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Helping Clients Prepare Their Homes for Sale

Oct 22, 2020 9:31:00 AM

There’s no question about it, the housing market in America is hot right now. There’s an abundance of demand and a dearth of inventory, especially in desirable suburban and more rural areas. But that doesn’t mean that when you put a home on the market, you’re guaranteed a quick win. 

In today’s volatile economy, destabilized by increasing civil unrest across the US and lingering fears that COVID-19 may surge again, potential homebuyers are looking to make the securest choices no matter how low inventories may currently be. And that means you’re going to need to go the extra mile to help your clients prepare their homes for a flourishing market and discriminating buyers.

White Glove Tests

It’s probably not surprising that one of the first and most important things you can do when preparing your clients to put their house on the market is to ensure the property has a thorough cleaning. What might be surprising, though, is how crucial this step really is.

This is something you simply don’t let your clients cut corners on. We’re talking white glove tests here. You want the home to be pristine. That’s not only going to make the house feel good and homey to prospective buyers, but it’s going to be reassuring to an anxious consumer.

Like it or not, a home that feels showroom new will give prospective buyers the sense that the home has been well-maintained and not a money pit in disguise.

Up the Game

Of course, it’s not enough just to give the illusion of great maintenance and tender loving care. Now is the time for your clients to attend to those household upkeeps that maybe they’ve been neglecting. They may not be fun or necessarily easy, but they can pay off in terms of a quick sale and big bucks.

So ensure your home sellers are sweating the small stuff, even as they brave the more difficult tasks that buyers aren’t going to want to deal with. Chores like cleaning the gutters, washing windows and exteriors, giving the house a fresh coat of paint, and a bit of landscaping may require some time and elbow grease. However, they can give buyers that all-important sense of welcome that helps you convert a prospect into a sale.

Mind the Inspectors

Potential buyers aren’t just going to want to feel like they can move in, settle down, and relax right away. They’re also going to want proof. And that means acing the home inspection. So preparing your clients to put their homes on the market will probably require you to start thinking, and acting, a lot like a home inspector.

You’ll need to help your clients identify those problem areas that might delay the sale, those issues that an inspector might flag, and those that just might cause your client to lose the buyer. Focus on big-ticket items first because that’s what the inspector will do. Best of all, you may even be able to lead your clients through the pre-inspection process to address potential issues with the property and help expedite the final sale.

Consider the home’s heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems. Make sure the filters are changed and encourage your client to bring in a technician if you’re noticing the system isn’t heating or cooling as it should. Likewise with the plumbing and electric. Have your clients do a sweep of the house to make sure all lights, outlets, and faucets are working and that there are no exposed wires.

Make sure that the water pressure and temperatures are on point in every room and for every faucet, and don’t forget to check the toilets and showers! It’s also a good idea to have your client perform a water test, either on their own or through a professional. Having proof of purity can be a major point in the client’s favor, not only with the inspector but with prospective buyers.

An Eye For Detail

Once you have the major things out of the way, now it’s time to help your client focus on the finishing touches that can close the deal. Focus on entryways and living rooms, because these set the tone of the home for the buyer and are often the most important areas for them. Add cozy area rugs and soothing lighting, and infuse the property with fresh, inviting aromas to make the house truly feel like a home.

The Takeaway

Preparing a home for the market, even a market as hot as this one, takes skill. Your clients will need your expertise to make the process seamless and successful. And it often requires a top-down approach, beginning with the bigger issues that a buyer simply will not want to deal with and then progressing to those thoughtful, inviting details that help buyers feel welcomed and at home. Yes, you and your clients may need to invest a bit more time and effort in the process, but in the end, your bank accounts will thank you for it!

Adrian Johansen is a writer, life long learner, and adventurer in the Pacific Northwest. She loves sharing knowledge with others. You can find more of her writing on twitter

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