How to Prepare for a House Tour
Preparing for a house tour is a crucial step in making sure buyers will actually be interested in giving your house a second thought. When you’re showing your home to potential buyers, you’re trying to ensure that everything is presented in the best possible light.
Buyers will be impatient to buy a house that they can imagine living in. As buying a home can be a decision based more on the buyer’s emotions, try to ensure that your home appears eye-catching at first sight to anyone who steps in.
In real estate markets, it is customary for the buyer’s agent to tour a listing without the listing agent, and they’ll expect the seller to leave the house. But, if you are selling your home as a For Sale by Owner, you’ll need to be present for the house tour.
Here is our quick and easy six steps house tour checklist:
1. Clean and declutter.
Before you start on house tours, be sure to clean your home to make it squeaky clean. It’s won’t cost you much if you do the work yourself, especially if you want to keep the house maintained for as long as you have it on the market. Hiring a cleaning company can be a better option if there’s already too much on your plate.
Clear the clutter
The first thing your buyers lay their eyes on should not be piles of papers or other personal items. If your house is stuffed, buyers may not want to have a second look.
Leave tabletops, counters, and other flat surfaces in your kitchen, living room, or bathrooms clear and tastefully styled with a vase or other home decor items.
Ceilings and cobwebs
Cobwebs and dirt can very easily collect on blades of ceiling fans or in unused corners. Get your light fixtures checked out as well for any dead bugs.
Take care to make your floors sparkling and shiny. You should consider reflooring especially if they haven’t been replaced in a while or if there are any pets in the home.
Steam clean the carpets to get rid of any lingering dirt or smell. You could also try vacuuming the carpet—vacuum lines in the plush are an easy and effective way to signal good care without even trying.
2. Light-up your interiors.
When preparing for house tours, remember well-lit homes present better. Make sure all light fixtures are working properly and the rooms are lit well.
If any areas in the house do not have enough lighting, don’t forget to add lights in the way of lamps into that space. You also don’t want light bulbs that are dim or flickering or bulbs with different shades. Make sure all these problems are fixed before showing your home.
3. Improve the condition of your lawn.
Yellow and brown spots on a home’s lawn are very common. They usually come up as the result of a dry climate, deferred maintenance, or a neighbor’s dog relieving himself in your yard. However, these spots can also be caused by some fungal diseases. While it is not hazardous, a fungal problem that stays too long in your yard without any proper care or attention could cost your dearly. Avoiding to fix this problem can also leave your lawn vulnerable to various pest infestations.
Dry and discolored grass is not the only symptom of potential issues with your home. Wet or soggy spots in your yard, accompanied by a foul smell could indicate a damaged or broken sewer line. Given how unsanitary of an issue it is, repairing it would be essential and pretty expensive.
4. Wall and floor condition.
While you might want to skip washing the walls during a busy phase, keep in mind that your buyers will be on the lookout for dirt and handprints.
Defects such as warped floors, cracks in the walls, and watermarks will also need fixing or repairing. These issues usually take place when a home’s foundation first settles and are most often found around door and window frames. Wider cracks or the ones that run horizontally or diagonally could be a cause for alarm. They could ultimately lead to more serious foundational issues or even water damage and can appear anywhere on a wall.
Water damage can wreak havoc on a home. Possible signs of water damage in a home could be stains or “bubbling” on walls and ceilings, buckling of baseboards and flooring, and pungent odors. Unfortunately, the signs aren’t always revealed until the problem has progressed significantly. Moreover, finding the source of the problem (usually a leak or flooding) can be tiring, and repairing it will be quite expensive if left unresolved.
5. Provide Additional Information.
You do not have much time when it comes to making an impression. If there are any extra details about your house that a buyer might miss or be unaware of, you can provide nicely printed cards or notes to let them know.
For instance, if you have an antique chandelier in your living room, put a card out that discloses its age and other important details that might add to its significance.
If your basement stairs are too steep, attach a card to the railing that warns buyers to be cautious.
Excluded from sale
Be careful when attaching cards that say: “Not included in the sale.” Such a note will attract buyers’ attention towards whatever it is you’re excluding from your sale. However, you might be able to play that to your advantage when negotiations are carried out.
6. Top It off With Food.
The best way to entice buyers to stay longer and observe even more intricate details about your home is to offer them something to eat. You don’t exactly have to arrange lunch, but finger sandwiches, cookies, beverages, and snacks are all welcome. Buyers who are nibbling on food are not in a hurry to leave and might notice more of what your home has to offer.
If needed, set out serving utensils. Provide disposable plates, cups, and napkins. Paper products can be easily disposed of.
In plain sight, provide a waste receptacle so discarded plates, napkins don’t clutter the counter for your next visitors.
Feedback from your visitors can be extremely helpful in the future when you’re trying to sell your home, especially if they let you know something that would be an easy and quick change before the next buyer pays a visit. Ensure that buyers can leave prompt, anonymous feedback. It will prove beneficial as you tailor your offering going forward, and anonymity makes it highly likely that a potential buyer will offer their thoughts.