Use Your Queer Eye When Selling Your Home

Tue. March 1, 2005 12:00 AM
by Greg Jarvis

We’ve all seen the shows that give advice on how to prepare your home for sale. But, really, we’re gay and staging your home when it comes time to sell should come naturally… or does it?

When I go on a listing appointment, almost every home I walk into is a realtor’s nightmare. My gay clients tend to be much more design and decoration minded, but that still isn’t always the case.

I always try not to offend my clients by telling them that things have to go, but it’s my job to sell their homes, so I subtly try to encourage them to do certain things. Not surprisingly, many sellers say up front that they just want the honest truth about what should go and what should stay.

Once I had a seller that had a champion bodybuilder boyfriend and there were large photos of him in frames on every surface. The photos weren’t exactly offensive, but when buyers came through, they tended to gravitate toward the pictures. My objective is to sell homes, not answer questions about the owners of a particular listing. Actually, I was new to the business, never said anything about the photos and the place sold anyway.

Basically anything that detracts from the details of the home needs to go. Here is a basic checklist that may help you prepare your home for sale:

Remove all clutter from the house.
• Are countertops free and clear?
• Have you removed unnecessary furniture throughout the house?
• Remove the art gallery and coupon collection from the refrigerator.
• Your significant other may be cute, but excessive personal photos tend to attract the attention of prospective buyers.

Check the bathrooms.
• Are the surfaces clean and clear?
• Are shower curtains and doors hung properly?
• Is the flooring clean and fresh?
• Are towels neatly hung?
• Buyers do open drawers… hide the lube and condoms.

Check the walls.
• Is paint and wallpaper fresh and clean?
• Are the walls free from holes?
• Are there any colors or objects on the walls that need to be removed?
• Neutral colors are best in case you plan on painting

Check the floors.
• Is the carpet clean and free from stains?
• Are hard surface floors clean and free from stains?

Check windows and window coverings.
• Are all the windows clean?
• Are draperies and blinds clean?

Pet check.
• Are there any signs that this is a pet's home? Be sure to clean and remove kitty litter, pet toys and bedding.
• Dog and cat (especially cat piss) smells make buyers think “NO” as soon as they walk in the door.
• Crating a dog helps during showings in case a walk can’t be scheduled.

How's the aroma?
• Try to air out the home prior to showings.
• If air freshener is necessary, use well before showings as a consideration to those with allergies.
• Boil Celestial Seasonings Apple Cinnamon tea in a large pot before showings. Buyers always comment that is smells great.
• Don’t overdo the candles. One expensive candle should suffice. Try (mulled wine is the best scent) or Votivo candles tend to release too much smoke if the wick is not trimmed each time.

Set the mood prior to showings.
• Open draperies and blinds.
• Turn on the radio to a classical music station, set the volume on low.
• If you have time, cook a batch of cookies to have the warm, welcoming aroma permeating the home. Break and bake cookies are great!