Creative Commons License):
Parade Reno 376 by Larry Jacobsen
Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade 2014 by S Pakhrin