Category Archives: Open House

The Nose Knows Best!

Occasionally clients ask me about little extra tips and tricks to improve the appeal of their home while it’s on the market. This is especially true when it comes to open houses or showings. Below I answer a common question about home odors.

Q: Is it a good idea to add pleasant odors (cookies baking, cinnamon, fresh flowers) to a staged home for showings?

A: Not necessarily. Odors do matter, but assuming you know what “a nice smell” is to you buyers could be trouble.

If anything, your house should smell freshly cleaned, but not “chemical.” Your best bet is to focus on eliminating foul or dominant odors.

If the house smells stuffy or “closed up” (you know, that “back of the closet with coats from 1974 smell”), concentrate on circulating fresh air first and foremost. Replacing air filters in forced heat/air systems is a good place to start.

The problem with adding odors such as baking cookies or fresh coffee is one of preference. How do you know what sort of associations buyers will have with the smells you think are attractive? A bright, Spring smell might come across as cloying to your visitors. (Floral scents may even set off allergies!)

Also consider this: Are you adding a “good smell” in an effort to cover up a bad smell? We all know how well that works out. The mix is pretty awful.

Finally, many buyers are aware of the “sweet smell” tactic associated with open houses. While your intentions may be good, some savvy prospects may be thinking, “I wonder what that smell is supposed to distract us from?”

Need a sniff test before hand? Ask a few neighbors or friends to give them your opinion when they walk in the door fresh, prior to the main open house or showing.

I love to work with clients to prepare their home for a top-dollar sale. Need more ideas for staging or improving the curb appeal of your home? Let’s chat! Get in touch today: crobertson@realestatelinks.com, 317-223-8015

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Are you sure you’re ready to buy?

It starts innocently enough… you pass a house in a neighborhood you like, you hear someone is selling their home, you happen to look up home prices online. Before you know it, you’re knee-deep in home shopping and open house visits. This can actually be exceedingly dangerous to your financial future.

Falling in love with a home before you actually know what you want in a home is risky. To avoid the “buy first, think later” syndrome that burdens family finances, marriages, and work life, ask yourself these important questions:

1. How much do we want to spend each month on home expenses? There’s a tendency for people who shop first to try and “make the math work” on purchasing a home. Often this leads to stretching the home budget and ignoring crucial expenses such as maintenance and property taxes in order to “make the mortgage.” Determine a comfortable, conservative range for home expenses first.

2. Which neighborhoods make sense from multiple angles? You may love a neighborhood for its leafy streets and family-friendly atmosphere, but what if it adds thirty minutes to your commute? Are the schools good? What are the crime stats like? What’s the walkability score? Don’t view a neighborhood with rose-colored glasses based on a single quality you like.

3. What’s a priority and what’s a nice extra? You may think you want extra bedrooms for guests and a home office, but which one is more important? Rank the must haves against the “nice to haves.”

4. What’s our long-term ownership picture look like? Are you settling in for ten years, or do you suspect you’ll need to move in four? While you can’t predict the future, you can make some estimates. Those estimates will help you understand how much home you should buy, what kind of down-payment you’ll want to have, and what the picture might look like in terms of renovations.

5. When can you move vs. when would you like to move? Rental leases, selling your current home, and job and schooling factors all impact the timeline for a purchase. Wrap your head around the pragmatic timeline as best you can.

I’m more than happy to help you think these through. Contact me for help today: 317-223-8015

Getting the most out of open houses

Finding a house you want to call home usually means touring open houses, especially if you want to have first crack at new listings as they come on the market. Many prime properties will receive offers after their first open house, so there’s an advantage to preparing for open house weekends in advance. Below are a few tips I thought you might find helpful:

1. Start checking Thursday/Friday for open houses. Since most happen on the weekend, you’ll want to scoop the newest ones by checking online. 

2. Group listings by your preferred neighborhood(s) to maximize the number of houses you see and minimize your “commute” time between listings. Most online tools will be able to show you nearby homes on a map.

3. Take notes at the open house. Don’t be afraid to whip out your smartphone to jot down notes or even take pictures. After a few homes, features can begin to blend together, and you might forget details by the time you’re done.

4. Spend some time immediately after discussing and ranking the homes you toured. Sometimes a simple pro/con analysis can help you narrow the search and inform what to focus on during your next tour.

5. If you find a home you like, don’t wait to write an offer! Get in touch immediately and we can make sure that perfect home isn’t snapped up before it’s too late.

With a plan in place, you can see a wider variety of homes and be prepared to make informed decisions.

 

 

Don’t Stick Around

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A delicate subject I sometimes have to approach with clients selling their home is the importance of steering clear of showings and open houses while prospective buyers are touring their home.

It can be touchy. After all, how do you kick someone out of their own house? Many buyers are anxious about the showing and open house process. They feel the need to hover in the wings, which I understand. There are several reasons why this is not the best idea.

Four Reasons Why Owners Sticking Around for a Showing/Open House is a Bad Idea:

1. I’ve had experiences where prospective buyers have actually passed on a showing once they’ve found out the current owners were home.

2. It’s important that buyers be able to visualize the home as “theirs already.” They need to be able to imagine living in the house, which is pretty tough to do with the owners making a sandwich in the kitchen.

3. Presence of a seller makes the prospective buyer feel guilty for “judging” the home. If the buyer isn’t given free range to evaluate the home, the doubt is enough to put them off the property entirely.

4. If all goes well, the buyer may want to stay for a time at the house and chat with the agent. This is a good sign (it means the buyer may be moving towards an offer), but with the seller present, it’s all but impossible.

I try not to offend my clients when I ask them to understand these reasons. While I empathize with the nervousness that accompanies the sales process, my goal is the smooth sale of their home. A little space for the prospective buyers is an important ingredient.

Stress-free showings are just one part of my approach to marketing your home to sell. Get in touch and I’d gladly show you what else I can do to get you top dollar for your home. Currently, selling a beautiful home near water!