If your home is on the market, you have probably already taken great care in cleaning the interior and making necessary renovations that could help attract prospective buyers. However, before your home is shown to any buyers or agents, you should consider performing a few tasks to help protect your privacy. Not only should you try to remove personal items from tabletops or counters, but it is also wise to remember that potential buyers will open closets, cabinets and built-in drawers as they assess the property. To protect your privacy and prevent prospective buyers from forming any biases against you, you may want to follow these four simple steps before showing your home.
Hide your mail
When dealing with your mail, you should either remove it from your home or place it where it cannot be found. If prospective homebuyers spot collection notices or excessive credit card bills in plain sight, they might immediately assume that you are in debt and need to sell your home quickly. Furthermore, as no one wants strangers to read any of their personal materials, you should try to conceal all of your mail – down to the last furniture catalog.
Take down photos and diplomas
While some home sellers feel that such personal documents could add an atmosphere of coziness to their property, you may want to consider clearing the walls. Following this simple step could help prevent any type of bias from prospective homebuyers. For instance, home sellers with recent diplomas might be perceived as deep in debt and willing to sell at any price. Likewise, wedding photos can reveal the homeowner's religion, which could influence certain buyers.
Clean the closets and drawers
If you have ever been to an open house or toured a home for sale, you can probably understand the desire to dig around. In most cases, prospective homebuyers simply open closets and cabinets to inspect the space or make judgments about the construction of the home. While most people who view your home will not try to snoop in your personal belongings, try to pack away anything that could tell an unwanted story about your life.
You may want to clear out all drawers and closets entirely before the home is shown to buyers. After your personal belongings have been removed from the home or carefully packed away, work with your agent to stage closets and large cabinets. By replacing your own belongings with examples of how the home can be utilized, you will take the focus off yourself and help prospective buyers visualize themselves in your home.
Turn down the answering machine
This final step is probably the most overlooked by home sellers. Just as you can not anticipate what arrives in the mail each day, you cannot predict when you might receive an unwanted phone call. If you are engaged in an open house or private viewing, you certainly don't want a prospective buyer to overhear a message from a collection agency or credit card company. Furthermore, as you are in the process of selling a home (and possibly buying another), you don't want buyers to know anything about your personal business. Hence, before any prospective buyers enter your home, you may want to mute your answering machine to prevent any uncomfortable exchanges.
In conclusion, when you are ready to show your home to prospective buyers, try to remove anything that might drive a buyer away or create an unwanted bias. Whether it's as simple as removing your personal mail or staging the closets of your home's bedrooms, a bit of work can not only protect your privacy but can potentially help sell your home.