Preparing Your Home For Sale
Sellers often underestimate the effect that small details can have on the appeal of their home. A minor makeover can improve the home's general "wow" appeal, making it sell faster, or even for a greater price.
First Impressions Do Count
- Tidy up your front entrance.
- If it is at all worn, paint or replace your front door.
- Consider pet or food smells in your home and do your best to make them pleasant (see rule #4 below).
- Replace faded, peeling or torn wallpaper.
- Repair or replace worn woodwork.
- Paint a neutral color over walls that look old or were previously painted too boldly.
Brighten It Up
- A dark home just isn't as inviting, so open the curtains and blinds.
- Turn on all lights during evening showings.
- Replace any steamed up double pane windows or old-looking tinted windows.
Simple Repairs Can Make a Difference
- When a buyer sees things that need fixing, they see dollar signs, and begin to wonder what else might need work that they can't see. Be sure to repair any loose knobs, sticking doors and windows, warped cabinet drawers, broken light switches and other minor flaws. These defects detract from the value of the house.
Clear the Clutter
- Remove all unnecessary articles from your closets and garage. Spacious rooms and large storage spaces are a great selling feature.
- Consider having a garage sale to dispose of unwanted items.
- Look into renting storage for larger items or boxes of things you aren't ready to part with but don't use every day. Include your favorite trinkets and excess ornaments. They won't have the same sentimental value to potential buyers and only distract from your home.
- Look around your home to determine where you can reduce a cluttered appearance.
- Keep stairways and hallways clear.
- Don't overload electrical outlets.
Clean It Until It Shines
- Clean windows and appliances.
- Steam clean or replace carpets.
- Glue back any peeling wallpaper.
- Remove ashtrays and throw out the trash. Give the buyer the impression that your home has been well maintained.
Nice Bathrooms Sell Homes
- Check and repair caulking in bathtubs and showers.
- Clear up any mildew stains.
- Display fresh, clean towels and make the room attractive.
- Spray a light fragrance and make the room pleasant smelling.
Arrange Bedrooms Neatly
- Remove excess furniture.
- Make the beds with clean, attractive bedspreads.
- Consider laundering the curtains.
Don't Cause Controversy
- Not everyone shares your sense of humor or political views. Remove any signs, posters or art that might be controversial or offensive to prospective buyers.
- Neutralize bold and trendy wall colors.
Now that your home has been visually staged, here are some well-tested rules geared toward helping your home to show easily and effectively:
Rule #1: Three's a Crowd
Try to be somewhere other than home during showings. The goal is to have the buyer feel relaxed, and not rushed, when viewing your home. If you are present, they may not be comfortable looking at details or asking questions. Further, it is the Realtor who knows what the buyer is looking for. They are better able to emphasize those key points if you aren't tagging along.
Rule #2: Keep the Music Down
Having easy-listening or classical music playing in the background adds to the ambiance of your home, but be sure to keep the volume low so that the Realtor and buyer can talk easily.
Rule #3: No Pets Allowed
Keep all pets, pet beds, litter boxes and feeding dishes out of the way—preferably out of the house.
Rule #4: The Fastest Way to a Buyer's Heart is Through Their Nose
Smells make up an important first impression. Bake cookies or bread, or place cornmeal in a pie plate in a warm oven on the day of the showing. The aroma will make the potential buyer feel welcomed. Be sure to turn off the oven before leaving the house, though.
Rule #5: Have Maintenance Records Available
Have copies of your air-conditioning, heating and water bills for the past 12 months available. Also be ready to show all home improvement and repair bills (e.g. showing when the new roof was put on and when a new water heater was installed).
Rule #6: Keep Quiet
Let your Realtor discuss price, terms, possession and other factors with the buyers. Your agent is qualified to bring negotiations to a favorable conclusion.
Rule #7: A Little Money Goes a Long Way
Cooperating with suggested home beautification tips and cosmetic repairs will increase a buyer's interest in your home. Remember that making these improvements increases your home's value and helps to close the sale more quickly.
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