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By Doug Evans

Even though selling a home can be a stressful undertaking, why not give it every chance to “wow” potential buyers?  Securing the right offer is not always easy, but here are 10 tips to impress potential buyers and maximize the possibility of obtaining the best price:

  1.      Focus on Curb Appeal: When you meet someone for the first time, you always want to make a good first impression and the “curb appeal” of your home is no different when it comes to impressing buyers.  When the curb appeal is strong, people will want to see what is inside – and that is your goal – to get buyers inside.  Mow and water the lawn, prune the bushes so no windows are hidden, trim the trees, weed the garden beds, and plant some colorful flowers in pots or window boxes.
  2.      Clean the outside:  Make sure to clean the gutters, pressure wash the exterior, properly store bicycles, gardening equipment, and children’s toys.  In addition, be sure the front door has a welcome feeling. A fresh coat of paint on the front door works wonders for a good first impression.  Add a new welcome mat for the finishing touch!
  3.      Make Necessary Repairs: Homebuyers will automatically expect all features in a home to operate safely and efficiently. If a buyer notices any problems, they may question whether the home has been cared for.  Take care of major issues like faulty or outdated electrical outlets and wiring, broken windows, furnaces and water heaters, along with leaking roofs and other plumbing concerns prior to putting a house on the market.
  4.      Remove Clutter: Virtually all homebuyers are on the lookout for one thing – a spacious home. Homebuyers tend to show less interest in an untidy, cluttered home.  In addition, an untidy home tends to fetch a lower selling price.  Consider renting a storage unit for extra furniture to create more open space in rooms.
  5.      Organize Closets and Drawers:  Avoid overflowing closets and drawers which indicate there is not enough storage space in the home. Read more

There have been several recently reported thefts that have occurred during open houses in Santa Clara County. Individuals have been attending open houses and signing in with a fake name, phone number, and address. They are commonly targeting two story houses so they have a better chance of creating separation between themselves and the REALTOR®. Common items that have been reported stolen include cash, wallets (out of purses), jewelry, and other small items. Sometimes the thief will do a quick walk through the house and then ask a question about the number of bedroom or bathrooms upstairs. They will then say that they missed a room and go back upstairs for a quick look. Many of the thefts are happening at this time. In many instances, the thief says that they are very interested in the property and plan on coming back later in the day with their spouse, but they never return.

Since holding open houses exposes you to people that you’ve never met before, it is critical that REALTORS® follow all possible safety precautions. Even a buyer that seems legitimate could quickly decide to steal a small item on a whim.  NAR has provided the following 10 tips for holding a safe open house:

  1. If possible, always try to have at least one other person working with you at the open house.
  2. Check your cell phone’s strength and signal prior to the open house. Have emergency numbers programmed on speed dial.
  3. Upon entering a house for the first time, check all rooms and determine several “escape” routes. Make sure all deadbolt locks are unlocked to facilitate a faster escape.
  4. Make sure that if you were to escape by the back door, you could escape from the backyard. Frequently, high fences surround yards that contain swimming pools or hot tubs.
  5. Have all open house visitors sign in. Ask for full name, address, phone number and email. Read more