Sellers Ask: “What Are The Most Important Things To Do To Get My Home Ready to Sell?”
When Chris and I get that question, it has different answers, depending on the individual and their house. But there are a few general guidelines that are universal. There are several things that are not necessarily major items, but are very important. They have a huge return on investment (ROI) because for the most part, they cost your time and energy.
1. First Impressions: What the buyer sees when they first drive up to your house makes an impression through which the rest of your house is judged. Really. The easiest thing to do is to tidy up the front of the house. Clean up the old, dead plant growth, and if the season is right, plants and flowers are welcoming. If you don’t have the space, some planters will be a great touch.
Clean the walkways and front steps, rent a powerwasher if neccessary. Repair wood rot on the trim, and above all else, paint the front door. Replace old dingy door handles and kick-plate. A fresh coat of paint and welcoming entryway says, “this home is well-cared for.”
2. Buyers want to see your house, not your stuff: Declutter! Rent a storage unit, have it hauled away, give it to charity, have a yard sale…whatever you need to do to get rid of it. After you’ve done that, go through your house again, and see if there is anything you missed. Pare down your closet, it looks like you have more space. Put away small appliances and crocks in the kitchen, make as much counterspace as you can without making it look barren. Pack away knick-knacks, collectables, and photos as much as you can. De-personlizing is an important part of de-cluttering. It’s a woman’s preference,but if you can, put fresh flowers out before a showing.
3. Clean, then clean, and then clean some more: I’ve seen it with buyers over and over again, they can’t get past the dirt to see the house. Sometimes it helps to have a pair of fresh eyes to see the dirt we’ve just gotten used to. This includes shampooing the carpet, and cleaning the floors well.
Cleaning also includes eliminating odors: pet odors, cooking spices and smelly athletic shoes. As with the other senses, it can help to have a friend come to your home and let you know what their first impression is. Sometimes we grow insensitive to the smells of our environment when we are there every day.
4. A fresh coat of paint covers a multitude of sins: and it doesn’t cost that much. Make sure its in neutral colors, and by neutral, I don’t necessarily mean white and beige. Avoid highly unusual designs, strong colors, or anything that is extreme. You want your space to look good to the widest possible audience, so aim for universal appeal. Consult a stager if you are in need of good advice…we know a few.
5. Make the small repairs. Even though they are small, they speak loudly. They shout out to buyers, “If they let the small things go unrepaired, how have they handled the large things?” Then they continue to nag the buyers with hints of “deferred maintenance” well after they leave your home.
These are some of the most important things every seller can do, so make sure you do these before you start putting money into improvements and costly repairs.
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