You want your home to sell fast. Why? A home that sells quickly will sell for more money than a home that lingers on the market. When a home first comes on the market it has the appeal of being newly available and buyers will want to jump on the opportunity.
Buyers who've been looking for a while (AKA “ready, willing and able” buyers), definitely take note of all a home has to offer with a sharp eye. To grab (and keep) their attention, it’s critical that your house makes a great first impression. Here are my top 10 tips to help prepare your home for sale:
1. Look at your home with fresh eyes. Approach in your car from the direction that a buyer will most likely arrive. What do you see? Toys in the front yard could mean the backyard is unusable. A pile of garden tools or equipment could be a sign there is a lack of storage space. Viewing the house like a buyer will change your perspective on your home.
2. Asses the landscaping. Do the trees in your yard need pruning, or are there any that need to be removed? Are the flowerbeds overrun? Whether you are just used to it or have been meaning to fix it for some time, now is the time. You want your home to look its best.
3. Pay attention to the front door. While most of us enter through a garage or side door, buyers will be brought to the front door by their real estate agents. Something as simple as a new door knocker or house number can spruce up a tired front entrance. Take a look at the walkway, remove cobwebs and add some fresh paint if necessary. If a real estate agent is fumbling with the lockbox, the potential buyers could be there for a few minutes. Make sure they like what they’re seeing.
4. Buyers should feel like guests arriving for dinner. Unless you have white linen carpets or it’s raining cats and dogs, let the buyers wear their shoes. No one likes to walk around someone else's house in their socks or bare feet. Even booties are difficult to manage and are considered a nuisance.
5. Keep the smells to a minimum. Upholstered furniture, drapes, and just about any other fabric in the home can trap scents, good and bad. Avoid aromatic cooking and fragrant air fresheners, give your four-legged friends a bath and clean litter boxes, bird cages and fish tanks more often. The extra effort (and lack of odors) is worth it.
6. Fresh air and the sun work wonders. If the weather allows (and you have some help), bring upholstered furniture outside to get sun all day. Open the windows, especially in areas that aren’t often travelled in your home. These rooms may need to be aired out.
7. Check the basement and invest in a dehumidifier if needed. Most basements need one, and the first thing buyers will be looking for in a basement are signs of humidity and water problems.
8. Renovations are not necessary for a sale, but repairs might be. Doors, knobs, and kitchen and bathroom cabinets should all hang plumb and work properly. Broken window panes and peeling paint both indoors and out should be addressed. No need to repaint an entire room or exterior; a good painter can blend the new with the old and make it unnoticeable.
9. Clear out the clutter. Simple furnishing is best – the rooms look bigger and allow a buyer to easily move throughout the home. Put away toys, leaving a handful that can be easily picked up when a showing is scheduled. Rotate the toys with a fresh batch from the closet each week. It will delight your kids and allow them to play with those long-forgotten toys!
10. Let there be light. Make sure all the light bulbs work and provide a sticky note for that hard to find light switch. Even better, leave all the lights on when you know you’re expecting a showing. Homes look best with the shades open and the lights on. It may cost you a little more, but remember, you’re selling a house!
This may seem like a lot to think about, but rest assured that I will walk you through the process and make it easy to have your home looking its best in no time. I’m looking forward to helping make your home buyer ready!