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Ready Set Sold with Bryan Vogt #18-02: Kelly Etheridge: 3 must do’s before putting your house on the market

September 23, 2017

Bryan: Hey, welcome back everyone. This is your host, Bryan Vogt, the host of Ready, Set, Sold!: 12 Proven Steps to Sell Your House Fast and for Top Dollar in St. Louis Metro East market. And I always want to make sure that people are aware that this radio program is based on a number-one best-selling book that I wrote, and the book is absolutely free. All you have to do is go to, not dot com, and get the book. Many, many, many of the listeners have already ordered it, and we’re really excited about that. We really are. We think it’s information that sellers can use, and to help them sell their home.
With that said, we talked about, in this segment where we talked about the three must-do’s for any seller before they actually show their house. Some of these, I think most sellers get, already. They really do, but just a friendly reminder. And number one is, clean your house like you’ve never cleaned it before. Whether you have a fifty thousand dollar house or a half a million dollar house, if it wouldn’t make the cover of House Beautiful, then clean it again until it does.
Besides the pet odors, besides smoke smell, there’s nothing that will turn off a potential buyer more than having what they perceive to be a dirty house. And I’m sure over the time period, Kelly, you ran into that before?
Kelly: Yes, unfortunately, I have gone into houses where there’s pet mess on the floor, where there’s just dust covering everything. Ceiling fans that have things that look like they’re growing on them. Just not good stuff.
Bryan: You know … and that’s true, and some of those things is … and that’s a great point … ceiling fans are fantastic, but they tend to be just dust and dirt collectors, and –
Kelly: Exactly.
Bryan: … and sometimes sellers will forget about those, but understanding … buyer’s never been in your house before, they’ve not seen it, and they’re looking at everything, and so they’re going to be looking at those fans. They’re going to be looking … yes, believe it or not, they’re going to be taking that theoretical white glove, and I’ve seen them, and I’m sure you have too, Kelly –
Kelly: Mm-hmm.
Bryan: … where they’ll start putting their finger out, and they start seeing if there’s dust, if there’s dirt. That’s the absolute wrong perception you want to give people, because not only … and because perception is reality when it comes to real estate, and perception is, if this is how you maintain your home to show it … this is how you’re showing your home, then how are you maintaining it? So it’s either consciously –
Kelly: Right.
Bryan: … or subconsciously, can have a factor, and you’ve probably seen that also.
Kelly: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Bryan: I mean sometimes, in a situation where they even say anything, you can just go look, the expression, the feelings of walking out, that this house wasn’t going to work, and that’s an unfortunate thing.
Second must-do is to fix everything. I mean fix everything. I mean, many people have that honey-do list that’s hanging on their refrigerator the last two years, okay? It’s time to dust it off, and get things fixed. And it really is important to have those latches, those doors that don’t quite shut right … locks on doors, kitchen cabinets that maybe don’t shut completely, a hundred percent. All those little honey-do’s, light-bulbs … all those things that need to be replaced, you really want to get those knocked out, ideally, before you put it on the market.
One solution is having a handyman … happens all the time now … more and more sellers that live busy lives, and what they do is, they’ll hire a handyman … it’s almost like a punch-list. They’ll knock it out in a couple hours, cost a couple hundred bucks … maybe a little bit more, depending on what you need, and it’s just one less thing you have to worry about. Or you can fix them yourself, but again, Kelly, I’m sure you had situations where doors stick, or locks don’t open, even trying to get in the front door, and that’s not the impression you want to leave, is it?
Kelly: Yeah. Right, I mean the worse thing is when you come into a home that you’re wanting to show and you can’t get the door open. So, buyers are instantly thinking, “Hmm, there’s something wrong with this house,” and that’s their first impression … something’s wrong. You never want that first impression.
Bryan: Right, and that’s a great point, and what I really like about that is, you said the first impression. I can’t stress this enough. The buyers have never seen your home before. They don’t know what to expect, and you want to make that first impression, that making sure that that door completely locks and locks freely, if the door is shut. I’m sure you’ve probably had that too, where you can’t open the door, and sometimes there’s a nervous laugh, but many times those houses then start behind the eight-ball and that’s not what you want to do when you’re trying to get top dollar and a fast sale for your house, right?
Kelly: Right.
Bryan: And so, those things can be easily done … again, you can hire a handyman, you can do it yourself … depends on your abilities, but you really want to get that done also.
The third thing is, is the declutter. And the declutter, very simply, is taking closets out and pare them down to about a third. Also, if you have a full closet, you want to make that third … that would be a good analogy to go with … a good mind-set to go with. The other thing would be, is to make sure that you take the one piece of furniture, is a good rule of thumb, out of every room.
And the last thing would be, is to make sure that you keep the garage, where, if it has a two-car garage, that you can actually put two cars in. And I’ll tell you how important that is. Sometimes people take all that stuff, and you’ve probably seen it too, Kelly … you probably have some stories about that … where they put all that stuff out and they put it in the garage, and then the buyer’s confused because, well it says a two-car garage, but there’s no way you can get it in there.
Kelly: Yeah, and they can’t see if there’s storage space or if there’s shelving or just what’s out there. It just is a sea of stuff.
Bryan: Right, right … it’s a sea of stuff, and then again, perception is reality. You don’t have enough room, then they’re not going to have enough room, right, Kelly?
Kelly: Right, right. I mean if your stuff won’t fit, their stuff won’t fit.
Bryan: Right, exactly, and that’s really how they look at it. And sometimes it’s not always what they say. Many times it’s just a simple fact of body language, subconsciously they just kind of write things off. We’ve had situations … you probably had similar situations, but we’ve had it where people have literally bought houses that didn’t have as much closet space as the other houses, but they were actually cleaned out. They actually had room, and people could visualize that. Doesn’t happen every day, but it does happen, so it’s something that sellers need to be aware of.
Kelly: Yeah, I’ve had sellers that did not take that advice, left those closets packed full, had buyers come through it, and they just squish up their face, “Ew, this house isn’t going to work, there’s just no closet space,” and yet they wind up buying a house that’s a similar home, but a different home, that’s been staged, that’s empty at least … a fourth of the closet has been cleaned out, and they think, “Oh, I can fit my things in there. This closet will work.”
Bryan: Exactly, and that’s the thing that you really have to talk about, and that’s the thing that you have to understand, is that again, perception is reality and I think that’s the big thing that sellers need to … and I think they know that to a certain point, but they maybe don’t realize how important that is, to have these things wind up and ready to go.
So, those are three things … kind of recap is, clean like you’ve never cleaned before. Number two is just fix everything. Those small things really do create, what we find is, doubt.
For example if, and we’ve seen this happen … Kelly, maybe you’ve seen the same thing, but when there’s all these little things start adding up, they start saying, “Well, if this is what we can see, what can’t we see?” And the mind starts racing into more and more bad things, that may or may not exist. So that’s why you not only have that fixing them, because it makes it easier to show, but also the perception of what people perceive, unfortunately … the condition of your house. And last thing is the declutter. Just one big tip is, while many people will use rentals, a hundred dollars or less, you can take all your stuff and put it in, and be done with it, and that’s one great way to be able to do it.
The next segment is going to be talking about light, and how important light is.
You’ve been listening to Ready, Set, Sold! with your host Bryan Vogt and Kelly Etheridge with me.

We will talk to you soon.
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