Have you ever seen a for sale sign with a big and bold SOLD sign on top of it go up at the same time? But you didn’t even know that the house was for sale. How could it have sold already? Does that mean that if I decide to sell my home that it will sell in a day as well? In less than a day?
Very rarely do people sell their homes thinking “sure, we can wait it out long term”. For many, especially if they have already purchased a new home, they need to sell, and fast. But this doesn’t always end up being the case. Many homes sit on the market for quite some time, from months to years. Ultimately, the real estate market and the behind the scenes factors that drive it have a big say in deciding how long it will take before an engaging buyer will come along to sign his or her cheque book. Sadly, we can’t control many, if any, of those factors, although properly pricing your home is vital (that's another topic). But that’s not to say that there’s nothing you can do to improve your chances of a quick and equitable sale.
Have you heard about neuroeconomics? It’s a newly arising field of study that intertwines neurology, psychology and economics to study how and why consumers behave the way they do when it comes to buying things (put simply). For our purposes here, this has big implications when determining the ingredients for a successful real estate transaction. Now I’m not suggesting that we hypnotize people when they walk in for an open house on a Sunday afternoon, but time has demonstrated that there are small and subtle ways to appeal to someone’s conscious and subconscious tastes:
Positive curb appeal can immediately separate your home from the others on someone’s Sunday schedule. Buyers working with a Realtor often see many homes in one trip so it’s important to stand out, and no better way than to make that first impression before they even enter the home. You’ll already have them thinking on a positive note once they walk through the front door. Trust me on this one. If your home looks unkempt on the outside it doesn’t matter what it looks like on the inside. People care about what others think of their home, especially from the curb.
Giving your home a thorough cleaning will be well worth the time spent to do the job right. For many of the same reasons in the last point, people will not be able to visualize themselves in a dirty home, even if it’s something as simple as dirt and crumbs in a kitchen cupboard. I’ve seen many homes with plenty of character and potential be passed on because they just simply “were not clean enough”.
The smell of something inviting in the air can be a great way to get something thinking on a positive note the second they walk through the front door. Many studies have shown that the scent of citrus and vanilla are consciously or subconsciously pleasing to both genders, so take advantage of that fact and tailor the home to make people feel comfortable being there. Candles and/or scented plug-ins are a great and cheap way to achieve this. Alternatively, I have seen baked goods do the trick as well, but this one is a bit trickier with allergies and food preferences being an important issue now a days.
Music in the background can also set the mood! Unfortunately, Barry White is not likely to help your chances in this scenario, but subtle and generic music in the background can really sing to people (pun intended). We are creatures of sense and like our ability to smell, our hearing can elicit powerful emotions.
Providing something tangible that will leave that lasting impression is worth its weight in gold. If your home was clean, well decorated and tasteful, it will show in photos. These will remind someone of how beautiful the home was well after they have left and will keep your property at the top of their mind. Leaving a few brochures or feature sheets out on the kitchen counter for people to take with them can be very effective.
Last but certainly not least, leave the home. Buyers want to freely roam during a showing or open house, and nothing kills that buzz like a homeowner following them around. This is one of the many reasons why private sales traditionally take longer to succeed, if they do. Without a Realtor, the homeowner takes on the task of accommodating all property showings and open houses, but that’s another story.