Preparing your home for sale

Preparing your home for sale

Want to sell your home quickly and for top dollar? Staging can help. Staging is presenting your home in its best and most appealing light to the majority of home-buyers. In theory, staging isn’t hard or costly, but in reality, many homeowners find it difficult because it’s often hard to see something objectively when we love it. A few great tips on creating an atmosphere that will charm buyers and make them want to buy your home.  Remember that you’ll never get another chance to make a first impression.  And first impressions are what count!  Follow these simple tips and create the competitive edge that may help you sell your home more quickly.

Drive-Up Appeal

  • Trim trees and shrubs; clean out flower beds and invest in a few flats of seasonal flowers; paint the front door; make sure doorbell is working properly; wash the mailbox; keep the porch swept; and get an attractive mat for people to wipe their feet.
  • “Curb appeal.” They say you can only make one “first impression,” and people usually form their first impression within 30 seconds. What potential buyers see when they drive up to your house will be their first impression. This is a good place to spend a little extra time and money. Plant flowers, trim bushes, weed, pick up leaves, repaint your front door, replace tarnished house numbers or a dented mailbox, get a brand-new neutral doormat, park your old car somewhere else.

Absolute Basics:

  • Start by airing out the home.  Most people are turned off by even the smallest odor.  Odors must be eliminated, especially those caused by dogs and cats, soiled diapers, and/or cigarettes.
  • Clean. Your home must sparkle! You may want to consider hiring a cleaning crew. Wash all the windows in the home, inside and out.
  • Eliminate Clutter. The “50% Rule” requires that you eliminate the clutter in your home by at least half. This may be the hardest rule of all! We love our clutter – – it reflects our memories, hobbies, and values. But it doesn’t sell homes! Clutter makes homes seem smaller and disorganized. (Have you ever noticed that the really expensive stores seem to have an expansive, clutter-free layout, while “cheap” stores are often a jumble of merchandise?) Even the ancient practice of Feng Shui has as a central focus the elimination of clutter.
  • If it has been over a year since the carpets have been cleaned, now is the time to have them cleaned.  Bare floors should also be waxed or polished.
  • Put bright light bulbs in ever socket made for a bulb.  Buyers like bright & cheery.
  • Clean out closets, cabinets, and drawers.  Closets should look like they have enough room to hold additional items.  Get everything off the floor and don’t have the shelves piled to the ceiling.  Rent a storage bin, if necessary.
  • Make sure rooms are not overcrowded with furniture.  Select pieces that look best, and store the rest.
  • Keep the kitchen sparkling clean.  Make sure all appliances are clean at all times.  Straighten cupboards that appear cluttered and keep floors gleaming.
  • Bathtubs, showers, and sinks should be freshly caulked.  The grout should be clean and in good condition.  There should be no leaks in the faucet or traps.
  • De-personalize. Remove objects that your potential buyers won’t be able to identify with.       For example, political and religious items may turn off whole groups of buyers, because they cannot “imagine” your home as their home. Buying a home is an emotional decision, and you want potential buyers to make an emotional connection with your home by being able to “see” themselves in it.

A few more suggestions…

  • If you have limited counter space in the kitchen, keep unnecessary items put away.
  • Keep children’s toys out of the front yeard, sidewalks and front porch.
  • Clean the ashes out of the fireplace.

For those willing to go the extra mile…

  • There are some things you can do that will really add flair to your home.  If your house is the least bit dated, removing wallpaper in the entry, kitchen, or bathrooms and replacing outdated light fixtures adds desirability.
  • Fresh paint on interior and/or exterior where needed.
  • New appliances in the kitchen can be an exciting feature that can actually make the difference in a buyer choosing your home over another.

Showing your home…

  • When you leave the house in the morning or during the day, leave it as if you know it is going to be shown.
  • Keep good scents in the house, such as potpourri or simmering pots or candles.
  • Make sure all the lights are on and window treatments are open.
  • Turn off the television.
  • Keep pets out of the way – preferably out of the house.  Many people are uncomfortable around some animals and may even be allergic to them.
  • Leave your premises.  Take a short break while your home is being shown.  Buyers are intimated when sellers are present and tend to hurry through the house.  Let the buyer be at ease, and let the agents do their job.
  • Although agents try to avoid it, there may be occasions when the buyer wants to see your home on very short notice (they may have driven by, stopped and called from the car).
  • Under no circumstances would you allow yourself to be asked questions about your price, terms motivation or reason for selling!  Let the property brochures that we provide do the talking for you.
  • If someone knocks and asks to see the house without an appointment, ask them to call our office to make the appointment.

The Test.

Wondering if something is acceptable staging? Visit a model home to see if they do it. For example, can you leave your high-end, designer toaster out on your kitchen counter? Nope! You won’t find a single toaster in the kitchens of model homes.

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