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Phoenix Real Estate Primer: Tips to Attract Buyers (Part 1)

Tips for Phoenix Home Sellers – Part 1

Phoenix real estate is competitive business in any market.  The good news is that there are several easy steps you can take you can take that will help your property stand out from the crowd and sell faster.  An article was posted online last week that discussed various things that repel prospective home buyers.

In this multi-part post, I’m going to turn it around and discuss some ideas that attract home buyers.  Most of them are simple and (relatively) painless, while others involve nominal costs.  In all cases, however, I firmly believe the costs are offset by the benefits.

Tip #1: A Clean Home is a Happy Home

Home buyers tend to associate “cleanliness” with “condition”.  In other words, there’s a perception that a clean home is also a well-maintained home.  If a homeowner makes the time to stay on top of vacuuming, dusting, changing air filters, etc, then they have likely also kept up with less visible routine maintenance and repairs.

Whether they realize it or not, home buyers inherently understand that if you can’t even maintain a clean home when you’re trying to sell it, you’re probably not keeping up with more costly maintenance, such as roof checkups and heating and AC system tune-ups.

Here’s a ‘sub-tip’ that should be on every Listing Agent’s staging list:  CHANGE YOUR AIR FILTER(S)!!

While a buyer may casually overlook a little dust on your furniture or some streaky mirrors, they usually don’t miss the air filter.  And if they do, their agent probably won’t.  In homes where the air handler is visible, a little red flag goes up if the filter is clogged up with dust and hair.  “I wonder how much time the AC has left…?

Dust, wipe, polish, mop, vacuum, steam clean, scrub…it’s not fun, but whether you hire a cleaning team or do it yourself, remember that a clean home is within your control and does make a positive difference in the eyes of prospective home buyers.


Tip #2: Eliminate Odors and Freshen Up!

Your home’s smell is arguably the first impression that someone has about your home.  It’s interesting to notice how many people instinctively inhale deeply when they step into a home, often followed by a comment such as:

Is that cat I smell?  Do you think it would come out?

Wow…guess they had curry for dinner last night!

Does it smell moldy in here to you, too?

Or, my favorite, “EWWWW!  A chain smoker must live here!

You should make every effort to not only remove potentially-offensive odors in your home, but you should seek to create a sense of freshness.  Humans very closely link visual cues with olfactory cues, so the smell of a property will be associated with its condition.  Clean fragrance = clean, well-maintained home.

Even the challenging odors spotlighted above can be remediated.  Some fixes are simple, such as using fresh-smelling cleaners on every surface you can reach and plug-in air fresheners, to more complex solutions, such as changing carpet, removing popcorn (acoustical) ceilings, and repainting.

You can also try scented foggers, obtainable online or from janitorial supply stores.  They’re like the insect foggers, where you set them strategically throughout the property and vacate for several hours.  These can be very effective, especially with cigarette smoke odors.

Ask your agent how your home smells and don’t be offended by their answer.  Your common goal is to sell your property as quickly as possible for maximum value.  A clean smelling home will provide a positive first impression to further that goal!


Tip #3: Update Any Dated Fixtures

You’ve seen them before.  Dated light fixtures, fans, hardware, and faucets that make you think you’ve been transported back in time and deposited onto the set of the Brady Bunch.  Unless your home is decorated in a retro motif, you should evaluate all of your fixtures and hardware for possible replacement or removal.

Your overall goal as a home seller is to ensure that only positive features stand out to buyers.  Clean, contemporary fixtures that are updated for the times and flow with the design of the home create a favorable impression.

Impressions are important and intangible.  However, the other angle can be tied directly to costs.  As prospective buyers tour your home, they put together a list of things they would change if they purchased it.  Updates, repairs, etc.  The shorter you keep that list of additional costs to the buyer, the more likely you are to receive a top-dollar offer, especially when you consider that buyers often over-estimate the cost of replacements and repairs.


Tip #4: Neutralize Wall Coverings

Judicious use of color can help the overall aesthetic and enhance the elegance of a home.  However, over-application of bright colors and (particularly) wallpaper, can do more harm than good.  Rarely do I find prospective buyers who agree with a wallpaper selection made by an existing homeowner.  To the contrary, they factor in the high costs of removal, including potential drywall repair if the removal gets ugly.

The trend at this time is to use a neutral earth tone (beige or light gray) on walls, with white baseboards, doors, trim, and ceilings.  Keep in mind, an accent wall of color is perfectly acceptable, but the darker the color you use, the more likely you are to offend prospective buyers.  Before you make any decisions to add color, ask for several opinions from family and friends, as well as your Listing Agent.


I’ll post more tips soon to help Phoenix real estate owners better prepare their properties for sale.  In the meantime, what staging advice would you give a homeowner?

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