So you have lived in your home for years and you are about to make it perfect for, YES, someone else…all of those projects you wanted to do are now…yep, done. You have cleaned, you have decluttered, windows are washed, the stager has been over and you have packed up HALF your house. You are tired, your house looks perfect…why are you moving? Well you know your reasons…more space, less space, more yard, less yard!
So everything is ready, what’s next?
Your agent will prepare a Listing Contract for your review that will highlight the listing date, price, commission cost, term of the listing and other pertinent information written by a team of real estate lawyers for your review. You will also help your agent fill out a data sheet on what items are in your home and what is included OR excluded from the sale. There is also the ULTRA important Seller Disclosure Statement required by Washington State Law.
Here comes the photographer. The photographer will generally take 24-72 hours to return high quality images to your agent. At that time the agent will determine which photos showcase your home in the best light! We suggest having your photographer scheduled close to a week before listing launch.
Listing, Lockbox and Sign
The magic “I am hitting the button, we are going live” conversations is happening today. Are you ready? Don’t forget to ask your Agent to send you a link to review and approve!
Soon, a for-sale sign will appear in the yard and a lockbox will be attached to your house, most likely on your front door. The lockbox allows local agents access to your home when you are not there (of course, with an appointment).
This may make you nervous at first, but it’s important to allow agents to show your home when you are away. Our local e-key system does allow your agent to turn the lockbox off at certain times of the day (say late evenings or overnight) so other agents cannot access the box at that time. Ask your agent to program the box for an additional sense of peace. We suggest a lockbox because many agents will put you at the bottom of their client’s list of homes to see, because they feel it’s a headache to track down your agent, who must contact you to find out when you’ll be available, which may not fit into the Buyers’ schedule.
What do you do, how should you prepare?
Make sure your front door lock is EASY to open…most homeowners enter thru their garage. You don’t want the Realtor struggling to unlock the entry to YOUR home!
Let your agent know you have a showing and vacate your house…but before you do…
Keep it Neat! Keeping your house in tip-top shape, especially if you have kids and pets, is one of the hardest parts of selling your home. But remember: Buyers will walk into your house and try to picture living there.
Lights On….ALL of them for showings.
Blinds Open..ALL of them, Buyers love light and bright homes.
How does your home smell? Some Buyers are VERY sensitive to heavy scents, it is better to try light scents rather than wax melts and candles. Try…COOKIES! Buying the take and break chocolate chip cookies and, if you have time, cook six or so before a showing and leave them on the counter with a few bottles of water..or try baking bread or brewing coffee. Smells trigger memory. You want your house to be memorable so that the other Agent bringing potential Buyers back!
Pets need to be secured or vacated from the property, including litter boxes. Buyers with allergies will discount your home if they see or smell pets.
Let in pleasant sounds, from birds chirping outside to a soothing water feature. Calming music in the background, high enough to hear but low enough to not overwhelm.
Important…don’t forget…safeguard your valuables, personal information and sensitive items. Stow small items like electronics, cash, jewelry and prescription medications, and protect financial statements and documents,
Your agent will want to hold a couple of open houses as soon as possible, which is why you shouldn’t list your house until it’s ready for showing.
It is really best if you are not present during open houses and showings, Buyers want the ability to look thru cabinets and drawers and make comments.
Whether you have additional open houses is up to you and your agent. Many sellers incorrectly think that multiple open houses are needed to sell a house. In fact, few homes are sold at open houses, but there are many good reasons to have one for the public!
April Connors is with the Connors Group, Windermere Group One and licensed Real Estate Broker in Washington State.