Don't believe the naysayers and negative thinkers who tell you why your home won't sell.
I think I know what I'm talking about. After selling several homes in just days or even a few weeks when they previously lingered on the market when listed with other brokerages, I have succeeded in selling them when others couldn't quite get the job done.
What does it take?
Why just list your home when the goal is to get your home SOLD?
The key to selling a home quickly is reaching the market where they are looking for homes—they are choosing and ruling out homes based on properties they find through popular real estate websites and many times will virtually walk through a house with the assistance of photos before they ever park in the driveway with their agent.
The good news is that many times they are able to choose and rule out homes based on the few photographs that are linked to the listing. That’s the bad news also for some homeowners whose properties are never given a chance based on cluttered or poorly staged homes and less than adequate photographs.
Things to keep in mind:
The first important point is to recognize that when you are selling your home, you are expecting to move. When you move, you’re going to have to pack. Most of the principles of staging just mean you’re going to have to pack up some of your things early. It’s a bit of work, but you’re going to have to do it anyway, so doing it now can help you get TOP dollar for your property in your marketplace.
Secondly, you can’t sell it if you can’t see it—thanks to too much stuff.
Thirdly, you can’t sell it if you can smell it.
Doesn't every home and family have a certain smell? Do we even talk about this? Have you ever said something like "This place smells like my grandma's home"? You are instantly reminded of cousins getting together and eating homemade ice cream on the front porch, or sitting in Grandpa's chair after a big meal. What is it that makes Grandma's house smell the way it does?
Or perhaps you know someone like my best friend whose home who always smelled so wonderful that when she gave us some couches she no longer needed, my sons would smell them and say "This still smells just like Kaitlyn's and Victoria's home!"
I believe we all have a family "scent signature". We can't even smell what our scent signature smells like until we take a few days away and come home, and even then we may not smell it. We get numb to the way things around us smell. I remember managing a pet supply and animal feed store right out of college. After a couple of weeks I couldn't smell the overpowering dog food smell anymore. I was reminded of this when a little girl walked in the store, opened her eyes wide, pinched her nose and told her mom "It STINKS in here!" And I had been working there for a year and forgot what it smelled like that first time I walked in.
The food we cook, the cleaners and hygiene products we use, our laundry soap, even our furniture whether it be a leather armchair or antique dresser--they all contribute to this scent signature.
So now it's time to SELL your house.
.....And we have no idea what our home smells like because we are numb to our scent signature. Perhaps some of us enjoy cooking foods with pungent aromas, or we may have pets, or maybe haven't stuck to our guns and asked family members who haven't kicked the habit to smoke outside.
So after your home has been de-cluttered, spruced up and painted to be on the market, we still may have to deal with the smells of our homes. And if there's one thing I've learned selling real estate......all the staging in the world is still trumped by an unpleasant smelling house.
But you just got a call and you have a showing in a couple of hours! Here are my tried and true "get fresh quick" ideas.
1) First OPEN as many screened windows as you can. (Hopefully the weather will cooperate) It will take about an hour to exchange stale inside air with fresh outside air.
2) While windows are open, start a load of laundry, and get it washed and to the dryer. This will make the laundry room smell fresh and externally vented dryers will make the outside smell like clean laundry too!
3) Give all hard surface floors a quick cleaning with an all-purpose cleaner like lavender Fabuloso. It's inexpensive and lavender is a welcoming, calming scent. Perfect!
4) Sprinkle baking soda lightly on carpets and rugs. Let it sit for a bit.
5) Use the same all-purpose cleaner diluted with water in a spray bottle. With a clean dishcloth, (to avoid a yucky accidental spread of odor......) spray and wipe all counters and flat surfaces.
6) Using the same cleaner, wipe down all surfaces in all bathrooms. This is not a thorough cleaning.....this is scent management.
7) Spray Linen & Sky Febreze in your clothes and linen closets to give clothes a freshly washed smell.
8) Before making my bed, I use a light dusting of Shower to Shower bath powder on my sheets between washings. This would be a good idea to do if you haven't washed your sheets in a few days.
9) Clean out all litter boxes and small animal cages OUTSIDE. Please do not clean the litter box inside. This will rustle up that odor. Now, please, please leave the litter box outside, put inside/outside cats outside, and crate any inside kitties to go with you during the showing. Some people are very allergic to cats and we don't want that to keep you from the SALE of your home! Doggies should be crated and put in a garage, kennel or tied up outside as well.
10) Now it's time to run the vacuum cleaner and vacuum up that baking soda.
11) Throw some orange, lemon or grapefruit peels down your garbage disposal and turn it on.
12) Empty all your trash cans, especially the kitchen trash and any diapers from the nursery.
BONUS: Do you still have a few minutes? Bake a tray of cookies. No need to go all out....just pick up a roll of refrigerated cookie dough and keep those on hand. Slice and bake! Ta-Da! Put them on a platter with some bottled water next to it and leave a little note for the buyers to take a cookie and some water as they leave your home. Nothing like a little bribery and something yummy to remember your home by.
We can all use a bunch of air freshener, candles and melts to mask odors, but many times that just sounds an alarm to our visitors that something is up--that there are smells that we are attempting to hide. And harsh chemicals, and strong scents can bring on breathing problems for asthmatics or someone with sensitive lungs.....and that's a sure way to cut a showing short.
Best wishes for that showing! If you have any other tips, leave them in the comments below.
As a Realtor and staging enthusiast, I am convinced that staging WORKS! And as a realtor whose end goal is to help people sell their home, I believe in doing everything possible to give all sellers the edge they need.