Thursday, October 5, 2017 / by Daniel McDuffee
As a Realtor I have seen countless homes. Working with buyers I can see first hand what kind of things instantly create an emotional reaction, good or bad. The more of these tips you are able to do before you list your home, the more likely your sale will go smoothly and net you the most money.
1. Depersonalize your home
Take down your family pictures, unique knick-knacks, nude art and anything else that is highly individualized. You may love those zany lamps you've had for years, but the more personal your home is the less a buyer will be able to imagine themselves living there. When you are getting ready to sell your home, you want to make it into an empty canvas a potential buyer can paint their dreams onto.
2. Remove all smells
A bad smell can kill the appeal of an otherwise perfect home, and homeowners have often gone "nose blind" to these smells. Ask your real estate professional if you have any potentially unpleasant smells in your home. Cooking odors from spices or fish, pet smells, or a general dirty smell could be turning off many potential buyers. To get rid of odors, stop cooking strong smelling foods, shampoo the carpet, move the litter box to the garage, and consider repainting if the smells are especially strong. You could also run an ionizer or essential oil vaporizer in your home to add a neutral or pleasant smell. Be careful though - an overpowering good scent can be just as much of a turn off as a bad one!
3. Give your yard a makeover
This doesn't necessarily mean completely redoing the landscaping - a little bark dust and trimming the bushes and lawn can do wonders. Consult your real estate professional about ways to add curb appeal to the yard. After all, it is the first thing people see when they pull up to the home, and the emotional reaction they have can impact the rest of their showing. People will usually decide within 30 seconds whether or not they like a home, and a bad yard can immediately impact that impression.
4. Price your home correctly
People often assume that in order to get the most money for their home they need to price it high so they have "room" for negotiations. This could not be further from the truth! The first two weeks a home is on the market are critical - it is when the home will get by far the greatest exposure. Pricing a home correctly will draw a much larger potential pool of buyers, which in turn will generate more interest and more offers. If you end up getting multiple offers not only will you have options to choose from, but you will also have the ability to potentially get more money and have an offer in backup position in the event the first offer falls through.
5. Move out before you list
To most people, this sounds like a serious pain. What if I don't find a home? What if my home is on the market for months? What if it doesn't sell? These are all risks, but if you follow the rest of the tips, work with the right professional, and price your home correctly this won't be an issue. Having your home vacant means you don't have to constantly rush out for showing appointments, you don't have to worry about keeping your house clean enough, and your home will be depersonalized, clutter free, and clean! This is a major plus and will help your home sell quickly and for the most money.
6. Work with a Real Estate Professional
Many people feel that they can save money by going for sale by owner. While it is possible that they may save on commission, there are many things they may not do as well as if they had used a real estate professional. Proper pricing, prepping the home, getting maximum exposure to the market, holding opens and meeting potential clients, understanding the contract and the repair negotiations, and a network of contractors, photographers, and other contacts are all things that a real estate professional can bring to the table. Don't be penny wise and dollar foolish!
7. Stage your home
Staging is the use of furniture, art, and decoration specifically for increasing the appeal of your home. It can range from adding art and arranging existing furniture in the most appealing way to bringing in a complete set of furniture, art, and other decorations to a vacant home. The purpose of staging is to increase the appeal and downplay the negatives of a home - and it works! Homes that have staging sell for more money and sell faster. Your Realtor should discuss staging options with you during the initial home consultation.
8. Get professional photographs
The photos of your home are the very first thing a potential buyer will see when they find your listing online. They are the very first impression and can determine if a buyer even visits your home for a showing. So which would you rather have - grainy cell phone photos taken from inside a car, or professionally lit photos taken by a professional who knows how to make the home look its best? Professional photos can greatly increase the number of showings a home gets.
9. Fix minor issues
Do you have a clogged drain in the guest bathroom that you don't really use? Does your furnace need cleaning? Do you have moss on the roof? These can seem minor to a homeowner that has been living with them for years, but to a potential buyer these type of things can seem like red flags for potentially larger issues. They may begin to ask themselves if the home was properly cared for or maintained. Fixing these issues will make buyers more comfortable in the long run.
10. Get your home clean
As simple as this sounds, it is surprising how often I go into a home and it is just not very clean. The windows are dirty, the counters are stained and the carpet is a mess. This absolutely impacts the emotional experience a person has when they view your home! Having a professional get your home really clean before you list it may seem like a waste of money, but the return on investment in both time on market and increased interest is well worth it.