Tips For Selling Your Home!
The longer a house is on the market, the more likely prospective purchasers are to suspect that something is wrong with the house. Remember back to all the times you have looked at properties during a home search. Chances are that whenever you came across a property that had been on the market for a while, the first thought that went through your mind was, "I wonder what is wrong? Why isn't this property sold?" Don't let that happen to you! Complete all of your repairs, improvements, and enhancements prior to your first showing.
The following list will guide you step by step through the process of preparing your home for sale to achieve the highest possible sale price in the least amount of time. Your concentration will be in six areas: repairing, cleaning, neutralizing, space management, atmosphere, and staging. None of these activities are fun to do, but all are an extremely important part of marketing your home.
Six Key Points for Focus
- The rule of thumb is, if something needs repair, fix it! There are probably many things in your home that you have simply learned to live with over time, things that you have been promising yourself that you will attend to. Well, now is the time. The buyer will mentally add up the cost of repairing all those minor flaws and end up with an amount that is generally much higher than what it would cost you to do the repairs.
You might be saying to yourself, "These repairs aren't any big deal," but the buyer is thinking, "If the owners didn't take care of these little items, then what about the roof, or the furnace?"
Small repairs and perceived owner neglect may lower the purchase price, lengthen the time required to sell or BOTH!
- Check all walls for smudges, peeling paint and loose wall paper.
- Large repairs: In today's climate of open disclosure and vigilant professional home inspections, the rule is: Treat a buyer as you would yourself. Repair any problems with major systems or offer an allowance for the buyer to make repairs after closing. Always disclose anything that you know about the property. Having been a consumer yourself, you know that buyers will more readily make a purchase decision with someone they can trust.
- • Every area of the home must sparkle and shine! Each hour spent will be well worth it. Would you rather buy a clean car, or a dirty one? Would you hurry to buy a pair of shoes with mud on them?
- Clean all of the windows, including attics and basements.
- Clean all carpeting and area rugs. Clean and polish linoleum, tile and wooden floors. Consider refinishing wood floors if necessary.
- Clean and polish all woodwork. Pay particular attention to the kitchen and bath cabinets.
- Clean and polish all the lighting and plumbing fixtures.
- Be cautious about selecting colors when painting or replacing carpeting. Your objective here is to make your home appeal to the largest possible buying segment. Ask yourself, "How many of the available buyers would be able to move into my house with their own furniture and not have to replace the carpeting?" Position your home on the market to be as livable to as many people as possible, and to allow the buyer to mentally picture the home as their own.
- Forget your personal taste -- the market is always demand driven! The average buyer will have a hard time looking beyond blue carpeting and bold wallpapers. Consider replacing unusual or bold colors with neutral tones. Two coats of off-white paint may be the best investment you have ever made.
4. Space management
This involves creating the illusion of more space.
- Arrange furniture to give the rooms as spacious a feeling as possible. Consider removing furniture from rooms that are crowded. If necessary, store large furniture.
- Pack up collectibles -- both to protect them, and to give the room a more spacious feel. Leave just enough accessories to give the home a personal touch. Store or dispose of unneeded items.
- Remove all clutter, and make it a habit to pick up clothing, shoes, and personal possessions each day.
- Empty closets of off-season clothing and pack for the move. Organize closets to demonstrate the most efficient use of space. Leave as few items on the floor or shelves as possible.
- Use light to create a sense of space. All curtains and blinds should be open. Turn on all of the lights throughout the home.
When placing yourself in the potential buyer's shoes, you will want to consider the overall atmosphere of your home. Keep in mind your sense of smell as you go through this check list. Create the atmosphere of your home as a place that is safe and warm, and in good condition.
- A clean-smelling house creates a positive image in the buyer's mind. Be aware of any odors from cooking, cigarettes, pets, etc., that may have adverse effects on potential buyers. Remember that some people are much more sensitive to odors than others. Smokers rarely notice the odor of tobacco that fills their homes, and pet owners may be oblivious to objectionable doggy odor.
- You can use products like carpet deodorizers, air fresheners, and room deodorizers; but the best strategy is to remove the source of the smell rather than cover it up.
- Unfortunately, often the only way to remove the smell of pet urine from flooring is to rip up the carpeting, padding and underlayment and replace them. If this is preventing the sale of your home, don't hesitate to make this investment.
- If smoking and cooking odors have permeated your home, have your carpets and furniture cleaned, and air out or dry-clean your curtains.
- Mildew odors are another no-no. Don't allow wet towels to accumulate in hampers, or dirty laundry to pile up in closets.
- Once offensive odors are removed, consider adding delightful ones. Recent studies have shown that humans have strong, positive responses to certain smells. Cinnamon, fresh flowers, breads baking in the oven are all excellent ways to enhance your property for sale.
This part of preparing your home for sale is the most fun and involves the use of color, lighting, and accessories to emphasize the best features of your home
- Study magazine ads or furniture showrooms to see how small details can make rooms more attractive and appealing. The effect of a vase of flowers, an open book on the coffee table, a basket of birch logs by the fireplace, etc., can make the difference in a room. Be careful not to create distractive clutter.
- The use of a brightly colored pillow in a wing chair or a throw blanket on a couch can add dimension to a sterile room.
- Soften potentially offending views, but always let light into your rooms. Replace heavy curtains with sheer white panels. Never apologize for things you cannot change. The buyer will either decide to accept or reject the property regardless of the words you say. Just present the home in the best way possible with complete honesty.
- Go through your photo albums and select pictures of your house and yard during all four seasons. We will use these in our Home Feature Packets to visually “show” the buyer your home in every season.
- Take advantage of natural light as much as possible by cleaning windows, opening shades and curtains, etc. Add lamps and lighting where necessary. Be sure that all fixtures are clean and have functioning bulbs. Increase the wattage of the bulbs in the basement, closets, hallways and any other dark areas.