By Melissa Dittmann Tracey, REALTOR(R) Magazine
No detail is too small for a home buyer. And while you’re making sure the kitchen counters are decluttered and sparkling clean, you might want to take a closer look in the refrigerator too, particularly if it’s staying with the house. The buyer likely will be. And what will they see when they open the doors?
Over-stuffed, sticky shelves? Expired veggies that are growing a friend? Vile smells?
The contents of a seller’s fridge may say a lot about a home owner. It may even have the potential to leave a potential buyer with a negative impression.
The New York Times recently devoted an entire article to a place often overlooked in real estate showings: The refrigerator.
When writer Richard Samson with The New York Times was getting ready to sell his apartment, he suddenly became alarmed at the contents of his refrigerator. “From the perspective of the nervous buyer, I realized that my freezer contents alone had the potential to terrify and repel: vodka; century-old, virtually empty ice cream containers; more vodka, and then those mysterious foil-wrapped parcels of who-knows-what.”
Samson realized he needed to clean up his ways. When prospective buyers opened his refrigerator, he wanted to send a sophisticated vibe: He filled his refrigerator with freshly squeezed orange juice; 9-ounce glass bottles of Ronnybrook milk; bright red watermelon chunks; black olive Tapenade; and two bottles of champagne strategically placed on the bottom shelf.
OK, but there’s limit to just how far he would go. He realized that when contemplating buying burrata for $8 for a small container. “There’s a fine line between appearing cosmopolitan and actually looking like a fool,” Samson wrote. “Besides, I can’t risk buyers’ thinking I have money to burn on mozzarella, unless I’m prepared to attract an array of low-ball bids.”
What’s inside your sellers’ refrigerator? Do your sellers need a fridge intervention? Ask them for a drink and then sneak a peek!
It may be a good time to remind your sellers that if the refrigerator is staying with the house, buyers often will take a look inside, and impressions count. Encourage them to clean out their refrigerator. Toss out the expireds and those items that may have been hiding in the back. Clean off the shelves so they sparkle. And possibly even add a few touches, like a bowl filled with colorful fruit or gourmet mustards and condiments. After all, presentation is everything, even inside the refrigerator.