Any seller of any product in any market wants to create the most value for their product. It’s how capitalism works. Selling a home can be no different than selling a retail item you may find in a store, it just requires a little more work. Before one can even think about posting their home on the market, there are a number of things one must do to increase the value of their home in the eyes of a buyer and ways that the seller can make inexpensive and subtle changes that can make or break a sale.
Below is a list of things you should consider if you intend on selling your own home. Everything listed can be done in just a week to ten days and will make the difference in a successful closing or having your home sit for weeks or months without bites from potential buyers.
Selling a home can be an emotional decision. Many times, a person or family has spent a number of years or decades in a home and have had many of their most cherished memories occur within its walls. It’s imperative not to allow your emotions to affect the sale of your home. You have to see your home as an asset to be sold like any other asset. If you find yourself wavering on your decision to sell your home, think of all the great moments and memories you’ll have in your next home or see it as a new chapter in life.
It’s normal to have many personal items throughout your home, when you’re living in it, to make the home feel unique to you. When selling your home though, these personal touches should be packed away or removed before a potential buyer sees it. Family photos and other personal accentuations can be a distraction to the buyer. You want the buyer to be able to imagine their own personal items in the home you’re selling, not observing your own personal tastes.
Almost everyone saves an inordinate amount of stuff and has it stored in many places in their home, many of those places visible to a potential buyer. When you show your home for sale, you want it to be as clean and organized as possible. Little trinkets and house-ware lying around make the house less appealing to the potential buyer. The best way to avoid this is, for one, reduce the amount of stuff you already have. If you haven’t had a use for it in over a year, odds are you don’t need to store it anymore. For items that are used on a daily basis, store them in a drawer or any place that cannot be seen openly so it is still accessible but not lying around for when a buyer may look at the home. This also helps you pre-pack for the move you’ll be making once your home is sold.
When a potential buyer does come to see the home, they are going to want more than to walk in and out. Buyers love to inspect all kinds of areas of the home; after all, this is quite possibly the biggest purchasing decision of their life. They’re going to want to know everything about the home before they even consider making an offer. Because of this, they’ll want to look through closets and drawers to make mental notes of what the house has to offer. Make sure that every closet and drawer of the house is not only clean, but neat and organized. When a buyer sees this, it gives them the perception that you are a neat, clean, and organized person which makes it likely that you take care of things you own, including your home. To help give this effect, try arranging your food pantry, linen and clothes closets, kitchen cupboards, and other areas with aesthetics in mind. The better impression you give a buyer of your clean and organized lifestyle, the greater chance the buyer will feel comfortable with purchasing a home you’ve lived in.
Homes always look better to a potential buyer when they are less full of excessive furniture. It’s ok to leave some furniture to give the buyer an idea of what a room’s purpose is, but a house full of furniture and tables makes rooms appear smaller and less spacious. Any piece of furniture that makes a walkway less accessible or creates an illusion of less space should be stored in a rented storage unit or taken to another location. You want the potential buyer to have as much room to walk around and inspect your home as possible.
As a homeowner, a person will typically add things to the look of their home to give it a better or unique look. Though you may think that leaving items like these may help you sell your home because they make the home look more appealing than with the original, for example a custom set of window drapes or a chandelier in the dining room, it may actually deter your deal. If you show the home with these items and the buyer sees and wants the item with the home and you have to tell them that the item is going with you, it can be a deal breaker. If they had never seen the item, they may have still bought the house without its existence in the home.
As ridiculous as it may seem, a buyer that comes into your home and finds absolutely everything about the home to be perfect may become immediately turned off of the home by the smallest of damages. For example, if a tile is cracked, replace it. Other minor things that can turn off buyers and are easy fixes are leaky faucets, doors that don’t close properly, drawers that jam, burnt out light-bulbs, and even small nicks on the walls. Be sure to take care of all these things before showing your home. Also, if your home is painted in very bright or custom colors like pink, purple, or orange, consider repainting to more neutral colors. Don’t give a potential buyer any reason to give your home less value in their mind.
This step is a continuation of the last step to fix any minor repairs. Some things may not necessarily be damaged but can use fixing or replacing. Many of these things do not take much time or money and can make a difference of thousands of dollars in your bottom line with the sale of the house. Things as simple as using window cleaner on windows and mirrors, pressure washing exteriors, re-caulking tubs and sinks, polishing faucet heads, cleaning out the refrigerator, waxing and vacuuming floors, bleaching dirty grout, hanging fresh towels, and deodorizing smelly closets can improve your chances of a sale and increase the price of the final sale.
Once you’ve completed all of the aforementioned steps, go outside and walk into your home with a sense of unfamiliarity. Take a look at it like you’re seeing it for the first time. Does the house look appealing to you? Scrutinize every aspect of the home. If you can be your own worst critic then no potential buyer should be able to walk into your home and criticize its appeal. Try to remove the “yeah, but” factor. Try to arrange your home where it has the most valuable appeal and gives buyers no reason to remove value in their mind. The more you can think like the potential buyer and try to cater to what it is they will be looking for in your home in terms of value, the faster you will sell your home and at a higher price.
When purchasing a used car, no matter how well the car runs, how reliable it is, or how well it performs, no buyer will even give it a test drive if the exterior of the car is unappealing. The same is true for homes. If when the buyer pulls up to your home there are exterior blemishes on the home that turn off the buyer, they may never make it out of their car to see how wonderful the inside is. Be sure and have the lawn mowed often and sidewalks edged. If there are paint cracks on window edges, have them repainted and also consider planting some colorful flowers.
The idea is to create as much visible value in your home as possible and doing little things like planting flowers for your potential buyer to enjoy puts them into a good mood. Buyers are many times more likely to make a purchase when they are in a light and colorful mood. These little tasks that can help induce that mood can pay major dividends for you when your home is sold faster and at a higher price.
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