In part oneof this blog, we introduced the hidden science to selling a home, based on mountains of data, copious independent research, a combined centuries of home selling experience, and the psychology of perceptions and human behavior. Based on this information, we’ve extracted the best tips, secrets, and scientific principles that will help you sell your home for top dollar. Here 10 more home selling secrets, and contact us if you have any questions or need help selling your home!
1. First impressions
Just how important are first impressions when a potential buyer looks at your home? Research shows that 80% of all prospective buyers know within a seconds if a home is right for them. It’s probably happened to you, too – that feeling that a home has the “it” factor when you first walk in the front door. Based on that data, it’s important that home sellers focus on enhancing the elements of that first impression. Start with the curb appeal of how your home looks from the street when first pulling up, the walkway to the front door, the entryway itself, and of course the foyer and first impression when they walk inside. Luckily, fresh paint, flowers, landscaping, air fresheners, new lighting, etc. are all relatively inexpensive ways to boost your home’s first impression.
2. Light and mirrors
Small rooms or spaces that frequently lack natural light or sit in shadows can be a real turn off for prospective buyers, as they’ll gauge them as smaller than the actual square footage, unappealing, or downright uninviting. To help enhance a room’s brightness and openness, make sure you don’t have heavy curtains, but window coverings that allow as much light in as possible. Mirrors that are strategically set up to reflect natural light during certain times of day are also effective for re-shaping homebuyer perceptions.
3. Smoking is bad for you (and your sale)
If you’re a smoker and regularly lit up inside your house, selling can be a big challenge. Even if you can’t whiff even a trace of cigarette or cigar, homebuyers can almost instantly sniff the remnants in your house – making them cringe, and probably walk right back out the front door. Since smoke particles can be 1/1000 the width of a human hair, smoke tends to permeate into walls, wallpaper, curtains, rugs and flooring, and even the heat and air system, and is hard to eradicate. It’s not enough to open the windows and place a lot of air fresheners in the house, but there are ways you can permanently treat the smoke particles. Replace heat and air filters, steam clean carpets, repaint walls with special odor-blocking primer, thoroughly wash curtains and bed coverings, and even change light bulbs. Then, place bowls of vinegar around the house for three days (you can also try this with baking soda). Once you open the windows after that, the vinegar should extract the cigarette particles and send them right outdoors!
4. Access should be easy
Is it easy for a buyer to view your home? And just as importantly, is it easy for a buyer’s real estate agent to set up a showing and prioritize your home as they go out house hunting? Research and anecdotal evidence shows that if a home is hard to get into, certain rooms are off limits, dangerous pets are home, has restrictive showing hours, is only available by appointment, or has other special instructions, it will probably go to the bottom of the stack of homes they are looking at that day. Of course your own convenience and privacy as a homeowner is first on your mind, but if you’re serious about getting top dollar for your home, you’ll prioritize the buyer’s experience and make it easy to display “your product.”
5. Clean out storage - but not all the way
You may have heard the advice (including from us) to de-clutter your home before listing it for sale by empting out closets, cabinets, and other storage areas. In fact, the perception of a potential buyer is that a home is larger, more inviting, and even lighter when there are less effects and possession around, and they can even subconsciously project their own things in the space. But you also don’t want a home to be completely devoid of furniture and decorations. A great tactic is to take out 80% of your stuff out of closets and storage areas and out it in off-site storage (not packed into your garage.) But by leaving a few choice items in your closets, cabinets, and on countertops, those areas and surfaces will look even bigger and more spacious, enhancing the buyer’s perception of utility.
6. A picture is worth a lot more than 1,000 words
When selling real estate, you can never have too many attractive and professional quality photographs. Since the vast majority of buyers and agents will first be exposed to your listing online, the first thing people do is look at the main photo and then start clicking on a few more. In fact, a recent study showed that listings with more than 6 pictures are twice as likely to be viewed by buyers as listings that had fewer than 6 pictures! It’s also worth to have your photographs taken by a real estate photography professional, and for higher-end and luxury listings, video tours and drone footage will yield great results.
7. Relocate the pets
Fido The Dog may be a beloved member of the family, but it would be wise to remove them from your home during the period when you’re selling. Buyers may be allergic to dogs or cats, annoyed by incessant barking, scared or have traumatic memories, or just turned off by the smell. It’s a certainty that having non-traditional pets like snakes, weasels, etc. will turn away a large chunk of your perspective buyers – and drop your price. You can bring them back into the home once you have a signed offer and you’re in escrow, but make other arrangements for the few weeks when you’re trying to attract buyers.
8. Stainless and uniform in the kitchen
Kitchen appliances should definitely be uniform (not mismatched between black, white, and stainless.) A brand new stainless steel refrigerator won’t be viewed as a positive if the rest of the appliances are different, but only highlight the fact that they’re not updated. For most properties, stainless steel appliances are well received because they are universal and perceived as higher quality. White appliances should be a second option and you probably want to avoid black kitchen appliances.
9. Incentivize those who are helping you
Your home may be priced correctly, immaculately staged, and even blow away the competition, but if you are offering a reduced commission for the buyer’s agent, it probably won’t sell. Of course everyone wants to save money, but reducing listing and buyer agent commissions only guarantees that you are de-incentivizing the exact people who can help you sell and net the highest profit. In fact, if your buyer’s agent commission falls below a certain acceptable level, most agents won’t even bother showing your home! Conversely, research shows that offering full commission or even .25 or .50% above the norm yields a much higher rate of showings, quality offers, asking price, and net profit for the seller.
10. Sell the lifestyle and amenities
Remember that you aren’t just selling your home, but selling the experiences, amenities, and lifestyle a buyer will have access to if they buy your home. Be sure to feature information/photos/and anecdotes about outdoor living areas, neighborhood schools, nearby parks, shopping, great restaurants, community amenities, and any gyms, sports fields, jogging trails, etc.
We actually have even more home selling secrets and tips to share with you, so stay tuned for part three of this blog, and contact us any time you have questions about selling your home!