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How Will Buyers Label Your Home?

Home buyers are not your usual shoppers. They can’t be treated as if they were buying a power washer or a plane ticket. They are sensitive creatures whose home purchase decision is often made through an emotional fog which begins to thicken just as they pull up to your house…

“Will the walkway and front door impress my friends? Does the kitchen have that Norman Rockwell feel? Does the staircase make a lovely backdrop for prom pictures? Does the view from the bedroom window inspire me? Will my dogs be happy frolicking in the yard? Can I imagine myself living here? Is it me?”

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It’s emotionally exhausting trudging from house to house weighing these personal factors and making comparisons.

If the buyers’ reaction to a house is “Maybe,” their agent may ask them for a short description to be used as an identifier such as, “House with Great View,” “Cheery Kitchen,” or even “Dirty Carpet House.” She will write the label on the listing printout and later refer to it to jog the buyers’ memory when it’s time to winnow the list down. You can bet that this description is generally the buyers’ over-riding first impression.

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So it’s very important for sellers to know how to appeal to a buyer’s mind which is hyper-sensitive to emotional criteria and first impressions.

First of all, the good news is that if an agent schedules time to show your house to a buyer, your home already meets some important requirements like price, geographic location, size, number of bedrooms/baths and particular amenities like a pool or 3-car garage. From this point on though, you should prepare as much as possible to appeal to a buyer’s emotions.

Here are suggestions that always help:

– Significantly de-clutter at both a large and small scale. In other words, remove extraneous furniture pieces that are distracting or impede walking flow and keep table surfaces clean of accessories with the exception of one or two tasteful objects. Also remove most personal items like hanging family portraits or clusters of family pictures. Think of it like a hotel room – decorated, but detached.

– It’s true that “you never have a second chance to make a first impression.” The entrance to your home is a hint of what’s to come inside. Sprucing up the front with manicured landscaping, flowers and fresh paint sends a message that visitors are going to be wowed, even if the home doesn’t meet all their requirements. You’ve paved an emotional path that gets you closer to a sale.

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– The focal point in every room, which is often the first thing a buyer sees when entering, should be attractive with a symmetrical or balanced look. People are naturally disposed to order and visual balance so consider hiring a stager to help you achieve this.

– You’ve heard this before but a well-placed bowl of fresh fruit or fresh flowers makes a house seem homey and loved.

– Clean out and organize closets. Opening a closet door is akin to peaking “behind-the-scenes,” so buyers interpret well-organized shelves to mean that sellers have stayed on top of the upkeep in the house

– Our pets help make our house a home but during a showing, it’s best that they aren’t seen, heard or smelled! Odors hit a buyer’s central nervous system which triggers a suspicion that carpets need to be replaced.

– Finally, eliminate the glaring warts and fix problems yourself. Many buyers just can’t see the potential in a room if something in it needs cleaning, repairing or replacing. At the end of a buyer’s day, you don’t want to be the house with the label, “House with greasy stove.”

By the way, these ideas are also great to implement if you plan to stay in your home to make you fall back in love with it!
If you know of someone who is thinking about selling soon, please have them call me today! I can help them get their home prepared to be on the top of any buyer’s list.