- gasped at the lime green accent wall in the living room?
- gagged from the nauseating pet odor?
- noticed the constant hum of traffic noise once you were inside?
- thought the burnt orange shag carpet was best left in the 70's?
- wondered why they had not cleaned up before you arrived?
- shivered from the chilly temperature inside?
- thought the furniture arrangement was awkward?
Let me guess - you probably noticed, but did not mention anything to the owner, right? The owner probably loves that green accent wall, has not noticed that pet odor, has gotten used to the traffic noise, thinks the shag carpet is "groovey," is not a neat freak, likes to conserve energy, or just had to have grandma's antique hutch in the living room even though it does not really fit. Not your taste, but whatever.
Well...often when people get ready to sell their homes, they forget to consider what potential buyers may think when they tour the home. Often times they also think their house is superior to other homes that have sold in the immediate area, and naturally should price their home higher. Sellers are emotionally attached to their home, and think that buyers will love the home because they do.
I generally hire a professional staging consultant when I list property to meet with the seller and suggest ways to make the house more appealing. Not all sellers take the advice of the professional stager. Nor do all listing agents hire stagers. I also carefully analyze the the active, pending, and sold listings in the neighborhood, and estimate the home's value. Not all seller's want to hear that their home is worth less than the home that sold down the street.
Enter the importance of obtaining feedback. Getting this feedback early on allows the seller and listing agent the chance to fix whatever is not working - like improving the price, painting that lime green wall a neutral color, making sure the house is tidy, etc. I use a really neat email feedback system that allows the seller to view feedback comments left by open house attendees, potential buyers, or the buyers' agents. These folks are often very frank and honest via the shield of the internet. They answer questions like - What price do you think the home will sell for? How does this home stack up to others you have already looked at? How would you rate the interior / exterior of the house on a scale of 1-10? What do you like about the house? What physical characteristic of the home would you change if you could? What non-physical characteristic of the home would you change if you could? Would you (or your client) consider purchasing the property if these improvements could be made?
Remember - you as the seller need to try to view your home through a potential buyer's eyes. A buyer's opinion is the one that counts the most.