All You Really Need to Know About Selling Your Home, You Can Learn From Cooking

By July 28, 2014 September 5th, 2014 No Comments


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Selling your home and cooking have more in common than you probably realized. Here are four things cooking teaches you about finding a potential buyer.

Presentation is Everything

Your tuna surprise cheese melts could be the best tuna surprise cheese melts in the world, but if they look like the contents of a clogged drain, nobody is going to try them. The same goes for your house. It may be in good repair and have beautiful architecture, but if the house and yard are a complete mess, nobody is going to want to move in.

Even though you will be moving your mess out of the house, it’s hard for a potential buyer to see past the clutter and imagine the home furnished with their own belongings. Clutter also detracts from the layout and architecture of the house. Its best features will be hidden if the rooms are a mess.

Sometimes You Have to Share the Secret Ingredient

As you bring out your favorite family dish and set it in front of your guests, people start asking questions. “Is this gluten free? My doctor said no gluten,” “Does it have dairy? Dairy will make me sick,” “I’m allergic to nuts—are there nuts?” The easiest way to answer everyone’s questions is to list off all the ingredients in your recipe—even secret ingredients.

Evaluating a secret-ingredient recipe with food allergies in mind is similar to selling a house: you have to disclose what’s inside. The law states you must tell buyers what they are getting—both good and the bad. Nobody wants to give away the defects in their home, but not being honest with potential buyers can lead to something more expensive than an allergic reaction—a lawsuit.

Everyone Has Their Own Taste

If you’ve ever cooked for a large group (or even just for your own family), you know how hard it can be to please everyone. You love your family recipe for meatloaf, but your brother in law always turns up his nose at it. It’s not a personal insult—people just like different things.

Houses are typically even more personalized than family recipes. They include the furniture arrangement and interior design elements that you and your family like. That doesn’t mean everyone is going to like them. It is a good idea to remove your collection of ceramic pig figurines from your mantle, and replace them with something that will appeal to a broader audience, like an artistic vase or two.

You shouldn’t take it personally when someone doesn’t like a dish you cooked, and you shouldn’t take it personally when a realtor tells you to get rid of your personal decorations. When you de-personalize your home, potential buyers have an easier time imagining themselves living there.

Too Much Pressure Raises Suspicion

Did your older brother every stick a closed fist out to you, drop something into your outstretched hand, and urge you to eat it without asking questions? If you were like many cautious kids, you suspected foul play and refused to put anything in your mouth. Maybe you didn’t trust that the item was edible; or maybe you just didn’t want to eat it because someone was telling you to.

Either way, the same kind of pressure raises suspicion in home buyers as well. Not only will pressuring buyers encourage distrust, but it will give them the upper hand because you will look like you are in a hurry to sell, and are willing to make a deal.
Selling a home isn’t as easy as following a recipe, but you can learn similar lessons from both: presentation can make or break the deal, you sometimes have to reveal information you don’t want to share, your own personal taste won’t appeal to everyone, and putting too much pressure on buyers (or eaters) will seem fishy. Keep these lessons in mind as you sell your home, and you will be on your way to a closing deal!

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