Visiting properties everyday of our lives with potential buyers, we see properties through their eyes, and the age-old adage is always true;
“First impressions are lasting impressions.”
With that in mind, if you want to sell your home for the best possible price in the least amount of time, here are 10 simple steps you can take to make those first impressions count.
Step 1: Go for a Coffee
Buyers don’t want to meet sellers. Having the seller around while visiting creates an awkwardness for the buyer and you want them to truly relax in your home and imagine themselves and their family living there. If your real estate agent knows your property, then you don’t need to (and shouldn’t) stick around for the visit.
Not so fast! Before you go, there are a few things you need to tend to…
Step 2: Make a Grand Entrance
Grand or not, the front door leads into something. Whether it’s an entrance hall, or directly into the living room – whatever the buyer walks into is going to form his or her first impression. Try to appeal to all the senses and make them feel welcome from the first moment. Think about the senses, literally … sight, sound, smell, touch, and even taste. (Why not leave a carafe of cold water with some sliced lemon on the entrance table?)
Imagine you are the buyer; go outside, and walk back through your front door as if you’ve never walked through it before. What hits you first, and how can you improve on it? Now’s the time to look at your home with fresh eyes, with a seller’s eyes – be critical, and perhaps you’ll need to make some changes. If you find it difficult, ask your agent for some honest advice because s/he will have fresh eyes, and experience, and might be able to help you.
Step 3: Light it up
Lighting is essential. Before a real estate agent arrives with a client, make sure that all the lights and lamps are on throughout the house (and the bulbs and switches work) – summer or winter, morning or evening. Lights create a warm and welcoming atmosphere, and give a “homely” feeling. Even a few burning candles with a neutral scent, perhaps one in the bathroom, and one or two in the living room or entrance hall will help to engender the atmosphere that you want to create.
Step 4: Keep it cool
If it’s a hot day, make sure you have the air conditioning on, though not too cold.
Equally if it’s a brisk winters day, stay warm – you want your home to be comfortable and welcoming, so keep the heating on moderately.
Step 5: Love the outdoors
For many home buyers, especially on the French Riviera, a priority will be the outside space; garden, terrace, pool – so, knowing that it’s likely to be a buyer’s priority, you want to make sure that YOURS stands out – alfresco. Ensure that the grass is mown, the pool is blue, the terrace furniture has its cushions and that any dead flowers and herbs are replaced with fresh ones.
If your outdoor furniture has experienced a few hot summers and rainy winters, make the time to either sand and repaint them (ask your agent to recommend someone), or invest in new furniture which you can take with you to your next home.
If you are selling an apartment, ensure that the terrace is clean, put some herbs on the table, and arrange a sun lounger attractively with fresh clean cushions.
Handy Tip: There are a wealth of ideas on Pinterest for easy and cost-effective outdoor decoration and staging.
Step 6: Clear your clutter
…especially family photos. New buyers want to picture themselves in your home, which will be more difficult if your family photographs are everywhere. While it’s not easy to put those precious memories into a box, you will be creating a more neutral space for a buyers own projections, and your photographs will come out again at the other end, in your new home.
It is not easy to de-clutter, and perhaps that’s because when we live somewhere, we can tend to overlook things; as they become “part of the furniture”, quite literally. That pile of old National Geographics next to the toilet needs to go; so do all your cosmetics on the bathroom counter, and your bedside tables should be cleared of reading glasses, medication, last nights glass of water etc.
Speaking of toilets, please make sure all toilet seats and lids are down (that’s Step 7, and speaks for itself!)
Step 8: Keep it clean
A fresh lick of paint on the walls, not forgetting the exterior walls, goes a long way to presenting a fresh clean look to a potential buyer. Of course repainting the entire house would require a big budget, so if you’re not up for that, you can scale this step down to suit your budget. Are there any rooms that have particularly suffered from “scuff marks” on the walls, or perhaps if there’s a bright orange bathroom, it might be the opportune moment to “neutralise and simplify” by choosing a light cream or soft grey.
Step 9: Put a Lid on It
Unless it’s freshly baked bread or a pot of coffee on the brew, leave cooking for another time. Your husband might like to come home to the smell of a Chicken Vindaloo, but the your potential buyer likely will not feel the same.
Step 10: Listen to the feedback, but more importantly, take it on board
Although not all clients will give the agent detailed feedback after a visit, a few will. Encourage your agent to share as much of the feedback from clients with you as possible, knowing that it is feedback from the market that will provide you with insight into what should be done before the next visit. Your agent may not want to offend you, however it’s the only way that you can be sure to work with the market and not against it.
As Albert Enstein famously said, “insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results” – client feedback is one way that you can ensure this doesn’t apply to you. Work with your agent.
Follow these 10 simple steps to flip your “For Sale” board to “SOLD”.
Tel: +33 (0)4 92 59 25 93
* With over 18 years of experience, we offer an in house turn-key property solution on the French Riviera and Provence, including a full buyers search service, accompaniment through the entire purchase process, property management after purchase, and rentals. Additionally, we have established trusted partnerships with English speaking mortgage brokers, currency experts, lawyers, financial advisors, banks and more; all of whom we would be delighted to introduce you to, to facilitate your property purchase in the South of France.
We look after your property investment on the Cote d’Azur, as if it were our own, and if you want to hear it straight from the horse’s mouth, this is what Ross W. had this to say: “Fine & Country take the stress out of buying property in France. Friendly, professional and very helpful in all aspects so there are no nasty surprises. I warmly recommend them.”