Selling your home is so much more than a sign in the yard. There are a lot of preparations you should make to ensure you get the best offer possible in the shortest time.
Just because you’ve gotten used to the cracks in the walls and peeling paint, doesn’t mean a buyer will too. If you have hardwood floors that need refinishing, be sure to get it done—hardwood is a huge selling point! Clean the shower doors, the oven, and steam clean the carpets. Finally, don’t forget to address any issues with the exterior—fences, shingles, sidewalks, landscaping, etc. If you know you plan to list your home in the future, take some good photographs of your yard in full Spring bloom. Even if you list in the dead of winter, buyers love being able to visualize a yard in other seasons. Curb appeal matters, as some buyers will not set foot inside a home if the exterior doesn’t resonate with them.
You want buyers to see themselves in your home. If your living room has lime green shag, wood-paneled walls, and all your collectibles and personal photographs, this will be much harder for them to do. Personal photographs are highly distracting and cause the buyer to start wondering about the person in the photo, rather than the house. Try replacing any bold color choices in your floors and walls with something more neutral—preferably whites as they read as “clean.” Avoid cooking foods with residual smells during the showing phase. Frying or cooking with certain spices can create smells that linger in the air and may be unappealing to buyers. Making everything look (and smell) fresh and new, helps prospective buyers imagine all the possibilities.
Jam packed closets with items piled to the ceiling read to a buyer “not enough closet space,” so clear out, donate unwanted items, and if necessary, rent a storage unit to remove excess furniture and items during the showing phase of your home sale. It can really make a difference in a buyer’s ability to see themselves in your home if there is less of “you” there. Don’t take it personally! Just remember the big picture: you want them to fall in love with your home, so it becomes their home. Some tips on decluttering can be found here.
Buyers like to snoop around and open built in drawers, so please do not leave any sensitive papers, bills or personal information out for buyers to see. Ideally keep them in a piece of your own furniture that can be locked.
Often our homes may have latent defects of which the homeowner is completely unaware. These are usually brought to light in the buyers inspection phase of the process, and necessary repairs are negotiated as part of the contract. Some homeowners opt to be proactive and pay for a pre-inspection to alert them to any defects that could jeopardize a smooth sale. While this is an extra cost to the seller, it can be incredibly useful to the homeowner in preparing the house for sale, and it says to the prospective buyer that they are working with a conscientious seller who has cared enough for their home to take that extra step.
I strongly believe that good photography can make or break a listing. Sideways photos, bad lighting, or too few photos all make a listing look unprofessional, and doesn't help the buyer truly see what's good about your home. Most buyers would rather see a photo of a kitchen that needs renovation, than no photos of the kitchen at all!
Once your home is showing ready, I will bring in a professional photographer at my expense to shoot your home and make it look its best.
I also hire a professional to measure the rooms, and draw a floor plan (example below) so prospective buyers can see whether the layout will work for their needs, or not. Photography and floor plans also help sellers garner appointments with more serious buyers. For example: It's a time saver for both sides if it is clear ahead of time that there is an upstairs master, when the buyers must have one downstairs, and do not want to renovate.
Hopefully these guidelines can help you get the most for your home in the shortest time, and everyone wins!
I ask my clients to fill out a seller's survey before I walk through the property to help me quickly understand their needs during a stressful time.
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