So, you’re getting ready to sell your house (or you’re in the unfortunate position of having listed your house weeks ago with little action) and you want to be proactive in the process of selling your home (or you want to sell it fast for a good price). Before you list your home, there are a few easy ways to prepare your house to sell for the best possible price, in the shortest amount of time. Homebuyers are scrutinizing, to say the least. By sticking to the following tidbits of advice and paying attention to details, you can have your home stand apart from the competition.
What’s that old saying about first impressions? Yes, we all know it, and it holds true in real estate: first impressions are important! Upon arrival to your property a potential buyer wants to see a well taken care of home that looks warm and inviting. Make sure your home actually appears this way. We groom ourselves for job interviews, so why wouldn’t you groom your lawn for an open house? Mow the lawn, trim hedges, weed your flower beds, and spruce up the front of your home by painting trim or adding shutters to windows. You can rent a power washer from most hardware stores to clean dingy brick or siding. Most importantly, make repairs to sidewalks and driveways and the exterior of your home, including windows, and the front door, itself. If a potential buyer sees just one area of damage that requires repair, they will be searching throughout the rest of your house for more, and they are more likely to believe that there are hidden problems with your home. Especially pay attention to the condition of your roof and gutters because these can seriously affect the sale price of your home.
The interior of your house should make a buyer feel as if they are home. This means, you must depersonalize, and de-clutter. A potential buyer wants to imagine himself living in your home, so personal items such as photographs, collections, loud paint colors or wallpaper, and anything else that leaves your own footprint will detract a buyer. Cleaning and removing clutter is another extremely important step in preparing your house for sale. Dirt, carpet stains, and pet odors are a huge turn off to buyers. Oversized furniture and cluttered personal items may make a room feel cramped and crowded, and you want to promote all the space you have. Neutral paint, bright lighting, and a neat and organized room will invite potential buyers to imagine themselves settling right in.
Kitchens and bathrooms sell houses. On a small budget, a good scrubbing goes a long way to improve the look of a bath or kitchen. Other small details such as changing out cabinet hardware, waxing the floor, removing appliances from countertops, and organizing personal items are easy ways to give your kitchen a facelift. Replacing a dated light fixture and adding a new shower curtain can liven up an ordinary bathroom. A buyer is most likely not going to want to move in to a house that needs repairs or looks worn and tired, so patch holes in walls, repair leaky faucets or faulty drains, replace cracked tiles, and re-caulk around tubs and sinks. Add a pop of color with a bowl of fruit in the kitchen and a bunch of fresh flowers in the bathroom. If you have the funds, by all means upgrade your appliances and go for the granite countertops. At the very least, clean out your refrigerator and tackle any pesky lingering odors by lighting a scented candle, or baking something sweet.
Bedrooms should follow the same guidelines as the rest of your house and feel neat, organized, bright, and neutral (meaning paint, linens, and curtains). One of the biggest faux pas a seller can make is to stuff his closet full of odds and ends. Closet and storage space is very important to many buyers so if your closet is filled to the gills and bursting at the seams, the buyer may feel that your home is lacking in these areas. (And don’t make the mistake of thinking buyers won’t find your junk drawer or closet). You’re going to need to pack eventually, so take this opportunity to straighten up, and pre-pack items you don’t need everyday.
Extra bedrooms or bonus rooms can be precarious. We often use those rooms for a multitude of purposes like home offices, guest rooms, media rooms, or all three at once. Buyers can become confused if a room lacks definition or purpose, and they may think that if you have to use one room for several different things, the house may just not be big enough for all of their needs. Temporarily move your home office out of the dining room for showings and make sure rooms are clearly defined. On the other hand, empty rooms can be just as confusing, in some cases. It may benefit you to rent a few key pieces of furniture, such as a dining table or couch, to demonstrate how a space can be used.
Many realtors agree that there are a few major deterrents to homebuyers that should be avoided at all costs (if possible). Here is an abbreviated list of Homebuyers.com’s guide of “things that will make buyers hate your home”:
· Odors-This really shouldn’t need an explanation, although people often become desensitized to odors in their own homes, so you may need an impartial judge to determine how offensive your house is.
· Wallpaper-It’s just not in style any more. Plus, buyers are going to have different tastes than yourself, so when they see wallpaper, they see more work for themselves in taking it down.
· Bugs-Remove bug carcasses and hire an exterminator, if necessary.
· Dogs-Yes, I know, how can dogs be a bad thing? Not everyone is as excited as you may be for an 80 lb dog bounding toward them ready to give slobbery ‘kisses’. So, remove your dog for showings.
· Dirty Bathrooms-Enough said.
You don’t have to do much to prepare your home for sale. Just follow these simple pieces of advice to maximize the appeal of your home and to garner the best sale price in the shortest amount of time. Those time old sayings like; pay attention to detail, and, first impressions go a long way; truly apply when selling a house.