In order for a house to sell in today’s market it must have a lot going for it. The competition is intense and a successful seller is one who competes and wins on many different fronts. This article will provide the prospective seller tips, ideas and best practices that will help you sell your home, not just list it.
No matter how beautiful your home is on the inside, the first impression will always be made by how the house looks from the street. Many times if the house does not look up-to-snuff on the outside buyers will chose to not go inside. You don’t get a second chance to make a first impression. Here are some tips to make the exterior of your house look its best:
- Cut the grass,
- Trim the hedges.
- Rake the leaves.
- Sweep or shovel the sidewalks.
- If you have rocks around your house make sure it’s not 1 part rock and 2 parts old leaves and sticks.
- Trim and remove any dead flowers, or shrubs. Dead and dormant are not good buyer thoughts as they wait for their Realtor to open the door.
Cut The Clutter
People tend to accumulate things. The mail arrives and we make a pile. Grandma gives you a chair and we squeeze it in. After a few years, what is imperceptible to the owners is a maze of furniture, junk and accessories. You have to cut the clutter! Buyers will love to see Sally’s photo montage from kindergarten to marriage but they will remember Sally’s dress and her husbands blue tux and won’t remember that this is the house with the beautiful wood floors. Remove 7/8ths of the personal photos. I realize it is still your house but buyers have a hard time picturing themselves in “your” house. The rooms will look bare and not “homey” to the seller but believe me, this is how buyers like to see a house. They want to be able to picture their stuff in the house.
Once you cut the clutter it is time to think about staging each room. The idea is to make each space pleasing to the eye. Work from the perspective of a buyer at the entrance to each room. There should be a balance to the room in terms of weight of the furniture (you don’t want everything piled in one corner) and hardness. By hardness I mean that there should be a balance of hard and soft surfaces. If a room has hardwood flooring there should be a rug to soften it up a bit. If there is a couch, a love seat and a lazy-boy the room is probably too soft and you will need to add a coffee table or replace the lazy-boy with a harder chair (think Windsor). I am not a staging expert but I know people who are and even if you have plenty of your own furniture it is worth a couple of hundred dollars to have an expert come over to put it in the right place. Beware, sometimes the right place for some of your stuff is at the curb. In order to get it right you sometimes have to hear what you don’t want to.
Clean Like You Have Never Cleaned Before
Buyer’s look at your house differently than you do; they are comparing it to all of the others out there. Not only are they looking for the facts of a house (number of bedrooms, square footage, etc.) they are waiting for an emotional connection with a house. It is hard to get emotionally attached to a house that has flies in the window tracks, a dusty top of the refrigerator (just because you can’t see it doesn’t mean a buyer can’t see it) or a ring around the toilet. It takes near constant vigilance to keep a house in pristine showing condition. The idea is to have the buyer ask if someone actually lives there. Before you put your house on the market it’s time to wash all of the baseboards, clean the silver in the hutch and wash the windows. It’s also time to clean the window wells, dust the light fixtures and shine the sink. Your going to love your house so much you are going to hate to leave. But then again, it’s hard work selling your house and you will be relieved when that offer gets accepted.
This is not an exhaustive list but it will get you thinking along the right lines. Time and time again I hear from my clients who get the highest and quickest offers that this happens to them each time they sell. Why does this happen? Are these people lucky? No, these people have the knowledge, planning and persistence to put their house in great showing condition. Call me whenever you need an extra pair of eyes to check over the progress.