Getting your house ready to sell. Every seller wants their home to sell and to sell fast for top dollar.
Although we wish we could wave a wand and make that happen, it is not a wish. It can happen but it is careful planning and knowing how to professionally spruce up your home that will get home buyers making offers.
Here is how to prep a house and turn it into an irresistible and marketable home.
Disassociate Yourself With Your Home.
You need to think – this is no longer my home. You want to sell it so in the words of my daughter’s favorite song from Frozen “Let it Go”.
Pack up those personal photographs and family heirlooms. Buyers can’t see past personal artifacts, and you don’t want them to be distracted. You want buyers to imagine their own photos on the walls, and they can’t do that if yours are there!
You want to take down any collections you have and pack them away for your new home. I have had clients that love their antique doll collections that is spread out all over their living room. A prospective buyer is there to see the house and not any collections. They just become a distraction and take people’s eyes off of seeing your home.
You don’t want to make any buyer ask, “I wonder what kind of people live in this home?” You want buyers to say, “I can see myself living here.”
People collect an amazing quantity of junk. Consider this: if you haven’t used it in over a year, you probably don’t need it.
If you don’t need it, why not donate it or throw it away?
Remove ½ the books from bookcases.
Pack up those knickknacks.
Clean off everything on kitchen counters.
Put essential items used daily in a small box that can be stored in a closet when not in use.
Think of this process as a head-start on the packing you will eventually need to do anyway.
Rearrange Bedroom Closets and Kitchen Cabinets.
Buyers will open closet and cabinet doors. Think of the message it sends if items fall out! Now imagine what a buyer believes about you if she sees everything organized. It says you probably take good care of the rest of the house as well. This means:
- Neatly stack dishes.
- Turn coffee cup handles facing the same way.
- Hang shirts together, buttoned and facing the same direction.
- Pack away clothes you won’t be wearing to make closets look larger.
- Line up shoes.
- Organize your pantry.
Rent a Storage Unit.
Almost every home shows better with less furniture. Remove pieces of furniture that block or hamper paths and walkways and put them in storage. Remove extra leaves from your dining room table to make the room appear larger. Leave just enough furniture in each room to showcase the room’s purpose and plenty of room to move around. You don’t want buyers scratching their heads and saying, “What is this room used for?”
Remove/Replace Favorite Items.
If you want to take window coverings, built-in appliances or fixtures with you, remove them now. If the chandelier in the dining room once belonged to your great grandmother, take it down. If a buyer never sees it, she won’t want it. Once you tell a buyer she can’t have an item, she will covet it, and it could blow your deal. Pack those items and replace them, if necessary. If you love the curtain rods you have, take them down and replace with less expensive curtain rods. Just do it before the first showing. Not after.
- Replace cracked floor or counter tiles.
- Patch holes in walls.
- Fix leaky faucets.
- Fix doors that don’t close properly and kitchen drawers that jam.
- Consider painting your walls neutral colors, especially if you have grown accustomed to purple or pink walls.
- (Don’t give buyers any reason to remember your home as “the house with the orange bathroom.”)
- Replace burned-out light bulbs. Use bulbs that are bright.
- If you’ve considered replacing a worn bedspread, do so now!
- If you have lights that are gold colored and look dated, buy a can of spray paint and paint it a modern brown. $5. And you have a new light fixture!
Make the House Sparkle!
- Wash windows inside and out.
- Rent a pressure washer and spray down sidewalks and exterior.
- Clean out cobwebs.
- Re-caulk tubs, showers and sinks.
- Polish chrome faucets and mirrors.
- Clean out the refrigerator.
- Vacuum daily.
- Wax floors.
- Dust furniture, ceiling fan blades and light fixtures.
- Bleach dingy grout.
- Replace worn rugs.
- Hang up fresh towels.
- Clean and air out any musty smelling areas. Odors are a no-no.
- Wipe down your furnace and water heater in the basement.
When a house is cleaned it looks well cared for.
Little things that make a big difference – set the table, make your bed to look like the beds at Macys. Pillows make a big difference on couches and beds.
- Go outside and open your front door. Stand there. Do you want to go inside? Does the house welcome you?
- Linger in the doorway of every single room and imagine how your house will look to a buyer.
- Examine carefully how furniture is arranged and move pieces around until it makes sense.
- Make sure window coverings hang level.
- Tune in to the room’s statement and its emotional pull. Does it have impact and pizzazz?
- Does it look like nobody lives in this house? You’re almost finished.
Check Curb Appeal.
If a buyer won’t get out of her agent’s car because she doesn’t like the exterior of your home, you’ll never get her inside.
- Keep the sidewalks cleared.
- Mow the lawn.
- Paint faded window trim.
- Plant yellow flowers or group flower pots together. Yellow evokes a buying emotion. Marigolds are inexpensive.
- Trim your bushes.
- Make sure visitors can clearly read your house number.
Sometimes putting a little money into getting your home ready will pay off in bigger amounts. Houses that are staged correctly and clean sell quicker and for more money. Get it right the first time. Most buyers won’t come back.
In the past few weeks I have had listings in Foxboro and North Attleboro that have sold at the first Open House for thousands over asking because they were staged correctly. The work the sellers did up front has paid off!