What do we learn from model homes?
Have you ever gone to look at model homes? If you have lived in Arizona for ANY time I would guess you have…probably tons. Or at least a few. Even if you have not shopped for a new house for yourself, there has probably been someone you know that dragged you through the model home they want to buy. Did you love it? Even if it wouldn’t work for you at all….did you love it? Admit it, you DID! Model homes are nothing short of delightful little pieces of heaven for your touring pleasure. Close your eyes….what do you remember about one of those homes? Was it light and bright? Was it clean? How was the temperature? Was it NICE ? Super cool on a hot summer day? Could you imagine living there? Where you happy in this daydream? YES!! YES you were! We have ALL done that…we have all thought life would be SO good if we could just have that home. Model homes make you feel that way because they are trying to SELL houses. It is all by design. This is why buyers scoop up new build homes even though they are further out, on smaller lots, more expensive than resale homes.
So, how do you compete? If there are new builds around, and we all know they are everywhere…HOW do you get a buyer to choose YOUR home over the new builds? Simple, you play their game. You do like a model home does. You create the daydream. Daydream creation rules? APPEAL TO ALL OF THE SENSES.
We have 5 senses. None of them can be dismissed.
Have you heard the song by Twenty One Pilots called “Stressed out”?
“Sometimes a certain smell will take me back to when I was young,
How come I’m never able to identify where it’s coming from,
I’d make a candle out of it if I ever found it,
Try to sell it, never sell out of it, I’d probably only sell one,
It’d be to my brother, ’cause we have the same nose,
Same clothes homegrown a stone’s throw from a creek we used to roam,
But it would remind us of when nothing really mattered,
Out of student loans and treehouse homes we all would take the latter.”
The reason I like the lyrics is I think we can all relate. Certain smells are HOME. Hopefully those smells bring back good memories… of your childhood..of when you were cared for by your parents… so the smell makes you smile, or feel happy. It isn’t a smell that can be identified in a lot of cases, but we know it when we smell it.
Smells are important. Some people have sensitive noses, and smell much more than the rest of us. It would be wonderful if there was a universal HOME smell that we could sprinkle around our houses when we were trying to sell them. Half the battle would be won if that was possible. But since it isn’t…it is VERY important that there are no bad smells.
What are common BAD smells when viewing homes?
Trash, dirty diapers, last night’s dinner (fish,bacon,something burned), litter box, and…believe it or not…laundry. No offense guys, but this is pretty much always a guy thing. When buyers are looking at your house, they will look in the closet to see the size. If you have a pile of dirty laundry in there…it is gag. Literally gag. Nobody likes laundry, but please try to keep up on it while you are active on the market …and don’t hang up clothes you’ve worn a few times…then the smell sticks in the closet. Make sure your shoes are not in your closet if they are stinky too.
What are good smells? No smell is good. Absolutely nothing is nice. Very lightly scented candles …maybe. But here is the thing…buyers are constantly looking for what you’re hiding, so any smell, even a good one, may be thought of as your cover up smell. So be safe, try to have no smells in your house!
What do you want to hear when you are touring a home? Smooth jazz? Not me. Unless you have speakers in every room, including the back patio…then maybe just to show off that feature. But keep the music low…or else it will again make buyers think you are trying to mask the next door’s dog’s constant bark, or the traffic behind the house, or the airplanes above. So if you ARE trying to mask those sounds, don’t draw attention to them by blaring your music. Also, let the buyer’s have their day dream…don’t leave your dog there even if he is kenneled, if he will bark the entire showing, that will keep the dream away. If your refrigerator whines or your toilet is constantly refilling….make those repairs before you hit the market. Any negative sounds make buyers think the worst! Keep the dream alive!
Now you don’t need to let potential buyers roll around in your 600 thread count sheets, or wear your robe. But DO expect them to touch. Things they might touch? Hopefully not much, but…the kitchen counters, so make sure they’re clean, the doorknobs, so make sure they are updated, all closets and doors…so make sure they open easily…and possibly your toilet.Expect that a buyer may have to make a quick put stop in your restroom so make sure it is clean and well stocked for them. Also, make sure the home FEELS awesome when the buyers step inside. That means crank your air WAY down on those hot summer days…75 degrees is my suggestion. Immediately make them FEEL GREAT in your home. Those extra dollars you save by keeping it decent but not luxurious will be lost in buyer experience.
You don’t have to bake fresh cookies or pastries every day for potential buyers. You don’t actually have to give them anything to stimulate this sense…but what is nice is bottles of ice cold water in your refrigerator and a note on the counter letting buyers know it is ok to take one. It is a nice touch, and for lots of months out of the year cars get very hot very quickly, so after looking at just a few homes that water will taste like heaven to a hot and sweaty but well qualified and motivated buyer. Give them that little slice of heaven if you can….just like the model homes do.
Make sure your house is light and bright. This is torturous in the summer when we like to live in caves…all of our blinds closed all day to keep the scorching sun out. But open those blinds, those shutters, those curtains…remove your nifty sunshades screens off your windows. If rooms are still dark, turn on the lights for showings. Everyone loves a light bright home…so make it happen. Clear away knick knacks, clutter, collections. Help buyers imagine the home as their own…so take down your personal photos and anything especially unique to you and your family. Clear out your house of extra furniture, extra stuff in the closets, anything that isn’t necessary. Make your home feel open with lots of open walkways between rooms and space everywhere. Ever notice in smaller rooms sometimes they are missing normal furniture items in model homes? Do this too in your home. If your kids have tiny bedrooms, get rid of their dresser…just leave their bed and a nightstand…buyers probably won’t realize what is missing..or that the room is actually tiny.
Is this a lot of work to do to your house to get it ready to go on the market…absolutely. But you want top dollar right? So imagine you are being paid for your efforts by doing all of this work to get it ready. And really, if you plan on moving, and I HOPE you plan on moving if you are putting your home on the market, then you will want to clean out out your house anyway, and pack up extra stuff. You will be half way done by the time you hit the market!