Getting Your Home Ready to Sell

When it is time to sell your home, it is time to think of it as a model home that appeals to as many people as possible rather than as a custom home made specifically for your unique tastes. Because professional stagers have experience in this work and are not emotionally attached to your belongings, they can quickly help you make the necessary changes.

Get rid of stuff. We all accumulate “stuff”, be it furniture, pictures, magazines, mementos or knickknacks. Because they enter our space, one day at a time, they grow unnoticed to us … but not to prospective buyers. Sooner or later these items will either wind up at the local landfill, a yard sale, a non-profit organization or carefully packed away for your next destination. Do it now and not only will you make your move easier, you will help your home sell faster! One stager advises that anything smaller than a cantaloupe needs to be packed or tossed away.

Depersonalize. You want your place to have style and personality without your personal items distracting the buyers from the interior features. They need to be able to picture their family in your home, not yours. A few pictures and a diploma on the wall is okay, but as a rule, remove the majority of pictures, trophies, degrees, awards and posters.

Clean, clean, clean. Above all else, the home must be clean. Many buyers believe that if the home is clean it must be well cared for. If you do not have time, hire a reputable cleaning service and schedule them for routine service during the listing period. Don’t forget the outside areas such as siding, decks, walkways and driveways where one power-washing session can make a huge difference.

Update old and deteriorating spaces. There is a point at which you must either do a total remodel or stay with very select makeover tasks. Paint, hardware and appliance replacement usually provide significant improvement without breaking your bank. Replacing old wall-coverings with neutral paint is a move from personal to universal taste. Replacing worn or faded carpet is also a smart move. A stager can help you decide which activities get the most bang for your bucks. If you decide to do an extensive remodel, get professional help, please.

Define spaces. Buyers don’t like to guess which rooms are used for what. Dining rooms need ceiling light fixtures to define them; sitting rooms are marked by comfy chairs with reading lamps; family rooms are set off with couches and TV. If a space could function in various ways, you might want to provide a designer’s sketch of the possibilities.

Address empty rooms. A vacant home can appear like an empty shell for buyers with little imagination. Most people can’t visualize beyond what’s in front of them, so a perfectly sized room can appear too small or too large for their furniture. One approach is to create a vignette to suggest how a room could look,or else go for the finished look by furnishing the daytime living areas with rented furniture. Most homes have less appeal when empty than when properly furnished, so often the money spent on staging can help attain a higher sale price.

Lighten spaces. Remove over bearing window treatment, paint walls one or two neutral (not bland) colors and have carpets professionally cleaned or even removed if attractive hardwoods are beneath. Low cost investments like a new light fixture, front door hardware or new bath sets can make major differences. Let in natural light, remove window screens, wash windows inside and out and accentuate views of garden, golf course, street scape, etc.

Organize closets. Unless your closets are less than 2/3’s filled, remove enough items to make them so. Neatly organize items or pack them away. All clothes closets can benefit from odor masking products whether you are selling your home or not. Remember that buyers will open closets to see if there’s enough room for all of their things. If they appear overloaded, they will remember your house as the one with the cramped storage space.

Curb and entrance appeal. Buyers’ first impressions begin at the edge of the driveway and continue until the front door is opened to the foyer. If the lawn is neatly mowed, beds mulched, shrubs trimmed, sidewalks and driveway clean, exterior freshly painted, gutters cleared, screens removed, windows washed and no mismatched roofing materials, they will be eager to come inside. The front stoop is critical in that the front door and lockset set expectations for the rest of the property.

Smart sellers will have a home inspection done so they can fix major problems before the showings begin. If you live in a condominium or townhome you might need to have your homeowner’s association repair items prior to the buyer’s home inspection.

Be model-ready. Agents and Buyers eliminate properties from their showing list while searching on their computer. Attractive photographs are essential in today’s market. Bring in the Landscape Service and stager before the professional photographer so the property is assured of being competitive on the monitor screen.

It’s no secret that buyers select their first choice by a process of elimination. They look for reasons to eliminate each house, and the last house standing gets the offer. If you don’t have time or even care to have this work done, lower your price by the amount you would be charged to have it done.

 By: Bob Jamieson, Broker in Charge