Sell Your Home High & Fast
Your home’s appearance can make a big difference in how much you are offered for your home and how quickly you receive one. Most Buyers want a “move-in ready” home in which they do not have to make any changes or incur any costs to move in.
Homes that need work or are in poor condition encourage Buyers to make low offers. The home could simply need new interior paint and some minor repairs but most Buyers will pass on homes that need just a little work or they will place a very low offer.
Of course, you do not want to overspend on home preparations so there is a limit. For example, I would not recommend remodeling a room, kitchen or bathroom unless the home is not inhabitable otherwise. In some case, it may be best to try and sell those homes “As Is”.
So what are the most cost-effective steps you can take to prepare your home for sale? Let’s start at the beginning, the front or “curbside” view of your home.
The front of your home creates the first impression in the Buyer’s mind. It should be clean and any weeds removed. Adding some color helps as it helps set a positive mood. Wouldn’t it be great if Buyers see your home before checking the address and “hope” that is the one? What a great way to start a showing!
The Buyers will be standing by the front door while the agent unlocks the home, so you should also repair or touch up any areas needing work. You want the Buyers positive mood from the front view to carry into the home.
As the Buyers enter the home, make sure it is well lit. If you have solar screens you should consider removing them. Most Buyers do not like a dark home and a bright home lightens the mood and also looks larger.
If your walls have marks on them or look like they could use some paint, do it! New paint sends a message to the Buyer that the home is “like new”. If you have done a good job with the front entry, new paint adds to their positive attitude and they start thinking, “this home has possibilities”. The goal is to create a great mood and sustain it.
If your home has primarily dark colors you should use a light, off white paint. White makes a home look larger and most Buyers won’t object to white walls.
I would also take a critical look at carpet. If carpet is worn or old style (orange shag, etc.) then it should be replaced. There is carpet available that looks very nice and is not that costly.
Your investment in paint, carpet and the front view of your home will usually be recovered in the form of better and faster offers. The home will have a new or move-in ready appearance which is a big plus. So what’s next?
Keep these terms in mind: Brighter, Larger and Open/Uncluttered. You should walk through each room and determine if there is something you can do to make it appear Brighter, Larger, or more Open and Uncluttered.
Brighter: Light improves the mood and makes the rooms look larger and more inviting. Leave blinds open and any drapes pulled back, and remove any screens that block light. If a room is still a little dark or if you cannot open some blinds for security reasons, then consider leaving lights on in those rooms. This is most important in Living Areas and Master Bedrooms, less so in other Bedrooms.
Larger: Does the room have too much furniture? Perhaps the room is “cozy” in your mind but it is the Buyer we want to impress. Ask yourself “Could I remove some of the furniture without making the room look abandoned?”
Uncluttered: Clutter gives a Buyer too much stuff to look at and makes the room appear smaller. The goal is to have Buyers think of how they would live in your home, and not to impress them with your decorating skills. Kitchen and Bathroom Counters are magnets for clutter. Counter space is important, so remove items that are not critical.
What is clutter to some people are valuable keepsakes to another. You should remove most personal pictures, mementoes & knick-knacks.
Repairs: If there are items in your home readily visible that are in need of repair, you should take care of them before listing the property. Buyers will usually request they be repaired so it is best to take care of them now, especially handyman type repairs. It may be more costly to make the repairs later.
Back Yard Landscaping: If the yard is landscaped, simply maintain it by keeping trees trimmed and weeds removed. If the back yard is all dirt, it would be best if you could at least cover it with landscape rock.
Home Smell: If your home has pet odors or a lingering smell, try to air it out or take steps to remove any offensive odors. If the home smells of smoke, you must remove the odor or most non-smoking Buyers will pass it up. There are companies that specialize in this.
Some Sellers will add pleasant scents to the home through the use of “plug-ins”, pot-pouri or other means which is a nice touch. Lemon and Vanilla scents seem to work best.
This article covers the primary areas to consider when preparing your home for sale. There may be some other items which are unique to your home and your REALTOR will help you with any additional recommendations.