What should you do when selling your home?
With a little effort on your part, there are things you can do to help your home sell quicker! We will be more than happy to discuss in detail at our Listing Appointment any of these or other items that may need a little attention.
Everyone knows how important this is, but look at it from a potential buyer’s perspective. Stand in your front yard and really look at your home.
- Does the lawn look neat, well-watered and trim? Are there dead spots in the lawn? Is your lawn free of leaves, clutter and debris?
- Are your shrubs, bushes and trees neat, trimmed and free of weeds? Would some freshly planted (or potted) blooming flowers make your exterior look more appealing?
- Are the plant beds freshly mulched and weed free?
- Does your home’s exterior look fresh and inviting? Would a repaint make it look better? Are your gutters clean, straight and free of debris?
- What about your mailbox? Is it tilted, dented or a little boring? Will a plant or flowers spruce it up?
- Look at your roof. Do you need to replace or repair damaged or loose shingles?
- Make sure all the skateboards, bikes, hoses and gardening equipment are stored out of sight.
- Does your driveway and walkway have weeds in the cracks? What about the cracks? Do they need to be repaired?
- Is your front door fresh and new looking? Does it open and close easily? Does it feel secure as you open it?
- Check your door bell. Does it work? Yes, chances are they are going to push the button.
- Potential buyers may drive by at night to get a feel for the neighborhood, so make sure your exterior lighting shows your home.
Remember the goal is to spend as little actual cash as possible. Trimming, fresh paint and straightening up may be all that is needed. A home that is well maintained will appeal to buyers because they will feel comfortable that the things they can’t see have probably been cared for as well. You will not get dollar for dollar reinvestment for things like a new roof. Every home needs a roof, so if you did replace your roof it would be a selling feature not necessarily an improvement that will help you get more money for your home. Will a potential buyer look at your new roof more favorably than a competing home with an aged roof they are comparing? Absolutely. Now if the roof is obviously in need of repair, that is a different subject. Potential buyers may offer way less for your home than the needed repair actually costs, just because of the unknown. If you can not invest in a roof that is in need of repair, we will work with you to get a few different estimates and have them on display for potential buyers to review. Now let’s go back to looking at your home.
Walk in your front door.
Again, looking at it from a potential buyer’s point of view. Does your first impression look warm and inviting?
- Does your furniture look cluttered? Could it be rearranged to show better?
- Do the walls need a fresh coat of paint?
- Are there items that need to be removed to give it a more open and less cluttered feel? Is there “too much stuff”?
- Family pictures everywhere? Time to wrap and pack them.
- Is the room light and bright? If it is the middle of day, do you need to turn a light on to see?
- Open curtains and blinds and show the beauty of the room.
As you walk around your home, take note of any items that can be packed up to help remove clutter. Remember, potential buyers want to see how much space is available to fit their furnishings. Sometimes too much “stuff” in a room won’t let them see the true space that is available to them. You are going to put your home on the market because you plan to move, right? Why not go ahead and start boxing up all that stuff you don’t use every day? Some sellers have rented storage units to place all the boxes and extra furniture to help declutter the home. This actually helps save time and effort come moving day! Here’s a thought, if you walked into a seller’s garage and saw boxes packed from floor to ceiling, would you get the impression that they are ready to move? Chairs and couches stacked and packed? You might be tempted to offer a lower price thinking they “need” to move. If you have a lot of stuff to store from your de-cluttering, do yourself a favor and get a storage unit to prevent that low price offer and packed unusable garage.
We all know kitchens and bathrooms help sell a home. So really take a look at yours.
- Are the appliances in good shape and look new?
- Clean out the refrigerator. Organize everything so it’s neat looking.
- Whether you have lots of counter space or just a little, are they clear of clutter and clean?
- Are the cabinets, drawer handles and pulls tight and snug? Tighten them up or replace them all if you feel it is necessary.
- Do all the drawers open easily? If not, fix them.
- Organize the contents of the cabinets, a potential buyer may open them to imagine their pots and plates in them.
- Is the pantry organized and neat?
- Never leave dishes in the sink. You may be at work when your agent calls to show your home.
- Did you fall prey to the whimsical chicken motif? It might be time to replace it with something neutral.
- Everything must be clean and sparkle.
- Put out your “guest only” towels on display.
- If you have a shower curtain, does the liner need to be replaced?
- If you have shower doors, does it need a deep scrubbing to remove any built up soap scum?
- Re-caulk the tub, shower and sink if it needs it.
- Remove everything from the counters to show off all the space available.
- Don’t forget to reduce the clutter under the sink.
- Is there an occasional drip from the faucet? Get it fixed.
- Polish the faucet. If you’ve always wanted to replace it, do it.
- Clean the mirrors and dust the corners and top edges.
- A nice touch might be a basket filled with spa treatments.
The rest of the house. Here are some things to take into consideration:
- Closets. Get the most out of that storage unit and pack up half of the items that are stuffed in the closets. It will give the impression of a larger space.
- Look at your crown molding and baseboards. Do you need to caulk cracks and apply a fresh coat of paint?
- Are your window coverings hanging level? If not, hang them straight.
- Make sure your walls and doors are free of stains, smudges, dirt and peeling paint.
- Are there items you don’t want to leave with the house? Curtains, chandeliers? Take them down and replace them.
- It may not be Spring, but now is the time to clean the windows, inside and out.
- If it needs it, rent a pressure washer and clean the driveway, walkways, eaves and exterior of the home.
- Look in the all the corners of the house, inside and out, and remove any cobwebs.
- Replace any and all burned out light bulbs.
- Vacuum carpets daily, remember your agent can call at any moment for a showing.
- Wax or clean floors often. Make these a part of your morning routine.
- Clean the carpets. This will also help to remove any hidden odors.
- Replace or remove worn rugs or door mats.
- Do you have a Barbie or Match Box collection on display? Let’s get it packed up.
Pets: Some of us love them, others don’t care for them and some are allergic to them.
- Let’s face it, you don’t know if the next potential buyer to enter your home loves them or is allergic.
- Putting up any unnecessary evidence may be a good move.
- Shampoo your carpets to help remove any pet smells.
- If you have a dog, bath them regularly. If you have a cat, change the litter box often.
- When you have a pet, sometimes you don’t smell them. Trust me, others do.
Many people are oblivious to scents, while others are extremely sensitive to them. When your home is on the market for sale, make sure to do your best to eliminate the intrusion of scents and odors. If you have odor prone areas, place an open box of baking soda inconspicuously near the area. Reed sticks in oils work well and also cleverly placed cinnamon sticks around the house. A pleasant arrangement of flowers will not only give a room a warm feel, but will also infuse the area with a pleasant aroma. As much as we love fried foods, fish and other strong smelling foods, try to refrain from cooking them while your home is on the market. You never know when your agent is going to call with a showing. Empty trash cans and recycling bins often to prevent odors and clutter. If you like to bake, now is the time to go into over drive. There is nothing better than walking into a home that has the delicious smell of fresh baked cookies, cakes or pies. Not a baker? Frozen pies popped in the oven work just as well for the intended aroma. Added bonus? Your family, neighbors (and favorite Realtor) will love the extra goody giveaways!
“Honey Do” List:
Those projects that you never got to. Are there little things that have gone through the months or years and you’ve never found the time to tackle? Well now is the time! A potential buyer just may notice those little things that never got done and wonder if the home was well maintained. A leaking faucet, the window that got painted shut, burned out light bulb, squeaky door, loose door knob, broken switch cover, that torn screen, you get the idea. Get to work! Get them fixed! Remember you want to get best value for your home. Buyers expect their new home to be safe and standing tall. If you have a picky buyer, they just may notice those small items and mostly likely are going to magnify the severity of them. Wipe the dust off your tools and get busy.
This can not be stressed enough! Whether you are selling your $50,000 or $550,000 home, regular maintenance absolutely must be kept up. This may seem simple, but so many sellers overlook the obvious. We all know that cobwebs can regenerate overnight, leaves attack 24 hours a day, grass grows constantly and dust is always in the air. Let’s be proactive about it. When your home is on the market, a potential buyer can literally come at any time. They will typically want to see your home when you are in the middle of a hundred things, or at work or just busy with life. There needs to be a routine set in place for the little maintenance items that will build up if not taken care of. If you are like most of us and do not have the dedicated time to mow your lawn, think about hiring a lawn service. This will ensure the lawn is kept up giving you time to concentrate on other items. Make it your morning routine to walk around your home (inside and out) with a broom in hand to wipe down corners, eaves and other inconspicuous places. That potted plant in the corner, does it have cobwebs or dust bunnies behind it or attached to the wall? Swipe the broom around it and remove it. The gutters will fill with leaves, it’s a fact of life. No need to check them every day, but at least look at your roof and see if there is a build up of pollen, leaves, twigs, branches or toys. Do you have those large gorgeous trees in your yard? A selling point yes, but let’s not show the potential buyer how much it sheds on your roof when you don’t stay on top of it. Keep it clean and free of debris. Weeds grow everyday. If weeding is not included in your lawn service you need to pop out there every couple of days and see what’s growing. Your potential buyer will surely see it. As the current home owner, do you actually use your front door? Do you drive into the garage and enter your home from there? Do yourself a favor and check your front door entry way. It could have been weeks since you’ve actually seen it since you don’t enter that way.
Is it staying?
Previously it was mentioned to take down and replace the items you don’t want to leave with the home. Understand a potential buyer may see that chandelier that once belonged to your great-great grandmother and they may want it with the home. It may become a bargaining tool for them and you don’t want to be put in that situation. Once you tell a potential buyer they can’t have something, it just may be the one thing they can’t get out of their mind. If they never see it, they can never want it. The same goes for anything that is attached to the walls or ceiling. It is expected that attached items stay with the home. So look around and make sure to replace the items you want to keep.
Staging, it’s not just for the professionals.
- Set your dining room table with the good dishes, pretty napkins and the holiday silverware.
- Remove and store the leaf in your dining room table. It will give the room a larger appearance.
- Store excess furniture. If it’s blocking walkways or if you have to walk around it, it goes to storage.
- Arrange your closets with all the same type of shirts together, facing the same direction.
- Speaking of clothes, take a third or half of them to your storage unit.
- In the kitchen cabinets, organize the coffee cup handles all in the same direction.
- Go ahead and alphabetize the spice and seasoning containers in the kitchen cabinet.
- Make sure all the dishes are neatly stacked and presented.
- Have you thought of replacing that worn out or dated bedspread? Now is the time.
- Make sure to make your bed every morning. A showing can happen at any time.
- To really show the house, remove all pictures from the walls.
- After repairing the holes in the walls choose a couple scenic pictures in nice frames to put up.
- Strategically place a mirror a two on the walls. It will give dimension to rooms.
- The pros say to remove all knickknacks from shelves and tables as it is a distraction.
As a potential buyer walks through your home and sees everything arranged neatly, they are going to get the feeling that home has been well cared for. If you are meticulous about the things they can see, then you must be meticulous about the things they can’t see, right? With all of these staging suggestions and the home preparation you did, working together, your home will show at its best!
It might be a good idea to take all the essentials you use daily and place them in a box. Pull it out when you need it and place it back in a closet when not in use. All of this packing up of items and storing them may seem a little extreme, but there is another way to look at it. Think of it as getting a head start on the packing you are eventually going to have to do. The whole idea behind prepping your home for sale and staging it is to help your home present itself better and allow a potential buyer to see your home in the best possible light. Some homes sell immediately, other may take a while. Don’t worry, the right buyer will come along. Sometimes it just takes patience. Good luck!
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