How to Show Your Home to Prospective Buyers

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Showing Your Home to Prospective Buyers

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Your open house went well and you now have some buyers who want to privately visit your home. Showing a home to prospective buyers can be a make or break moment in the selling of your house. Here are some tips for closing the deal on your home and getting the best price from buyers when showing them your house.

Maintain that open house staging- This may be difficult in your day to day life, but your home should always be staged like it was for the open house as frequently as possible. This means:
  • open space
  • impeccably clean
  • brightly lit
  • lack of personal items
  • clean and functioning furniture
  • neutral colors and aesthetics
  • no offensive odours
This may not be the ideal way for you to live, but straying from buyer-friendly staging could make it hard to set up again if a prospective buyer wants to schedule a private showing on short notice.

Make sure you only show to serious buyers- Because private showings are inconvenient and you risk theft when you let strangers into your home, only set up showings with people you can feasibly picture buying the home. If you suspect someone is a criminal or even a rival seller scoping out the competition, you are well within your rights to deny them a private showing. Remember it is still your home and it is always up to you to feel comfortable with the people allowed to enter.

Don't be there- Your presence will deter the prospective buyers from picturing themselves living in your home. They'll also be less likely to thoroughly check out your home if you are standing there. Have your agent act on your behalf during the showing or simply leave after greeting the prospective buyers. Looking through someone else's living quarters is awkward, but it can be less awkward for both you and the prospective buyers if you aren't watching them examine your bathroom.

Let them make themselves at home- A private showing is a bit more personal than an open house, so it gives the prospective buyers a chance to really act like it is their own home for the first time. This means that they may want to lay on the couches or leave their shoes on. You need to let them do this. I know that keeping the home clean is an important part of staging, but nothing can make a prospective buyer feel unwelcome like being asked to take his shoes off before entering what he was thinking would be his eventual home.

Provide light refreshments- If a buyer has a good experience in your home, then they are likely to associate the house with positive feelings. That means you should treat them like a guest and provide them with food and beverages. You also can show off your kitchen a little by displaying food in a way that says, "Look! You could host little parties like this if you owned this house!" Short of providing sandwiches or cookies, you could just leave a bowl of candy. Any little treat will help--just make sure that you provide access to an empty garbage can so they don't trash the house.

Make sure the house is a good temperature- One thing many people hate when visiting others is the slightest temperature deviation from what they have become accustomed to in their own homes. If your thermostat is especially responsive, you could leave a note instructing the prospective buyer to adjust it as they see fit. Otherwise, skew slightly toward overcompensating for the weather. Keep it cold in the summer and warm in the winter. This may mean a bigger heating or energy bill, but it will also make your home feel more like a sanctuary from the elements. Even if you overheat or overcool your home slightly, the buyers may still be impressed with the strength of your climate control system.

If you or your real estate agent can't be present, consider a lockbox showing- Lockbox showings allow you to have no actual representation at your home during a showing. A box is placed on the front door that only unlocks for real estate agents' cards. This means that prospective buyers will need an agent to enter your home. It is a decent compromise between security and convenience.

Don't let on that they are the only prospective buyers- If you want a competitive price for your home, each prospective buyer needs to get a sense that they are competing with other possible buyers. Try not to leave any personal notes and make it seem like many people have gotten to the private showing stage. If a prospective buyer knows that he is the only one interested in buying the house, then all of the negotiating power goes to him.

Hopefully, your showing will lead to multiple offers from multiple possible buyers. This should get you a good offer so you can pay off those moving expenses.

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on August 19, 2014 - Moving Expert
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