Preparing Your Home To Show and Sell
One of the most important aspects of marketing
real estate is properly preparing the home for sale. There's nothing more frustrating than
seeing a home sell far below it's potential, simply because it wasn't ready to be shown.
In most cases, the market reaction to a home can be greatly improved with a minimal
investment of time and money. Nobody wants to sink money into a property that they will
soon be leaving, but in fact, the seller usually pays either way. Unfortunately, if you
decide not to make repairs, buyers will grossly overestimate the costs and deduct them
from their offer price. Pay now! Pay less! Let's take a look at the things you should
consider doing at your home to market it for a top dollar sale.
The first step you should take towards preparing your home for sale
is to personally conduct a thorough inspection of the property from top to bottom, inside
and out. This is the time to start seeing all those little things that you've decided not
to see over the months and years, in hopes that they'd just go away. They're not going to
go away by themselves. In fact, they'll come back to haunt you if you don't look after
Take a notepad with you and walk through the home, one room at a time. Carefully inspect
the property just as you might if you were thinking about buying it again. Ask yourself
these simple questions as you go.
How does the paint or wallpaper look in this room? Battered walls give buyers the
impression that the home is rough around the edges. There is not likely a better
investment that you can make than a fresh coat of paint on dirty or beat up walls. Yes,
the buyer might just repaint when they get there, but the better they look today, the more
you'll be paid.
Are the floor coverings clean and presentable? Dirty carpets are a big turn off for
homebuyers. You want potential buyers to feel at home. Don't make them feel afraid to
remove their shoes. Get the carpets professionally cleaned if they need attention.
Are the door and closet knobs tight? Spend a few minutes with your
screwdriver. We'll bet you'll find some loose door and closet knobs. Check the hardware on
the cupboards to.
Are the blinds clean, or do they look like there's something living on them? Is there guck
and dirt in the window track? How about the windows themselves? Is the furniture dusted?
Overall cleanliness is the most important factor in presenting the home well. Even people
that don't have the greatest habits when it comes to cleanliness are disgusted by the
thought of cleaning up someone else's dirt. Yech! If it's not clean when it's shown,
they'll naturally assume it will be dirty when they take possession. Look everywhere for
dirt, and get rid of it. Check behind the toilets and taps, under appliances, on the
furnace and water heater and on top of door and window casings. You know that fuzzy stuff
that's stuck to the fans and cold air returns. It's gotta go too!
Are the personal belongings kept neat and tidy? Yes, this matters to. Buyers tend
to view a home just the way it is and conclude as follows. "This is the way this home
is. If I buy this home, it will look this way when I live here to". Now, you and I
both know that that's not necessarily true, but if the buyer believes it's so, it's so!
Take some time to get your personal effects in order. Start packing now. Box up the things
that are just hanging around collecting dust and neatly stack them away in the storage
room. Organize closets and remove unused or out of season items to give the impression of
roominess. Can't move in a couple of those rooms? Try removing a piece of furniture or two
to create a more open spacious feeling.
Kitchens, Baths & Entryways
Pay particularly close attention to these rooms. These are the
places where dirt and disorder cause the greatest offense. Scrub those cupboards inside
and out (yes, people do look in there). Remove as much as you possibly can from counter
tops to show off just how much there is. Sure, you can keep the coffee maker and canisters
there, but do the electric frying pan, food processor, juice maker, bread maker, and all
that work you brought home, really have to be there. Oh by the way, see all that lovely
artwork that junior did that's proudly displayed on the front of the fridge? Can we just
put it away for a little while? Remember, we're trying to create as much order as possible
and eliminate as many potential distractions as we can. Entryways should also shine, as
this is the first area the buyer sees.
We've all heard the saying, "you don't get a second chance to
make a first impression." Spend some time preparing to make the buyer's initial
impression of your home positive and pleasing.
Is the siding and trim well maintained or is it blistering &
peeling? Is the doorbell working? Do the mailbox and house number look appealing or are
they rusted and weather worn? Again, a little paint, a twenty-dollar mailbox, and a
cheap doorbell can go a long way in improving the first impression that a buyer might have
of many homes.
Are the trees and shrubs out of control or neatly trimmed? Is the lawn cut and edged?
Does the driveway look like an oil field? If it's winter, has the snow been removed from
the drive and walkways? You'll want to pay some additional attention to your yard as
you market your home. Remember, buyers begin to scrutinize before they even get out of the
car. Keep your lawn well watered and cut. Don't have the time? Hire a professional yard
service to look after it for the short period of time that your home is on the market.
It'll be money well spent!
Garage & Tool Shed
Give the garage and tool shed a quick once over. Cleanliness is not
as important in these areas, but general tidiness is always a plus. Again, you'll probably
find that there's lots of stuff you can pack up now and get out of the way. Hey, speaking
of garages! Now might be the perfect time to host that big garage sale. You can get rid of
all that stuff you keep hauling from one house to the next and never using in between!
For a more suggestions on preparing your home for sale view our
Home Seller's Preparation