PREPARING YOUR HOME FOR SALE
The time it takes to read this article plus the time it takes to prepare your home for sale might just be the best hourly wage you’ll earn in a lifetime!
It’s a well known fact – that the things we “see” everyday, we really don’t see the same way as someone who’s looking at them for the first time. When it comes time to sell, there’s an important lesson to learn: What looks OK to you, may not look so OK to someone who has never seen your property before!
When the time has come to sell, its also time to take a fresh look. The “little” things you’ve grown used to, just might mean “big bucks” off your sale price if left as they are! With your careful “renewed first look” and the help of others, like a Realty Dynamics agent or a home staging professional, you just might be amazed how a few small changes and fix-ups, can rocket up offer prices you will get and dramatically shrink the time it takes to get the offer that you’re looking for.
Time has come to see your property again for the very first time!
Walk up to your home, like you’ve never been there before. Look at everything, just like prospective buyers are going to do. You might be amazed at the things you’ve been looking past – peeling paint, an over grown shrub in the front of the house, dirt and scratches around the front door knob – worn carpet in the entry hall, yellowed ceiling in the kitchen! Every one of these things and a host of other “little” items can turn off potential buyers.
Buyers usually develop a “yes” or “no” opinion about a property in a very short period of time. So first impressions are really important. Women often judge a property based on “feelings” that develop quickly during a walk-through. Men, on the other hand, tend to build a “to do list”. Too long means – “Out-o-Here!”. If your home creates the wrong feelings or has too many obvious “to do items”, a quick sale at a solid price might not be in your future. Here is a quick list of tips to get your property up to its best without spending mega-bucks.
1. Curb Appeal – First impressions are everything when it comes time to sell and first impressions start with curb appeal – the exterior of your home and the yard. Make sure that the yard, deck, porches, garden shed and garage are all at their best. Keep the lawn & shrubs trimmed and sidewalks edged.
2. The Front Door – Your front door adds to that first impression – be sure it is scrubbed or repainted/refinished if necessary. Make sure that any paint or caulking around or near it (12′ to 15′) is in the best condition possible.
3. Where Will A Buyer’s Eyes Go First? – When you walk inside – think carefully – what is the first thing your eyes go too! Is it the faded picture of relatives long gone, the dog kennel, the ’50s style light fixture over the dining room table or the couch with the small rip on the arm? If so, you know you’ve got some work to do. People need to get an immediate good first impression – put up a great new style wall decoration with a light nearby, make sure the first room they enter is painted in a modern color – it’s all about first impressions!
4. Windows – Windows are one of the most obvious indicators of how clean a home is. Dirty windows – dirty house! Clean windows – clean house! Don’t let windows create the wrong impression.
5. Odors – Our sense of smell is very strongly linked to our memory. Good smells – good memories – good feelings; bad smells – bad memories – bad feelings! Smells can instantly create good or bad feelings. Just like we tune out the things we see every day, we also tend to tune out odors we’re used to, like pet smells, which are probably the worst. But musty smells, smoker smells and even recent cooking smells can all send the most interested buyer packing! … and don’t plan on masking them with perfume “Glade-like” smells – they only add perfume – more smells!! You need to get rid of the source. If you need help we can connect you to the right resources.
6. Kitchens – Kitchens sell houses and a chipped counter top, a leaky, calcified faucet, a worn out sink, stains and mold under the sink, dirty or scuffed cabinet doors all create negative impressions. All these little details are “big” in the eyes of most buyers.
7. Bathrooms – The Smallest Room is Huge When You’re Selling! Make this room sparkle and smell fresh. Make sure that caulk and grout is in good repair and has no mold or mildew. Can you spell S-P-O-T-L-E-S-S !! All bathrooms need to be nothing less!
8. Illumination is Like a Welcome Sign! #1 Make sure that there are no burnt out light bulbs, #2 When in doubt, replace any bulb with another one that’s at least one wattage higher (brighter is GOOD!), #3 If you know there will be a showing, before you leave, turn on all the “cool” lights everywhere. The best lighting can make a home look great!
9. Housekeeping – This one should be obvious, but it is so important we couldn’t leave it out of our list! Wash dishes, make beds, put away clothes and straighten up everywhere!
10. Pets – We know this one strikes at the heart of many of us, but when you’re selling your home, you pets could cost you money – big money! Make sure that they, their toys and their smells are not around when you know a prospective buyer will be viewing your home.
11. Make Yourself & Family Scarce During Showings! – Leave the showings to the real estate sales professionals and (please don’t take it personally, but) “get out of town!”. Prospective buyers are usually a lot less comfortable when the owner is present. When you’re not around, the qualified real estate professional has an easier time of focusing in on a prospective buyer’s likes and dislikes. When you’re there a buyer may feel uncomfortable sharing their positive or negative impressions.
12. De-clutter! – If that’s not a real word in the English language, it should be! You’re going to be moving so get your stuff out! “Clutter” is as bad as a four letter word in church on Sunday when it comes time to showing a house for sale! You have to move or sell everything in the place, so get to it NOW! We know from experience – cluttered houses don’t sell!
It’s these little things that ultimately are all so-o-o important! – Look at your home objectively. Pretend you are seeing it for the first time, through a buyer’s eyes. Call or email us for recommendations on how to stage you property for the best presentation to prospective buyers. That is part of our expertise. We will be happy to walk through your home with you and help you “set the stage.”
Remember, our goal is to help you sell your home for the most amount of money, in the shortest period of time, with the least amount of inconvenience to you.
Together, we only have one chance to make a first great impression!
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