So you are ready for your first open inspection. Or are you?
This article shares a very simple "home selling tip" that not many people know that will ensure buyers attribute value to all the features in your home. I think it could easily add many tens of thousands of dollars to the price of an average well-appointed home.
Most people know the typical home selling tips
Half your belongings are in storage to make the house look clutter-free, you have rented designer furniture and art, a fresh coat of paint has brightened up all the living areas, the gardens have been professionally presented, the table is beautifully set, you have carefully selected aromatherapy oils burning, and fresh cookies are baking in the oven.
However, there is one more very important thing you should do . . . I will get to it later though.
Most buyers overlook the fine details in house inspections
In an "open for inspection" day most prospective buyers will get a fairly good feel for the house, its era, its build quality, its size and its potential. However, they make a lot of assumptions, and pass over a lot of the details - and it's often the fine and hidden details of your house that actually define its quality and true value.
If you were selling a glass of Champagne it would be very difficult to demand a high price unless you disclosed that it was Dom Perignon - only then will people understand the value of the contents of the glass and be prepared to pay an appropriate price. Similarly with your house - you need to make sure you make the prospective buyer fully appreciate its premium features - and I will disclose how best to do this below.
Many conservative buyers make allowances for potential costs and repairs that might not be necessary, or even worse, they might not fully appreciate the features of the house, and therefore not attribute value to them, or even pass by the opportunity.
Key Selling Features that rarely get noticed
When a buyer is inspecting a house, there are often many features that do not get noticed. Here are some examples of premium home features that are often not understood by or even communicated to prospective buyers:
- How do they know that you have invested in the best LED down lights that are rated to last for another 25 years?
- How do they know that the polished concrete floors have very effective and efficient insulated hydronic heating installed?
- Would they understand that you have double glazed windows throughout the house to buffer noise and greatly enhance heating/cooling efficiency?
- How can they understand the quality of the in-wall and ceiling home theatre wiring and speaker system you have installed?
- Would they appreciate you have a world-leading sanitary grade stainless steel kitchen tap?
- Would they understand you have paid a huge premium to install the finest New Zealand wool carpets?
- Can they realise that at the push of a button all the blinds in the house can be silently operated, and the outdoor shade awnings can be controlled?
- They could not understand that the discrete screen in the kitchen alcove is a video door phone to the front entrance that can also operate the front gate and open the front door
- They could not possibly know that you sourced solid stainless steel passage door handles for all the interior doors rather than the normal hollow handles.
- How would they know you have high quality weather-proof sensor security lights in the garden and main entrances?
- How would they know you have the best marine grade stainless steel architectural lighting throughout all the garden?
- How would they know the pool is self-cleaning and all chemicals are fully automated?
- They might not see that you have a high-security keyless lock installed on the front and back doors as they just look like normal door handles
- There is no way they can see that you have installed double insulation in the walls and ceiling space to give your house a much higher efficiency rating.
- How would they know there is a 25,000 litre underground water tank and a fully automated garden irrigation system?
- Could they possibly appreciate the replacement value of your designer Italian lights?
- How would they know there is a commercial grade attic ladder that leads to another 100 square metres of roof storage space?
- How would they know that under the kitchen sink there is a state-of-the-art water purifier system that dispenses drinking water through the kitchen tap?
- Would they notice that you have discrete security cameras at your entrances that can be viewed from your smart phone?
I could continue on with this list of examples - but the fact is, only the seller knows and can fully appreciate what the finer and hidden details that really make the house extra special and demand full value. Think carefully about what features of your house would not easily be appreciated from a simple walk-through.
So what is the best way to make the prospective buyer aware of these details?
It is not advisable to give them a long list that they will not read or ask the agent to try and brief every visitor as they enter the house. There is a way to capture their attention in every room and space of your house during the open inspection time: use prominent Room Summary Cards.
Room Summary Cards
A simple Room Summary Card that is prominently visible as they enter the room can simply bullet-point the key features of the room. If I was selling my house the main ensuite card would be stuck to the main mirror (so it is visible on entry) and list the following main features in a large simple font:
The Room Summary Card lists the features you want the buyer to appreciate and not gloss over or miss when they enter the room. It draws their attention to the detail, so they look more closely at the expensive fittings, take notice of the new LED lights, and run their hands over the Italian tiles understanding they are high quality and fully vitrified.
Tips to make the best Room Summary Cards
- Keep the cards consistent in size and design so they are noticeable - people will look for them in every room after they see the first one.
- Keep them brief and neat, and just single line bullet points. Use a large clear font - that way they can be scanned quickly, and are not an information overload.
- Focus on the top features only. Bathrooms and kitchens have a lot of features so try to keep the list as short as possible
- Think about what is not visible to the buyer. What is in the walls or what makes the room attractive or comfortable? A feature like "Natural morning sunlight year-round" is a feature that would not ordinarily be noticeable in an afternoon inspection.
- Put the house address in the top corner of every card. Why? Because people will take photos of every card in every room with their smart phone. Remember they are looking at dozens of open houses and anything that reminds them of your house is a positive
You want to use the buyer's current presence in the room to simply bring their attention to the key features. The best way to get them to appreciate the features is when they are in the room or space and can inspect them. At that time they can easily relate to the points and make mental or physical notes. This is far better than handing them a list of features after the inspection or getting the agent to ask if they noticed this or that.
Benefits of Room Summary Cards
People will naturally focus on the rooms and features that are of most interest to them, but at least they will understand the extent of features in a house that displays these cards prominently.
Agents rarely accompany prospective buyers around the whole house. In fact, I find most buyers want to inspect on their own. These cards still allow the prospective buyer to "discover" features and form their own views, but provides guidance and ensures they are aware of the selling points if they are interested.
Try this tip on your next open home day and you will be surprised at how well received the cards are. With the right level of buyer competition the cards will also ensure buyers fully appreciate what they are bidding for and can only drive the price up. Let us know in the comments how you go!