Turning Ow Into Wow
You’ve done the prep work to list your house: “decluttered”, cleaned, done some fixing up, staged, the photographer’s taken the photos, and now your house is an active listing on the Multiple Listing Service. And then? Showings begin to be scheduled, and after each one you and your real estate agent anxiously await the feedback…what did the buyers think? Did they love the house? Should we expect an offer? And then, the unthinkable: critical feedback about the condition, size, decorating choices, or any number of things that frankly, hurt your homeowner ego a bit because there was some element of your home that these buyers didn’t like. Instead of feeling annoyed and defensive, it’s important to listen to what your showing feedback is telling you so that you can turn the “ow” feedback of this showing into a non-issue, or better yet, a “wow” reaction for future showings.
Through the showing stage of the home selling process, you can expect that despite all that you’ve done to get your house ready for sale, the house will not appeal to every buyer that walks through. Of the hundreds of potential houses a buyer may have to choose from, the average buyer in today’s market is looking at 10-12 houses before deciding on one to make an offer on. The goal, of course, is to have your house stand out positively versus all the other houses that buyers are looking at, and that’s why it is important to act on any feedback received.
Some buyers will like your house, and offer positive feedback, though for some reason or another, it’s not the house for them. Some will not like your house at all, and will let you know the reasons why. Some you won’t hear from. One tip is to add the phrase “at this price” to every bit of critical feedback that you receive. For instance, “Driveway was too long…’at this price’”, “Kitchen was too small….’at this price’”. Since value is in the eyes of the buyer, it’s wise to acknowledge that every buyer might buy any house “if the price was right”. If you want to get the most money for your house, listening to feedback is vital, even if taking the criticism on the condition or finishes of the place you’ve called home might sting. Here’s some common bits of feedback and a possible remedy:
“House smelled”: If your house is musty, smells like pets or cigarette smoke, or any other “stinky smell”, it’s an immediate turnoff to a buyer and makes them think “dirty”. If you have pets, and even if you can’t smell them, a buyer may be able to. Ensure that the litter box is emptied, the carpets have been cleaned, pet supplies have been put out of sight, and most importantly that you take your pets with you for the showing. A good scrubbing, a fresh coat of paint, an aired-out house, and a dehumidifier will do a world of wonders to help with feedback of the odiferous variety.
“House is too small”: Ensure that your house feels like it has enough room to a potential buyer walking through. When you receive feedback that your house is “too small”, one possibility is that you have too much “stuff” cluttering the space. Be sure that you’ve depersonalized as much as possible. If you’re not using something in the next six months, or if you have a lot of extra furniture cluttering your space? Pack it away, after all, you’ll be moving anyway!
“Those colors on the walls were too loud”: Neutrality is king when it comes to paint colors when your house is on the market. While your daughter may love her bright purple bedroom, and your son his orange one, those colors may not appeal to every buyer. Bright colors will stand out, all right, and for most buyers, not in a good way.
Give the buyer reasons to buy your house, not reasons to say no. While you may have a dozen showings or more before receiving an offer, in the end all that matters is that that “one” buyer sees the “wow” in your house, and sees himself living in it in the future.