The one thing you can do to get your home ready to sell is to look at your home as though “a buyer” was walking through. For the time you’ve been living there, you have made yourself comfortable but that isn’t always the best way to give buyers a sense that they could see themselves living there. So, as a real estate agent I encourage you to take these steps to make your home more marketable through someone else’s eyes.
Step 1. De-Clutter ! This is an important part of getting your home ready because it accomplishes so many things at once. Not only do you minimize your belongs to make your home flow better but you are also packing at the same time. You have heard the term to “De-Personalize” your home and that is one aspect of cleaning out your belongings. This means if you are a collector, or have tons of family pictures or items that have your name on them you may want to take them down. Knick-knacks are a home staging nightmare. Too much on walls, bookshelves, ledges and window sills draw away from the house and make people not remember some of it’s best features. Also, too many plants can be distracting as well. You may need to give them to a friend to watch while on the market. I know this is harsh but clutter is the #1 thing buyers will get turned off over. Buyers despite popular believe do not have much imagination when it comes to seeing past your belongings.
Step 2. Curb Appeal. It is very important to not loose our buyer before they even get out of the car. I can’t tell you how many times I have been driving a buyer to a house and they are not interested in seeing the inside because they don’t like the outside. Trimmed bushes, mowed grass, inviting entry, nice outdoor paint and flowers will make or break the number of showings we receive. Our job is to get them into the house and all the professional photos won’t help if the outside looks tired.
Step 3. Paint and Carpet. The two things that always seem to be money well spent are paint and carpet. Now, I’m not saying you have to go out and paint the inside and outside of your home but if there are marks all over the walls, or chips or vibrant colors you can revitalize a home with a coat of paint and its well worth it. Although many buyers may choose different colors when they move in, if you stay neutral with the new color you pick then it will help appeal to most buyers. Carpet is usually something that buyers feel they would have to change and is considered an expense that they hope to not have to incur. So, if your carpet is older, you have pets, or it’s a non-neutral color it may be something to change out. Some carpets may need stretching and others may just need a good cleaning. Ask yourself if you would want to move in and keep the carpet; if the answer is “no” then the cost to replace it is usually paid for in a better offer.
Step 4. Pet And Smoke Odor. Need I say more? I am the biggest lover of pets but I really don’t want to walk into someone’s home and smell them and nor do buyers. It is a huge turn off to see or smell a cat box. Dog crates, dog bones, animal toys and cat houses should be tucked away. I know this is hard, my dog is very much part of my family too but sometimes we can’t smell our own animals. Smokers we need to also be aware that most people will not purchase a home with a smoke odor. So, do whatever it takes to remove the smell such as taking down drapes, changing carpet, painting, cleaning upholstry and changing out bedding. You can also try various products on the market to minimize the smell or try scented candles if it isn’t a strong odor.
Step 5 Fix Broken Items. This is the time to fix anything in the house that is broken. Big items should certainly be considered. For example leaky roofs, broken appliances, unusable fireplaces, pool equipment, plumbing leaks. If buyers see that the house needs repair then they more than likely will take it out on their initial offer or later when they do a Request For Repair. I often encourage my sellers to do a professional pest inspection before we go on the market to check for any pest infestation or wood rot. It is easier for sellers to deal with these items “before” the sale instead of it being a surprise later. Buyers like “turnkey” houses ready to be sold and our readiness will generally reflect a better offer.