I have seen it so many times, a face of mixed emotions, one of relief (that it’s almost over) and another of disbelief (it was way harder than I thought).
What am I talking about? This is what I see when I show up to take real estate photos of homes. When I arrive, I can always tell when a home owner has been working endlessly to get their home ready. All the hours of cleaning, decluttering, painting, fixing loose door handles, shampooing carpets and on and on and on. For a majority of home owners they take on these tasks on their own. Sometimes they know what they are getting into and others (more often) just underestimate the amount of work involved, but it does pay off.
The best Realtors know that a properly prepared home shows better, gets more interest and ultimately sell faster. It allows potential home buyers to really focus on the layout and features and not be distracted by minor imperfections that are common in existing homes. So, if a properly prepared home is easier to sell, why is it so hard to get a home ready?
Through my experience in working with Realtors and home sellers I have noticed a few key factors which I think impact the ease of the process.
As a former project manager I have learned that it is a best practice to set clear expectations with clients to improve their experience. However, I commonly see Realtors create, or cobble together, their own process. It usually consists of texting photos, handing written notes and following up via a phone call. This often times results in homes not being fully ready on the day of photos or worse yet, delaying the go live date. So, how do we improve this experience?
A good starting point is to create a couple of checklists based on your experience on what is needed to get a home ready. Think of it in phases, initial walk-thru (identify big items that need work), follow up (check status of work and identify small task) and day of photos (final prep).
By laying out the process of what is going to happen, what is needed from the home owner and when to expect things to happen, a client’s comfort with the process improves. Additionally, they have more confidence in you and your expertise. Once you have a robust process in place you can make that a part of your listing pitch to further increase your value.
RESOURCES TO ASSIST
Successful Realtors have a deep and reliable network of providers and this is where it shines. When you are able to provide a client with access to vetted painters, cleaners and more that is a huge value to home owners. Additionally, since lots of home owners perform a majority of the work themselves access to DIY resources and where to procure supplies/materials is also a great value for home owners. As such, if you don’t have your team assembled make that a priority so you can provide additional value.
With all the work involved and various forms of information it is easy for a home owner to become overwhelmed by the process. The last thing a home owner needs during this critical moment is having to access different systems to check task status, see photos, or check what is next. If you host your process online and let your client access it at their convenience it helps alleviate ambiguity and increase communication. A couple of tools that might help are Google Drive, Slack or other cloud based collaboration tools.
Recently, we started developing a solution to address these areas. Through our Ultimate Home Prep Guide we have outlined a three phase approach to getting a home ready. Currently, the guides are hosted through a cloud-based form solution that you can fill out on your phone which send you and your client an email when complete. You are able to add voice comments and upload photos as well. This puts everything your client needs to know in one central location. You can use the Ultimate Home Prep Guides now.