Annette Bening wasn’t so far off in American Beauty when she played a Realtor stripped down to her unmentionables in order to scrub toilets for her open house.Sometimes we have to do what it takes.Sometimes you go the extra mile because you know that’s what it will take to sell the house.More often, we go the extra mile because we want to create greater opportunities for our clients.

Take a current listing our company has in the Berkeley Hills:It is well maintained with a good floor plan, original charm, and a desirable street address.This property will likely sell quickly based on its own merits.A relatively new agent in our office has the listing, so she has been mentored through the process by a couple of more seasoned associates.We recommended the usual to the Sellers; an intense cleaning, some de-cluttering, window washing….In the meantime, the owners (a sweet couple with an infant and a two-year-old to add to the challenge) have been working their tails off to get this house ready for the market.In less than two-weeks time, they have packed up all the superfluous baby gear, touched up paint inside and out, repelled down the west side of the property to remove an awning that was robbing light and outlooks from the living room, and moved some large heavy furniture.This is only a partial list, but you get the idea.We, the agents, have been there almost daily through the process; re-arranging the furniture to best showcase each rooms potential, hanging a few or our own photos and props, picking paint colors, running errands, replacing light bulbs….

Upon the second trip back from the nursery with a car load of plants for the landscaping, our new agent (who is very hardworking and bright, but wearing impossibly high heels for a trip to the nursery) asked, “Do you do this for all of your clients?”The short answer was, “you need to create your own sense of boundaries, but when people need us we try to be there.”The longer truth is that the Sellers themselves were adding to the momentum and helping lead the charge.Through the stress of everything they have going on, including inspections on the house they were buying (not to mention the infant and two-year-old), they were always pleasant and appreciative.It’s sometimes these simple niceties that give you energy to do more.I work at a company where our mission statement is to take the best possible care of each person that walks through our doors.That said, our best work – the work which exceeds our own expectations, is often a reflection of someone else’s kindness.

Seller Tip: Light sells. Be critical of things that may be robbing your home of light. Trees that have become over-grown and now block windows should be pruned or removed. The awnings that have spared your heirloom carpets, need to be removed now in order to let the sunshine in. Heavy draperies may need to come down in favor of sheers. Use the maximum wattage allowed by the manufacturer in all of the light fixtures. Add lamps or up-lights to dark corners.

Buyer Tip: Ask your agent to help you track sale’s prices of all of the homes you have visited. Even if you did not like all of the homes you have seen in your price range, knowing the sale’s price will give you valuable insight into the current market.