Any homeowner looking to sell wants to make sure their house is in the best possible condition when it goes on the market. Not only does this mean checking off all the traditional items from a seller’s to-do list – applying a fresh coat of paint, cleaning carpets, pressure-washing driveway and decks – but also thinking a bit outside the box in terms of enhancing curb appeal and making it easy for buyers to imagine themselves living happily ever after in your beautiful home.
Getting Your House Ready to List
As you prepare your property to sell, it’s important to remember that there will likely be other homes on the market similar to yours and that are competing with yours for potential buyers’ attention. A home that looks well-maintained and tidy, both online and in person, will do as much to attract buyers as the amenities of the property itself.
Consider the following tips to help your house make the most favorable first impression.
- Clean up a messy, neglected yard. Imagine driving up to a house where grass is knee-high, bushes need trimming, mulch is old, tired or non-existent… Curb appeal suffers tremendously when the exterior of a home is not up to par. A first view of a home where the landscaping, driveway, and/or lighting shows neglect may tell a potential buyer that the rest of the home may be run down as well, killing that buyer’s enthusiasm to tour the property before they even enter the home.
- Banish the clutter. Whether inside or out, an excessive amount of “stuff” is often a deal-breaker for anyone who’s trying to imagine themselves living in your house. Too many photos and personal items may also call too much attention to current property owners’ families, pets and past. De-cluttering and de-personalizing a space go hand-in-hand in making your home as appealing as possible to buyers.
De-cluttering can be a daunting task, yet there are plenty of small businesses that focus entirely on home organization, trash removal and storage. Sometimes a homeowner may not wish to part permanently with personal items, in which case a storage unit may turn out to be the best solution, at least in the short run.
- Apply a fresh coat of paint, inside and out. Most buyers are seeking a move-in ready home. A house that is in obvious need of painting may be a huge turnoff to a buyer who doesn’t want to have to deal with such a large project so soon. Inside, neutrally-colored walls look great in photos and may make rooms look larger or brighter, while outside, curb appeal is greatly enhanced by a freshly painted exterior.
- Hire a handyman to take care of any small repairs. Dripping faucets; burned out light-bulbs; cabinets that don’t close properly. These are some of the details buyers will notice as they walk through your home, mentally comparing your house to all the other homes they are viewing. It will be well worth the effort to make a list of any repairs, small or large, and hire a handyman or plumber to help out on whatever tasks require a bit of extra time, effort or expertise.
Sprucing Up Your Home by Staging
The decision to purchase a house is as much an emotional decision as it is a practical one. In a competitive real estate market, it’s important, once again, that the property looks as amazing as possible by the time buyers start viewing it. Appearance needs to be flawless – or as close to flawless as possible.
The visual psychology of prepping a home for sale is as critical as anything else. Once a buyer says to him or herself, “I could live here…” then they are already mentally starting to make that possibility a reality. The goal of staging is to make the home as impersonal yet attractive as possible through a process of de-cluttering, rearranging furniture, displaying colors that are warm, neutral and inviting, and making sure lighting is clean and bright. For some, the payoff for styling a home with a professional stager is well worth the extra expense.
Tips for the Day of Showing or Open House
- Leave the premises. A homeowner who is present during a showing or open house can make buyers feel uncomfortable or crowded.
- Make sure potential buyers will have plenty of time to roam through your house and won’t feel pressured to show an immediate interest.
- Set the thermostat at a comfortable temperature, particularly on very hot or cold days.
- Create a welcoming atmosphere by making sure the house smells pleasant, clean and fresh. Strong air fresheners, candles or spray perfumes are distracting or may simply turn off certain buyers who are allergic to or don’t care for certain aromas.
- Turn on lights in each room or open blinds or curtains to let in as much natural light as possible, but also to highlight certain outside features or views.
- Set a mood by leaving a fire in the fireplace, turning on soft music, or leaving a plate of cookies or finger sandwiches as an additional welcoming touch.
For more tips on preparing and staging your property to sell, check out these informative sites.