I’ve been previewing and showing homes in a variety of price ranges and areas of Austin lately. Would you believe currently that homes in the $150K price range in Cedar Park and Leander are staged better and show better than homes $300K-$400K Circle C and SW Austin? Well, that’s what I’m seeing the past couple of weeks.
For instance, I have looked at a lot of homes in the Cedar Park/Leander area in neighborhoods such as Block House Creek. My buyers are mostly looking at homes under $160k in that area. The homes we are seeing are, for the most part, well staged, clean and ready to sell. I see a lot of seller motivation in most of these homes, and as a buyer’s agent I appreciate that, as do our buyers.
On the other end of Austin, I have clients looking in the $300K to $400K range in Circle C, Villages of Western Oaks, Legend Oaks area, which is Southwest Austin. There is a lot of inventory in this price range currently, so I’ve been previewing homes to narrow down the ones to which I will take my buyers. I’ve seen an unusually high number of really messy homes in poor showing condition in this area and price range, which suprises me! These sellers and their agents are dropping the ball. With so many houses on the market, if your home is not clean, well staged, priced right and ready to show, you might as well not have it on the market…it will not sell!
One house I went into the other day had shoes strewn all around the entrance hall, the formal dining table was covered with junk and stuff, and the home stunk badly. I turned around and walked out without going any further. I’m not bringing my buyers into a home in that condition. Buyers rarely pick stinky homes that show poorly, and we have plenty of homes in better condition to see.
With this in mind, keep the following things in mind when selling your house:
You want the first impression of the home to be positive. Groom the front yard and make it look welcoming. Add some colorful flowers and a nice clean welcome mat on the front door.
When you walk in the front door, does it smell good? Is there plenty of light? Leave a basket of snacks and bottled water on the kitchen counter. This may seem a trivial jester, but last weekend a seller left a tasty basket of drinks and snacks at a listing with a sign saying “Help yourself!” My buyers picked that house and wrote an offer. Of course it had merits other than the snack basket, but don’t underestimate the good will and emotional pull that such hospitatity provides.
The home that was staged, clean AND had snacks and drinks. To add to the nice staging, a little snack and fresh water gave the buyers a reason to stop, linger and realize how much they liked the house.
As well as cleaning and staging make sure to de-clutter! Take down the family pictures and the crucifix from the walls. You may like having Jesus hanging from a cross above the fireplace, but it is a distraction for buyers.
Earlier today, Steve told me he showed a house with giant roosters dominating the kitchen and dining areas, and a huge 2′x3′ glamour portrait of the sellers immediately inside the entry, displayed on a tripod stand. The home was overdecorated and the buyers could not see through it all. Driving away, they were commenting on the roosters and the glamour portrait, and how funny that all seemed. But they were noting about the home as one that interested them.
You want your home to look like a model. Closets are important too. Pack up as much as you can and leave just a few items in the closet. This will make the closets look BIGGER!
Pets are another big issue. Eliminate pets as a showing issue. Just do it. There is nothing more annoying than a barking dog while you are trying to show a house. It causes the buyers to leave quickly instead of taking in the home at a slower pace.
A little extra effort by you, the seller, will make the difference between a house that sells and one that stays on the market and eventually expires!