We talk to homeowners fairly often whose budget restraints are such that hard decisions must be made. While their home is listed on the market they can either move into temporary accommodation, leaving their home available for showing at a moment’s notice – which, of course, is ideal — or remain in their home and find a way to live there until the house is ultimately sold. Those whose profession is styling properties tell us that, whatever it takes, moving out of a listed home is the best way to get it sold faster and for more money.
The cost for temporary accommodation for you and your family may seem like a huge expense that could be avoided, but in the complicated world of real estate sales an inhabited home can be a serious faux pas. Here are a few of the reasons you should make arrangements to live elsewhere if at all possible while your home or apartment is being shown to prospective buyers.
Arranging for Inspections: Ask your selling agent. Sometimes the opportunity to show your home can come up at a moment’s notice. When the call comes from a prospective buyer on a Saturday afternoon, or a Tuesday evening, your selling agent wants to move quickly. If the agent must track you down, check your schedule, and then postpone the showing until it’s more convenient, you can miss the chance to put a SOLD sign in your front yard. Seizing the opportunity to show a home while the buyer is interested is one critical key to making the sale.
Unexpected Arrivals: That “For Sale” sign in your front yard can, and often is, interpreted as an announcement that you welcome prospective buyers with or without an appointment. All by itself, turning a potential buyer away may well turn them off forever. (Whether this is because they are embarrassed or you seem nonplussed – this awkward situation will probably ensure that they won’t be back.)
The flip side of that event would be your showing the home in whatever condition it might be. This scenario might be just as bad given the fact that at any moment the average lived-in home has bath towels hanging out of the hamper, dirty dishes in the sink or on the counter, and at least one unmade bed. None of these conditions will entice the buyers.
Everyday Clutter: Bobby’s homework, Hubby’s office desk stacked high with bills, Mum’s crafting supplies strewn over the dining room table can all show your home in a poor light. Yes, indeed; your home will look ‘lived in’ but today’s buyers want the home they choose to buy to appear as if they could move in tomorrow. Cluttered surroundings and personal belongings are most unwelcome to the potential buyer standing expectantly at your front door.
Cooking Odours: Fish, cabbage, yesterday’s bacon. Need we say more?
All the Rest: Even after your selling agent has made arrangements to tour the home with interested buyers, a home that is lived in doesn’t show as well as it would if it were vacated. We all expect some disarray in our own homes. We understand that living in a home takes a certain toll on perfect presentation. Those who make their living styling properties tell us that the potential buyer in this market falls head over heels for pristine and flawless rooms that have no mark or evidence that they belong to somebody else.
Ultimately it comes down to money. Yes, if you move out of your home into something temporary until the place is sold, it will cost you money and will disrupt your life. However, it will not disrupt your lifestyle nearly as much as having to live your life on the pins and needles of having your house ready for showing at a moment’s notice.
The money you spend on a short-term living space may seem like a big expense but our expert property stylists assure us that anything that delays the sale of your home for days or weeks is a bigger hit to the wallet in the end. It may help you to consider the cost to relocate temporarily as just a part of the cost of doing business. Just as styling properties is a necessary part of the process of making a big sale bigger, making your home totally accessible to buyers improves your chances of selling quickly and for much more money.