If you are trying to sell your home, you have probably scrutinized it, staged it, and scrubbed it down from floorboards to rooftop as if the staff from House & Garden were stopping by for a cover shoot. OK, so your home is in immaculate shape – but your home isn’t the only thing under scrutiny here. You are, too! That’s right: No matter how nice your home is, your behavior as a home seller can also affect how buyers feel about making an offer.
We are focusing on the selling side of the equation. Here are the unwritten etiquette rules sellers should follow to show their home – and themselves -in the best possible light.
Sure, you are dying to know if prospective buyers will love what you have done with the kitchen, but all real estate agents agree sellers should not be there lurking in the shadows during an open house or showing.
“Buyers don’t feel as comfortable when the owner is at the home watching their every move,” explains Karola Grünenbaum, director of Stark Real Estate in The Hague. “Get out of their way so that they can start to picture themselves living there instead of being spied on.” So, take a powder – or at least hide.
Take your pets with you
You think “James” is the cutest labradoodle ever, but not everyone is bound to share that opinion. In addition to having allergies, some home shoppers may not be in the market for a run-in with an animal they do not know. And we take it even one step further, make your home odour-free.
“Imagine, as a buyer, having the background music set to ‘barking dog’ while you are trying to take in the home’s nuances that you, as the seller, have worked so hard to hone. To say nothing of the stress it puts on your beloved pet. Take your mutt for a car ride, to the dog park, or for a long walk. It will do you both good.” Karola states.
Move your car
“Make it easy for visitors to park and view the home,” Karola notes. “No one likes parking issues. Having them is a sure way to get a viewing off to a bad start. Also, ask your real estate agent to park their car elsewhere.” In fact, if potential buyers have to park a block away and walk, they may just skip taking the tour of your home. Or if they’re willing to make the hike, they may be in a lousy mood by the time they enter your home. Why risk it?
Offer some refreshments
House hunters can get parched and peckish. You can help!
“Putting out a few small, bottled waters in a small bowl of ice is always appreciated, along with the lights switch on, easy grab-and-go sort of refreshments like mints or cookies,” says Karola.
Be patient waiting for feedback
Of course, you’re dying to know what buyers thought of your home, but that information may not flow back to you instantaneously. Buyers often want to process what they’ve seen and think it over before making an offer. If one comes through, don’t worry, you’ll hear about it!
“It is reasonable to ask for feedback from your real estate agent after the showing but understand it may take a day or two for the buyer’s agent to respond,” Karola says.
Don’t be greedy
Who does not want top Euros for their home? But an unwillingness to negotiate can kill a possible deal and keep your home on the market long after you were hoping to be unpacking at your new place.
“Focusing on your bottom line is always important, but greed can lead to disaster. Remember a little of something is better than a lot of nothing. Generosity will lead you to your promise land,” Karola states.
Listen to the professionals
If your real estate agent has some suggestions for improvements that may help sell the home faster, take them to heart but do not take them personally.
“Don’t shoot the messenger. Ever,” says Karola Grünenbaum. “Keep emotions out and listen to what an experienced and trained professional has to say about the house. It’s immature and unmannerly not to be able to take criticism and be able to move on.”
Karola Grünenbaum, director Stark Real Estate