Don’t Let Your Listing Spook Buyers Away

by Peter Thomas Ricci

By Kathy Kalnes

Kathy Kalnes, Regional VP of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in Chicago

When trick-or-treating as a child, which homes were most appealing to you? The houses with the best candy and decorations, of course. When presenting your listing to potential buyers, it is crucial to showcase the “treats” that will draw them in and work with your sellers to avoid common pitfalls so your listing doesn’t go up in smoke.

With all of the options available to buyers today, highlighting those universally appealing features can give your listing an edge over the competition. This part of the process is where your guidance plays such an important role. Your sellers look to you for counsel and expertise, don’t be afraid to provide direct, constructive feedback to help their home rise from the dead.

Here are a few tips to work with your sellers to make your listing standout this Halloween season and through the fall:
• Offer home allowances. Don’t fret if the appliances in your listing are out-of-date and have lost their sparkle. Instead, discuss providing an upfront allowance with your seller for the buyer to use for fresh carpeting, floor refinishing and other upgrades. Many buyers will be thrilled to make their own decision and add their own personal touch. Even a small allowance can make a big difference. Or, suggest a home warranty like Coldwell Banker’s Home Protection Plan, which covers systems and appliances against the high cost of potential repairs. This can greatly ease potential buyers’ concerns about big costs down the road.
• One man’s trash, another man’s treasure. Your seller may not think that their breakfast nook is exciting, but it is a strong selling point for some buyers. Make sure to point out the less obvious “treats” to your seller and other agents in order to draw special attention to those. Identifying these “treats” to sellers will also help when staging, because they will take more care to highlight these areas.
• Know your neighborhood. Do not let buyers’ questions give you a fright. You should be well versed on new or special taxation legislation, zoning, construction or any other local news that may impact the neighborhood. Advise your sellers on completing the appropriate type and amount of research to have all of these details in order.
• Don’t get bewitched by decorations. Holiday decorations are a lot of fun, but when it comes to listing a home encourage your sellers to have a “less is more” mentality. Cobwebs and spiders are definitely spooky and in season this time of year, but they also “trick” potential buyers into not seeing the unique features of the home, distracting them. Remind your sellers that they’ll be able to pull out all the decorations at their new home once they sell their current one.

Working closely with your seller is the best way to successfully list and show a home. Establishing open communication from the start will provide trust with your seller. Try these tips out this Halloween season and buyers will be knocking at your grave…er, door in no time. Good luck and have a spooktacular Halloween!

Kathy Kalnes has been the Regional Vice President of the City Region for Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in Chicago since 2007 and prior to this role was the Managing Broker of the Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage office in Hinsdale, IL and Oak Lawn, IL. She serves on the Advisory Board of the Coldwell Banker Charitable Foundation and is a Certified Negotiation Specialist, Certified Coach, GRI designation, Broker since 1992, and a Realtor/Sales Consultant since 1988. Kathy has been also been quite active in the local, state, and national real estate associations including positions on the former Southwest Association of Realtors, Chicago Association of Realtors, Illinois Association of Realtors and the National Association of Realtors. In 2002 she was selected as the 2002 Realtor of the Year by the Realtor Association of the Western Suburbs.

Kathy was born and raised in the Chicago area, and currently resides in the South Loop with her husband and family.


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