Your goal is to make home buyers fall in love with the house as soon as they see it from the street. And that comes with a bonus – a great overall impression is often enough to make a buyer more lenient about minor repair issues.
Every house is different, and no one expects you to be a professional home stager–but taking the time to prepare the house to the best of your ability can put extra dollars in your pocket, and in less than average time.
Get the House Ready to Show! Make Sure it’s YOUR House they Come Back to for a Second Look!
Here’s a critical bit of home selling advice: don’t even think of putting your house on the market until you’ve taken a close look at its condition.
You usually only have one shot at impressing potential home buyers, so take some time now to prepare the house for showings and you might be rewarded with a faster sale and a higher offer.
HOME PREP BASICS
Everything from floors to windows must be spotless, including the oven and other major appliances. Skylights should be crystal-clear, too. Do not forget to make bathrooms shine! Kill the offensive odors. They’re the first thing buyers notice, and often a permanent turnoff.
Create a Mood
Is there a mood that you could create? If you’re near a coast, how about breezy fabrics and blue-green colors that remind us of the beach? If you’re in the mountains, maybe you could go rustic. Study the house and brainstorm with friends or family members to come up with ideas.
Pack It Up
Pack away even more of your family photos. Buyers should be allowed to imagine their personal possessions in the home, not look at yours. Put away your personal collections so that buyers don’t get so interested in looking at them that they forget to look at the house.
Make the House More Spacious
Remove excess furniture to make rooms less cluttered. Clean and organize the closets. Store boxes in an out of the way location or rent a temporary storage unit so you can de-clutter every part of the house.
Expose Desirable Features
Remove rugs if they hide nice hardwood floors. Remove heavy drapes that keep out natural light, especially if there’s a great view out the windows.
Add Some Life
Live plants look wonderful with nearly any decor. Freshen up your home. Are the walls in the house dingy? Work on curb appeal!! Are the colors dated? Paint them if possible. Clean curtains and other window coverings. Clean dirt from overhead fans.
Make it Comforting
Bake bread during showings, or place a fresh loaf in a basket on the counter. Classical music playing softly in the background is nice, but choose something that enhances the mood you are trying to create.
Put away small kitchen appliances and other items that are sitting on countertops and tables. Remove photographs and other small items from table-tops. Organize closets and cabinets.
Add exterior elements to grab a buyer’s attention before they walk in the door. Outdoor lighting makes the home inviting in the evenings (when many buyers do drive-bys at this time). Buy attractive door hardware if yours isn’t appealing. Sweep the driveway and pressure wash the house or sidewalks if necessary. Enhance landscaping if possible.
Clean the drain gutters. Buyers nearly always comment if gutters are full of leaves and it makes them question other maintenance issues. Store or organize items that make the yard look messy. Make your front entry inviting. Decorate it, paint the door, or buy a new door. It’s the first look at your house, so make it a good one. Keep the lawn and landscaping tidy, even if you have to hire someone to do it.
Last But Not Least…
Let go of the personal feelings you have about the house – it’s not your home now, it’s a commodity you intend to market.
Trust your instincts. Try to evaluate the house as if you are seeing it for the first time. If you were a home buyer, what would you think about the house?
What changes would make immediate improvements?
What are the best features of your home and how can you show them off?