You Have to be Objective
Everyone thinks about this, but so few do it. Getting your house ready to be sold is more than dusting the counters (but yes, please do that as well). Okay, so there are way more things you could do before listing, but we think these are the most relevant and easy to do. And these are all little to no cost.
Before we jump into these different steps, I want you to step back. Put yourself into the shoes of a buyer. Easy right? Well, not really. Doing so means you have to be objective and that is hard for anyone, even if it is a situation where selling is the only option. I digress.
Being objective means asking the question – what does a buyer want to see? Or, better yet, what will they see when they walk into my (your) home? Can they envision their lives here or do they only see how I (you) have been living? The key is to create a neutral setting. If there’s too much of “you” for a buyer to see – they may simply walk out and not give your home a second thought. Or, worse yet, they’ll only reference the negative of what they saw.
10 Easy Steps When Listing Your Home
- Clean, clean and clean again – your house needs to be spotless. Buyers want to feel like the house is new. Even houses that have that “historic charm” and “wonderful character of an older home”. A clean house goes a long way to helping people focus on what you want them to see (versus gatherings of dust or a dirty sink).
- De-clutter all rooms – keep things open. I can’t tell you how many times a buyer will hesitate and stop looking if they can’t even get into a room. If a buyer has to step around things to see the space, they’ll just turn away and dismiss it all. Make sure they have a clear path to get to windows and closets. Buyers want to see the view from a room. If it’s a bedroom – closets need to be as empty as possible. Move toys (kids or pets) into a neat arrangement and put away as many as possible. If necessary, box up the extras and put it into storage (attic, basement or at a family member’s house).
- Give it a coat of paint – a fresh coat of paint will do wonders for a house being sold. Just like you need to keep every room clean at all times (never know when a showing will take place), you want the walls to feel crisp and clean.
- Bring in the light – one of the worst things I’ve seen a seller do is close the drapes or blinds. A dark house is a concern and makes rooms look smaller.
- Furniture and staging – An empty room is not as bad as a dirty or cluttered room, but having an empty kitchen, dining room or living room can work against you as well. If the house is going to be vacant, it is best to leave a few furniture items in place for the living room, dining room and kitchen.
- Landscaping – this is simple – keep the yard clean. Mow it weekly. If you’re selling in the winter – keep the driveway and walkways clear of snow. You can consider adding plantings to improve curb appeal, but no need to go overboard.
- Room-to-room – similar to staging, you want to convey a key characteristic of a given room. It may be the size of the closet for a bedroom. Or, the amount of space for entertaining. Whatever it is, find a way to highlight that fact.
Three Steps to Not Overlook
- Garage – don’t overlook the importance of a clean garage. It may not be the destination room of the house, but buyers always take a look at it. A cluttered, dirty and smelly garage will be a turnoff.
- Smells – don’t go overboard on scented candles and air fresheners. Nothing sets off a buyer’s radar like seeing (or smelling) fragrances everywhere. Have pets? Cats? Clean out that litter box and make sure it’s out of the way (and nowhere near kitchens or entertaining areas). Just as a bad wall color or cluttered room will push buyers backward – a smell can be devastating.
- Simple repairs – do you have a list of things you’ve been meaning to do? Gutters that need cleaning? Peeling paint around door or window trim work? Banged up walls or nail holes from pictures? Get it all done. Serious. Don’t just think about your possible buyers at this point, now you have to start considering an inspection. If you have things like an exposed outlet or broken doorknob – all of these things are noted on an inspection. May be small stuff, but anything that is a defect becomes a point of hesitation for a buyer.
Above All Else – Keep the House Clean
Did I mention anything about cleaning? Yes! Clean, clean and clean again. It may seem like a lot to do, but remember that buying a house is the largest single investment we make. So, treat it as such. Make them feel good about wanting to buy the house and fall in love with that investment.
Or, if you don’t want to deal with all of this and just need to sell your home give us a call (203-486-8868) today. Three simple steps to sell your home with options.