Summer Sells

Tips for enticing house hunters during the summer months

Close your eyes and think of your ideal summer.  Is it one you experienced as a child, running through the sprinklers, staying up late, and roasting marshmallows over a beach bonfire? Or maybe it was the summer you graduated from college and spent all your money hosting budget-friendly outdoor dinner parties for your friends? Perhaps your ideal summer is one you never had, lounging poolside with a stack of novels for three months straight.

 The point is, we all carry with us an image of the perfect summer.  Marketing professionals know this.  Next time you watch television or read a magazine during the summer months, count how many advertisements feature people laughing, splashing, playing, camping, socializing, or relaxing—usually outside.

 If you’re selling property during the summer months, think like Mad Men’s Peggy Olson. House hunting is an exercise in visualization.  Buyers want to walk into a home and imagine living—and entertaining—there. The appeal of indoor-outdoor living offers the seller an opportunity to conjure the dream of the perfect summer by playing up the property’s interior and exterior. Keep the universal “ideal summer” in mind, and follow these tips to maximize your impact on the fantasy lives of potential buyers.

 Do your chores

Be warned: this is the least fun of all our tips.  But it’s necessary. So, go on, and get it done. Mow the lawn. Clean the pool. Sweep the deck. Weed the garden.  You want your buyers to visualize enjoying life, not doing yard work or maintenance. (And we hate to break it to you, but depending on how long your property is on the market, you’ll likely have to do this more than once.)

 Play it up

Summer = outdoor bliss. Enhance all outdoor areas with summery details. Line the walkway with bright summer blooms. Add a couple of bright new pillows to the porch swing.  Drape the picnic table with a red-and-white-checkered tablecloth.  If all you have is a one-chair patio or balcony, make it a rocking chair or a chaise lounge, and by all means, find a spot for a water-filled bowl of freshly plucked gardenias..

 Let there be light

Play on the indoor-outdoor theme by flooding the rooms with natural light. Open the blinds. Clean the windows inside and out. If you need to hide a less-than-desirable view, use lightweight, gauzy curtains rather than heavy drapes.   In smaller, darker rooms, use reflective surfaces, like mirrors or metallic vases to maximize the available light.

 Indulge the senses

Stimulate the pleasure center of the buyer’s brain with bright colors and the luscious scents of summery fruits and flowers. Try a pungent bowl of peaches on the kitchen counter. Or bring attention to your fireplace with an arrangement of fragrant white lilies on the mantle.  Stack vibrant orange and yellow beach towels on the linen shelf in the bathroom.

Stimulate the pleasure center of the buyer’s brain with bright colors and the luscious scents of summery fruits and flowers.

 Stay cool

Turn on the air conditioning.  Offer potential buyers a bit of respite from the heat. If air conditioning is not an option, use fans to keep the air moving. Fill a galvanized tin beverage tub with ice and bottled water to help quench the buyer’s thirst and inspire daydreams of summer parties.

Remember, those who visit your property on their house hunt want to project their future selves into the space. Keeping it seasonal is key. And trust us, summer sells.

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Elizabeth Salaam
Along with her work as Senior Contributing Writer for Girl's Guide, Elizabeth Salaam writes for the San Diego Reader. Her work has also been published in Elle Magazine. | Most inspired by: Contradictions. | Favorite room in my home: The Master suite. The windows have views for days! | Best design idea I may never do: Adorn my enclosed toilet room with library book wallpaper and a chandelier. | Will never: Bungee jump. | Have always been: Rebellious. | Dying to: Live in a Paris flat with herringbone wood floors.
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