Assembling information for your Home Journal is a central part of your home preparation clean-up process.
If “For Sale by Owner. . . Plus” has a central theme it’s about organizing and planning ahead. Here’s a neat little way to use that as a sales tool!
What is a “Home Journal”?
It’s a binder filled with all of the pertinent papers, information and history you can gather on your home.
Why do you need one?
If you were buying a house wouldn’t you like to know everything about that house? Of course you would.
Well here is a great way to show your prospects how organized you are and at the same time offer them a complete record of the home they are considering purchasing.
It’s purpose is to increase a potentials buyer’s comfort zone by eliminating unknowns.
What is an unknown? And how can it hurt you? Here’s an example:
Most buyers have no understanding of sump pumps or their purpose. Yet in different areas of the country they are common place in basements where you have high water tables. Their purpose is to keep the basement dry. Water from around the foundation runs into a sump-pit and triggers the pump to force the excess water into the storm drain. Most buyers think that this is a water problem, when in truth it is a solution to a water problem.
If your Home Journal includes the instructions and warranty papers on your sump pump your prospect will soon learn this too.
As a home seller you can now see the elimination of unknowns improves your home’s desirability over your competitions.
The more information you give a buyer as a FSBO, the better chance you have to make the sale.
Give your home a leg up on the competition by doing the following:
1) As you are doing your “Clean-Up, Clean-Out” be on the look out for any printed information or papers on your home. Examples would be: warranties, manuals, and operating directions on any items or appliances that are to be sold as part of the home, such as stove, refrigerator, dishwasher, disposal, water heater, spa, sauna, air conditioners, ceiling fans, etc.
2) These papers will be scattered throughout every room in your home. Have a box marked “Home Journal” and toss them in whenever you run across something. You will be picking through and sorting everything later. For now just get them together.
3) If you are lucky enough to come across any old pictures of your home that you can bare to part with, toss them in your box too. Maybe you took some pictures of your home ten years earlier before you had that landscaping done and all the trees and shrubbery was planted. How about that picture you took last Christmas with all the lights lit up? These will be great for your Home Journal.
4) Many neighborhoods have all kinds of civic and social activities. Over the years you may have gathered notices and flyers announcing such events. You also may have kept news clippings or photos. Be on the look out for any information that pertains to your subdivision or neighborhood. Home owner associations also have annual meetings. They usually will issue minutes and notes from those meetings. If you saved any they should also be put in your Home Journal box.
5) Your next step will require a little time, but most of the information you will next be gathering for your Home Journal can probably be found beside the kitchen telephone. Put together a list of names and phone numbers of service companies (such as lawn, pest, cable, pool, etc.), emergency responders (such as police, fire, ambulance), delivery services, disposal service, utility companies, schools, hospitals, civic centers, etc.
6) Now, organize it and put it all together in a three-ringed binder. Mark it “Home Journal”, or something similar. In due course you will be giving this to your eventual buyer. For now keep it on the living room coffee table were everyone can see it.
7) Your Home Journal now becomes part or your showing plan. After you have toured your home with a prospective buyer return to the living room for chatting and answering questions. While you are talking nonchalantly pick up your Home Journal and hand it to your guest. Nothing needs to be said. Your “Home Journal” says it all.
To sum up what this does for you:
1) - It shows your potential buyer you are organized.
2) - It shows you know and understand your product - your home.
3) - It also improves the comfort zone of your prospective buyer.
4) - This eliminates buyer unknowns and improves your creditability.
5) - It also eliminates the buyer from having to do it.
6) - It gives you yet another edge over other real estate in your area. Your prospect will be more receptive to your home and not the one three block away.
Simple - Easy - Effective!
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