In the current housing market, the reality is that you have to shamelessly flaunt your assets to get your house sold. You’ll be glad you did.
You care about selling your home more than anyone else. It’s important to keep that fact in mind when you are contemplating putting your home on the market. While your real estate agent will get buyers in and out the door, it’s up to you to make the buyers fall in love with your house. Aside from the tried and true tactics of de-cluttering, cleaning and staging your home to make it attractive to the buyer, there are some simple, cheapo steps that you can take to make your house stand out in the (really huge) crowd:
1. Make sure the pictures that will be used in the listing are great – really great. Chances are, the buyer’s agent has shown him or her pictures of your house before the showing. Sometimes a buyer will decide whether or not to see your house based solely on the pictures submitted with the listing. So, do not miss this opportunity to grab the buyer’s eye before they even walk in the door. Get your house in picture perfect shape before your realtor takes the pictures – make sure all the beds are made, the lights are on, the curtains are open, there are fresh flowers . . . you get the idea. It will totally pay off.
If you are selling your own home, like we did, then go ahead and play photographer! When we sold our townhouse, my mom acted as the stager and lighting expert while I climbed up on countertops and tables to get the best angles while taking pictures. It was fun and led to some really great pics.
2. Create a brag sheet. This is not the time to be shy – trust me, modesty will get you nowhere in real estate. Make tons of color copies of a handout that you can leave on your kitchen counter during showings that gives the prospective buyer even more insight into the awesomeness of your home (of course, only leave one or two copies out during actual showings – less is more in this case). The buyer’s real estate agent will only have limited information about your home from the real estate listing, so take this opportunity to point out special things about your home that the buyer otherwise might not have known or noticed. Does your home have really high ceilings, great natural light, and a custom backsplash? Point that out!! Does your house have off-street parking or a garage in a city where parking spots are at a premium? Do not let these selling features go unnoticed. If you’re having a little trouble thinking of the features that a buyer might care about, think back to when you bought your house and remember why you fell in love with it. Take a look at the brag sheet that we created when we sold our townhouse for some ideas that you can use to create your own brag sheet:
Some quick pointers – include color pictures and limit the handout to 1 sheet of paper. Don’t just list your home’s features – you’ll have an opportunity to do that in the amenities sheet. With the brag sheet, you’re selling the lifestyle that your home offers, so describe your home (in paragraph form, preferably) from the buyer’s point of view – what will they enjoy about your home, why is your house special? Remember, you want the buyer to be able to read your description and look at the pictures and know in one glance why your house is “the one.” You’re not just trying to get a buyer to love your house – you’re trying to get a buyer to love your house more than all the other houses. So, go ahead and do a little bragging!!
3. Point out your home’s amenities. Now, this may sound the same as a brag sheet, but it’s not. The amenities sheet gives the “down and dirty” about your house. Have low monthly utility bills? This is the place to say it. You will probably point out a lot of the same features that are described in the brag sheet, but you should also list everything else that a buyer might care about. Essentially, an amenities sheet is a bullet-point, 1 page sheet giving a buyer the nitty gritty details about the property. Here is the amenities sheet that we used to sell the townhouse:
Feel free to include special tidbits about your neighborhood along with your amenties sheet. For example, our townhouse was located in an area with lots of shops and restaurants, so we got lots of brochures from the neighborhood’s property management office to include along with our amenities sheet. Worked like a charm – the brochures were always gone after every showing. Keep in mind that you can also ask your realtor to attach the amenities sheet and the brag sheet to your listing – this may give buyers that are on the fence just the push that they need to come see your house.
What special tactics did you take to sell your home? Don’t be shy – it’s time to brag!