For my sellers in Lake Forest, Rancho Santa Margarita, Mission Viejo, and other South Orange County areas, here is a list of important, but not totally obvious hints to follow when your house is on the market.
- If you have an answering machine – turn the volume to either “off” or “0”. You don’t want potential buyers listening to your private messages! I have actually been in a house with buyers and overheard messages saying things like “Well, Susie, I think it’s time we reduce the price, or this will never sell.”
- Keep your house ready-to-show every day! Make up your bed, clean the kitchen counters, pick up any clutter, clean the litter box, and don’t cook any fish, garlic or currey! You should be able to show your home on a 10 minute notice, so don’t leave more than 10 minutes worth of cleaning and straightening left undone.
- When an agent calls to ask if they may show the property, the answer is “YES!” After that, you may ask if they have an idea about the timing.
- When an agent & client arrive, invite them in, then leave! Both agents and buyers really hate it when owners hover over them, or worse yet, point out each and every little feature of your home. Your listing agent should prepare a flyer, and a supplement sheet if necessary, that lists all the upgrades and unique features. When you leave the house, let the agent know if he should lock the door when they are finished. If you are just next door without your house key, you don’t want to be locked out!
- If a buyer’s agents asks you anything (other than “where’s the light switch?”) tell them that your agent has all the details and answers and they should contact him or her. Don’t talk about where you are going, why you are selling, how many kids in the neighborhood, or anything else. Innocent conversations can end up costing you in your negotiations.
- Ask your listing agent for a copy of the MLS printout for your home. Double check that they put in the correct address, # bedrooms, square feet, HOA dues, phone number to call for appointment, price and commission to buyer agent. Anyone can make a typo, and another set of eyes to proof-read can’t hurt!