When you put your house up for sale and a potential buyer walks through the door, it can be a little like meeting a blind date for the first time. You’re nervous. The potential buyer arrives with an expectation based on the beautiful photos posted online, and your house will be one of many (s)he sees. You have to put your best self forward. You will have prepared the house–complete with a vase of fresh flowers on the dining room table–in anticipation of the challenge to come. How will you get the person to come back for that all important second look?

The interested buyer will most probably be accompanied by a buyer’s agent, the matchmaker, and you will notice that the selling agent will work hard to keep the buyer’s agent engaged and in tow because the buyer’s agent is a critical part of the home selling process. In fact, very few people buy a home they have seen just once. They will ask the buyer’s agent if they can return with a husband, wife, parent, friend or neighbor for a second opinion. The buyer will rely heavily on the advice of the buyer’s agent. So, with all of these inputs, how can a real estate agent set the stage so the two main parties fall in love?

Luckily, turning potential home buyers into real buyers is not as uncertain as love but has more to do with preparation, organization, and strategy. My whimsical analogy to dating aside, here are 3 important steps to winning at the home selling game:

PREPARE: Make the home desirable to potential buyers

During public open houses and scheduled showings, people interested in buying a house come through and try to imagine themselves living in the home. The house must be accessible, nicely home staged and clean. The online photos of the staged home should be beautiful and high quality because, by some estimates, 99% of Millennials search for homes on the Internet. Home staging is also the time to neutralize, declutter, and beautify each room. In winter, driveways should be plowed and walkways salted. In the fall, leaves should be raked and removed. A home seller will not succeed at the home selling game if a buyer isn’t smitten.

PRESELL: Mobilize Buyer’s Agents

When a real estate broker lists a home for sale, (s)he will also have broker open houses or showings for the local buyer’s agents. Broker open houses are not for the general public; however, buyer’s agents have many homes they can show their clients. A good realtor will actively showcase a house to the agent community at the start of the home selling process and get them mobilized for action. At that time, everything in the home will be ready for public showings, and the listing agent will be available to answer any questions about the home as well as provide relevant information and brochures. A lot of time and energy should be put into broker open houses to ensure the public home selling process gets off to a strong start.

BE PROACTIVE: Respond to offers or the lack of offers

Brokers that list a home must actively monitor offers or reassess the situation quickly if there are none. If the house does not seem to be getting that second look and there are no bids or proposals coming through, it’s time to make some changes. Those changes might include a reduction in price, new photographs and minor repairs such as painting or sprucing up the curb appeal. The listing agent should also continuously evaluate whether or not other homes are selling in the neighborhood and proactively guide the seller to make strategic changes.

So, now you have three key steps that will help you win at the home selling “dating” game. If you’re interested in selling your home, I would love to assist you. Contact Victoria Carter at (973) 220-3050 or email victoria@victoriacarter.com.

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