Before I got into real estate, I had a long career in TV — and maybe that’s why I think of selling a house as a production. There’s a lot that goes on behind the scenes before you’re ready to put your house on the market, but once your listing is officially on the MLS, it’s showtime. Here are seven “Fast Fixes,” I used to sell a property in the least amount of time and to make sure the process goes smoothly.
Fast Fix 1: Always say yes to a showing
The power of yes will bring Realtors to your door with their clients. You have to make it easy for them. Your house needs to be on top of their list, and it will be if you are cooperative and available. Make sure everyone you live with is well-prepared long before this stage to keep your house showtime ready at all times.
Fast Fix 2: Follow my five-minute rule
You will get the call from your agent who says, “I know it’s short notice, but could we possibly come by now?” Even if you are hosting family or having a party, it’s fine to show your house when it is full of life and energy. The buyer gets to see how you make it work. They can always come back for a closer, more private showing.
Fast Fix 3: Create a romantic, festive atmosphere
Prepare your house as you would if you were having guests over for dinner. Do all the things you would do for your guests. Clean the powder room. Put out fresh guest towels and new small hand soaps available to put in the clean soap dish. Adjust all the lights for the time of day and make sure all fluorescent lights are off. Don’t forget the outdoor lights for evening showing.
Fast Fix 4: Fireplaces, candles
Candles are good in the powder room, master bedroom and bath. Just make sure that they are mildly scented. Strong, fruity candles are as bad as someone with too much perfume.
Fireplaces are wonderful — weather permitting, of course. The idea is to create a romantic, peaceful atmosphere.
Fast Fix 5: Serve food and drinks
Shopping for houses can be a frustrating and exhausting process. Your home will stand out if it is the one that provides a refreshing break and makes people feel welcome. Always serve a little refreshment in the room in which you’d like the buyer to linger. I like to pop frozen sweet rolls or cookie dough in the oven prior to the showing. It’s an old trick, but the smell of something baking peaks the senses and emotion. And always adds value to your house.
Fast Fix 6: Critter and pet control
Plan a place for your pets to be safely confined during a showing. Dogs, cats, gerbils, birds, fish, turtles, snakes and any other pets need a temporary retreat, whether it is in the laundry room, garage or outside.
There is nothing worse for a buyer terrified of dogs to be met at the front sidewalk by a charging great Dane or a yappy little dog. Eliminate the risk of turning off the buyer and protect your pet from the confusion of all the new activity.
Fast Fix 7: Put the lids down on all the toilet seats
You must make the rounds of every bathroom in your house. It only takes a couple of minutes, but it is important. You would be surprised at how few sellers do it. Who wants to see the inside of a toilet? Nothing could be simpler to do. And nothing can be as offensive to a buyer. These steps are all so simple and easy but trust me: They work!