Living room with a cat

By Terry Bell-Aby, Realtor, CNE, Luxury Simplified Real Estate

When you decide to sell your Charleston home and work with an experienced Realtor, they will handle most of the leg work in getting your home sold. From staging the home, to scheduling a professional photographer, listing it on the market and more, your agent is there to help you. In preparation of putting your home on the market, or for each showing to a potential buyer, there are some small steps you can take to help your agent sell your home. 

  1. Turn on all of the lights.

    While this may not occur to every seller, it’s a piece of advice I always pass on. I once arrived to show my listing to discover that my homeowners were not turning on the hallway lights at the entrance to their condo. It had been on the market a little too long, and some of the feedback said it felt dark. When I began to check the other areas of the condo, I discovered they were turning on most of the overhead lights, but not the table lamps. In the bathroom, the vanity lights were on, but not the one over the shower. Many buyers are looking for light & bright areas, whether it be natural light or not. I like to pass this piece of advice on to my clients since it doesn’t always occur to everyone.

  2.  Accept every showing if at all possible.

    Showings aren’t always at the most opportune time, but that’s a small speed bump on the way to achieving your goal of moving to your new home. Even delaying a showing for a day can change the mind of a buyer. Buyers who are planning to look on Thursday and Friday might abandon Friday altogether if they find a house they love on Thursday. If at all possible, try to make showing times work for agents and buyers.

  3. Take your pets to a sitter.

    Pet odor can be a major turn-off and oftentimes it might be an odor we’ve become accustomed to and do not notice. People without pets often notice more quickly than I do when we enter a house. Ask your agent if he or she notices pet odor when they enter, or anywhere in your home.  If you ask first, it will give them the opportunity to be frank without fear of offending you. Make sure litter boxes are spotless and out of the way. Doggie daycare may be an everyday expense you don’t want, but during showings it can make a big difference if you can’t get home to remove the dog. It could make thousands of dollars of difference if the buyers can’t go into a room because the dog is being held there.

  4. Remove window unit air conditioners.

    Many of my older clients in the lowcountry like their window unit air conditioners. They are frugal by nature and often mistakenly believe that window units are cheaper to run by just cooling the bedroom at night and not the entire house. That may have been true at one time, but newer HVAC systems are typically much more efficient to run. When buyers see window units in a home with central air, they immediately assume the that the HVAC is not working properly. You can always put them back after the offer is accepted.

  5. Let your neighbors know you’re selling.

    I always welcome the nosy neighbors with open arms to my open houses and sellers should as well. Your neighbors might sell your home through word of mouth. They often want their family and friends nearby. In fact, invite them in and ask them if they know anyone who might be looking.

  6. I know it’s hard, but keep things tidy.

    You don’t have to live that way every day, but while the house is on the market the beds must be made, laundry put away, bathrooms kept pristine, and clutter gone. Once the house goes under contract, you can take a vacation from making the bed. A great way to declutter quickly and works great for folks with small children is to purchase some extra laundry baskets. A quick tour through the house tossing into the basket as you go is easy, and you can carry it to the car with you when you leave.

  7.  Head out for lunch.

    Most buyers don’t want to hurt your feelings with their comments and will not give honest feedback in most cases if the seller is home at the time of showing. They don’t feel comfortable looking in closets or opening cabinets and they will not linger taking in everything. I had buyers in a home who would not even go into the room where the sellers were because they felt they were intruding. More importantly, you might say something that seems completely innocuous but could hurt your potential sale. You are more likely to overshare than not. Some sellers believe that they can sell the home features because they know it best. If that’s your thought, write a lengthy addendum to the seller’s disclosure and point out all your special features. There will be some rare exceptions to this rule and a good agent can help you make good choices about how to limit the exposure if it’s absolutely necessary.

While there are more than 7 ways to get your Charleston SC home sold, you can rely on your experienced Realtor to handle the rest. If you’re in the process of deciding to put your home on the market, you might be interested in finding out what your home is worth. We’re happy to provide a complimentary analysis of your lowcountry home.

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