Like most sellers, you want to get the most for your home and sell as quickly as possible. Here are some simple and inexpensive tips to help you maximize the presentation of your home, which should lead to less time on the market and a higher sale price. The best place to start is by looking at your home with a fresh perspective and trying to imagine the little details that a potential buyer might see.
- Clean Your Windows, Carpet and Tile
Buyers love homes that have a lot of natural light and warmth. Cleaning your windows is one of the simplest things you can do to improve the overall appearance of your home and give a buyer the comforting sense that your home is well cared for and sparkling clean. The same goes for tile floors and carpet.
- Let There Be Light
Make sure you don’t have any burned out light bulbs and that the wattage is sufficient to brightly light up your home. If some rooms or areas still seem too dark, consider adding some inexpensive additional lighting. Well-lit areas feel more spacious and welcoming, which are two important impressions you want a buyer to have of your home.
- Pay Attention to Smells
This is one of the hardest items to judge on your own, but by far one of the most important. The smell of your home is the first and strongest impression a potential buyer will have. A variety of smells can create an unpleasant impression that will cause your potential buyer to want to leave as soon as possible. These may include pet odors, musty odors, cigarette smoke, overpowering room deodorizers and sprays, and anything that either smells unclean or like an attempt to mask an unpleasant scent. Ask a friend or family member to honestly help you evaluate your home’s scent and make neutralizing corrections to balance out anything unpleasant. Light fragrance enhancers can add a welcoming appeal if you are careful not to overdo the scent and mindful of potential buyers who may have perfume allergies. (Bake bread or simmer cinnamon sticks in water)
- Freshen Up the Paint
Inside and out, paint is an often overlooked detail that can have a huge impact on your presentation. Paint serves as the backdrop of the overall feel of your home. When baseboards are crisp and clean, colors are neutral and everything looks fresh, buyers feel welcome to linger and imagine themselves in the home. When paint is peeling, looks dingy or the colors are too loud (or dark), buyers feel the home is not well cared for and may even be afraid of how much work is involved in covering a dark color that’s not suited for their taste. You want to give buyers every reason to fall in love with your home and visualize it as their own.
- De-Clutter Everything (Yes, Even the Closets)
Homes that feel too full leave a buyer with the impression that the home is too small. Buyers are often looking for a certain “feeling of home” to hit them when they find the right house. That is why having your home feel as spacious as possible allows a buyer to imagine their furniture fitting into the space. Most buyers also feel that homes that are well cared for in the areas they can see, have been well cared for in the areas they can’t see. Creating a feeling of order and cleanliness helps buyers feel more at home and more comfortable with the large purchase they are contemplating.
- Pack Away Your Family Photos
This seems like a counter-intuitive piece of advice. Every suggestion has been an attempt to help a potential buyer feel more at home, and what could be more “homey” than family photos? In actuality, the overall big picture you are creating is one where potential buyer can visualize your home as their home. Family photos tend to be an obstacle to that goal in that they spoil the vision for the buyer, by claiming the territory as yours. Sticking to neutral, impersonal photos allows buyers to visualize the walls covered in their family photos and imagine the space as theirs to decorate.
- Spruce Up the Yard and Curb Appeal
Curb appeal- two small words with huge potential. The curb appeal of your home will determine how many buyers call from the sign in your front yard or click on your listing from the exterior photo online. Your curb appeal is the wrapping on your home that causes buyers to want to see more based on the outside image. Making sure your yard is tidy, colorful, and welcoming is one of the most important and least expensive things you can do to increase the number of potential buyers who come to see your home.
- Fix Any Squeaky Hinges and Sticky Doors and Windows
One often overlooked opportunity to create the vision of a well-kept home is the sticky door lock that you’ve grown accustomed to dealing with over the years. Remembering that potential buyers are seeing your home for the first time and making a quick judgment on your home’s general condition will put you in the right mindset to look over your windows and doors with a fresh perspective. Sliding glass doors and screens that are hard to operate and windows that are sticky or hard to open cause most buyers to wonder if the door or window will need to be replaced, which may seem expensive to them. Vacuuming and oiling slider and window tracks can go a long way towards creating an impression of a solid, well-kept home that a buyer can trust.
- Price Competitively
Like most sellers, you want to get the most for your home. Surprisingly, the best way to do this is to price it directly at market value and not above. If you price your home too high, potential buyers may see you s being unreasonable and they may not want to insult you with a lower offer (even if it is at market value). Fewer people will come to see your home, it will sit on the market longer and eventually you will have to come down to market value anyway. But the damage will be done. Buyers and agents will think there is something wrong with your home since it was on the market so long and you will still have fewer showings than if you had priced your home competitively to begin with. You will become ”stale” on the market. In any type of sales, the more potential “customers” you have looking at your product, the better your odds of selling the product in a timely manner and for the most amount of money due to the perceived competition and interest. This basic principle applies to home sales also.
- Get Involved In Spreading the Word About Your Home
Tell friends, family, neighbors, everyone you meet that your home is for sale and at a good value. Be sure not to share personal information that could put you at a negotiating disadvantage, but spread the word and work as a team with your agent.