Try for a minute or two and understand the psyche of the buyer. Improvements made before listing your home can make all the difference. Everybody knows that a home should be prepared or “prepped” before it is listed. An investment in time and money will provide a huge competitive edge over other listings. Your efforts to make your home sparkle will show that you have been a conscientious homeowner and buyers prefer that. Never forget that buyers will look at many homes before making an offer. Being number two on a buyer’s list isn’t much better than being number ten. Only a buyer’s top choice will receive a written offer.
Be the smart seller and follow these useful suggestions. Fortunately for you, most folks are not dutiful and never get around to doing the little things that make a big difference. If you are better than the rest, your chance of success will dramatically increase. And remember, any buyer is going to order a full home inspection after a purchase price has been negotiated. Therefore, as you prep your home, you should repair or replace any known defects. In fact, a number of homeowners today are being instructed to have an inspection prior to placing their property on the market. This allows them to gain a competitive advantage because fewer problems arise after an accepted offer and their property usually shows better as well.
There is another dynamic in play here as you properly prep your home. Your agent is striving to develop a partnership that will help in your success. It is important that both parties work hard to achieve a completed transaction. Show your agent that you are serious about selling your home and that your expectations are high. All agents will greatly appreciate the effort that you make to enhance your home as it gets ready to enter the market. I see numerous homes that look tired, run-down, dated, worn, etc…however you want to characterize it. Make your home the exception. Make it shine! Follow these tips.
- Replace burned out bulbs, clean all light fixtures
- Repair drywall or plaster areas, fill nail holes, cracks or other blemishes
- Touch up paint on walls and trim work
- Repair leaking plumbing fixtures, replace any rust stained parts
- Clean windows, screens and mirrors
- Tighten door knobs, lubricate hinges on squeaky doors
- Get all mechanicals checked and certified that they are functioning properly; this includes heating and air conditioning equipment, sprinkler system, etc. Provide documentation as part of your promotional materials.
- Fix anything else that you know is in need of repair
CLEANLINESS IS ESSENTIAL-
- Clean bath areas, remove any mold and mildew
- Re-caulk any areas that show signs of failure, leakage or mold
- Shampoo carpets, vacuum window treatments
- Remove excess pictures and artwork and personal memorabilia
- Paint or Varnish the front door and clean entire entry area
- Arrange closet and storage areas so that they appear 50-70% full
- Remove excess furniture and personal belongings; place in storage
- Sanitize and deodorize when necessary
FIRST IMPRESSIONS- EXTERIOR VIEW
- Paint the home’s exterior if condition appears worn, weathered or shows poorly
- Cut and edge the lawn, remove weeds and perform general yard clean-up
- Remove any debris and litter
- Trim shrubs, add fresh mulch around landscaping, add color with seasonal flowers
- Repair or clean gutters, eaves and downspouts
- Clear sidewalks and driveway of any leaves or snow
DURING SCHEDULED SHOWINGS
- Be absent during showings
- Create a friendly Buyer atmosphere (music, candles, mood lighting, etc.)
- Turn on plenty of lights and open drapes/blinds (during the day)
- Light the fireplace during cooler weather
- Keep pets secured, outdoors or in the garage
- Make sure there are no offensive odors
- Your home should sparkle, cleanliness sells homes
Consult with your real estate professional. My guide is offered as a starting point. Your agent is your partner and together you are trying to execute a winning strategy. There is at times, a possibility that you may need the services of a home staging professional. These are experts that charge a fee to help you stage or “dress up” your listing. They make recommendations that include furniture arrangements, de-cluttering prime areas of the home such as kitchens and family rooms, placement of artwork and other useful decorating suggestions. You will hear them discuss the “de-personalization” of your home. You may spend a few hundred dollars for this service but it can prove to be quite beneficial.
I believe that when a home staging service is retained to help with showings, it introduces a neutral party who can help the seller see things in a new light. Unfortunately, sometimes the real estate agent and the seller disagree on the specifics of how to prep the home. The home staging professional should be able to help refocus on the commitment that is necessary to lead to a successful outcome. Be prepared to hear the stark truth and act on their recommendations. Staged homes may sell faster and/or for more money. Follow these tips and you will differentiate your listing from the competition and increase the likelihood of a SALE!