Online dating is big business, with 5.5 million users actively looking for love each day. Thirty-three percent of couples meet online today and 120,000 U.S. marriages every year, according to Blue Water Credit. And those numbers are growing exponentially every day. But that doesn’t mean everyone who’s online knows what they’re doing. Don’t believe us? Check this out (Warning: some inappropriate language and content).
So what can online dating teach you about selling your home? A lot, surprisingly.
When you create a dating profile, you’re trying to capture the essence of your beauty and personality. Apply the same principle to your home for sale. If you’re not certain what your home’s best features are, your agent will surely tell you. You may also want to ask a good friend to come give an opinion. Then, emphasize the good stuff while deemphasizing the not so good.
Spruce it up
You wouldn’t go on a date wearing tattered or stained clothes, so don’t show your house with tattered or stained furnishings. If your couch has seen better days, a throw rug and a few pillows may be all you need to disguise the damage.
Stained carpets? Try steam cleaning first. If that doesn’t work, get an inexpensive area rug. Worn tables? Cover them with a stylish tablecloth.
Be a little coy
Don’t be afraid to go for it with a bit of flirtation. Just like a dating profile that insists on lifelong celibacy or is aggressively chaste may not attract the right attention (and the same certainly goes for those that go waaaaay beyond flirtation), a home that shows blah and boring probably won’t garner much notice.
“Popular wisdom says that when you put your home up for sale, it should be made to appear as bland and beige as possible,” said The Kansan. “Well, like a lot of popular wisdom, this idea is only partially true. A low-key look helps potential buyers to envision how their own possessions will fit into the house, but a dash of zest will help your property to stand out from the crowd…in a good way.
Take a sexy pool shot with the fountain going. Transform your boring bed into a hotel masterpiece with pillows and turned-down bedding. Add a little sparkle to your dining room table, your fireplace, your sideboard. And for open houses, appeal to the senses with a sparkling clean home, soothing music in the background, and chocolate chip cookies freshly made in the oven.
Don’t let them judge a book by its cover
You know the old saying: You only get one chance to make a first impression. It’s true whether you’re meeting a date for the first time or touring a home. If the first impression of your home is one of patchy grass, piles of leaves, overgrown greenery, and chipping paint, there probably won’t be an opportunity for a second impression. A little attention to curb appeal could pay big rewards.
Strut your stuff
You don’t hide great hair under a hat or muscled arms under an oversized sweatshirt—not if you want to show your best assets. Use this same idea in your home. If your granite counters are hiding under cutting boards and bills and blenders and magazines and scented candles and vessels full of stirrers and wooden spoons and spatulas, well, then how can anyone see what you’re working with? Clean up your stuff so people can fall in love with your home’s best features.
Show yourself in your best light
In other words, take great pictures. You never want to misrepresent the condition of the home, but rather showcase the best bits. Dating profile pics focus in on key features: pretty eyes or a great smile. Pictures of your house should do the same. If your kitchen is updated, show it off. Same for a nice master bath or well-designed master bedroom. Large yard? By all means, add a few photos of this desirable space.
Clean yourself up
You’d hardly put pictures of yourself online surrounded by dirty clothes. It would seem like a given that sellers would apply the same logic when listing their home. But in some cases, you would be wrong.
Yes, this is a real listing photoPut on a happy face
On your dating profile, that means smile big. As it translates to your house, it means open up those blinds and let the light in. And it wouldn’t hurt if you put out a vase of flowers or two.
Update your look
Old-fashioned hair and out of style clothes might not get you the kind of dates you’re looking for, just like old-fashioned furnishings and out-of-style features might not get your house sold. Quick, inexpensive updates to your home like painting, decluttering, and freshening up your décor can do wonders to increase interest in your home, and raise your sales price.
Be a good listener
Online dating is all about communication, so those who are participating are bound to get feedback—unwanted or not. Home sellers can also expect to get feedback. But if your agent, other agents who viewed the home, and everyone who came to tour it during an open house are all telling you the house is unkempt, in need of obvious repairs, or is way too pricey for the condition or neighborhood, you may want to listen. Just like a man whose profile is offensive to women will likely not get him dates, a home that is turning buyers away instead of turning them on is not likely to sell.