A Little Work Before Marketing Your Home Will Pay Big Dividends
Of course you expect high offers when you sell your home. You can increase the chances of getting higher and better offers with a little work before putting your home on the market. Start by getting someone who sells homes as a profession involved early. Your REALTOR can give you advice as to what is important (and what is not) to improve the appeal of your home to buyers that will result in the best offer possible in the shortest time with the most favorable terms and conditions.
Get Repairs Done First. You may look past cracks in the walls and the rattles in the radiators, but buyers won’t. If you have hardwood floors that need refinishing or carpet that needs to be replace, get it done. It will cost you less than buyers think it will cost them to do it, which will be reflected in their offer. Buyers like to snoop around, so be sure to fix any sticky doors or drawers as well. Finally, don’t forget to address any issues with the exterior—fences, shingles, sidewalks, etc. After all, without curb appeal, some buyers may never get to see the inside. Don’t wait for the inspection to identify what needs to be fixed, by that time, you have already lost potential buyers or buyers have assumed the house has not been well maintained.
Neutralize and de-personalize. You want buyers to see themselves in your home. If your living room has lime green shag, wood-paneled walls, and all your collectibles and personal photographs, this will be much harder for them to do. Try replacing any bold color choices in your floors and walls with something more neutral—beiges, grays, tans, and whites. Repainting and reflooring will make everything look fresh and new, and help prospective buyers imagine all the possibilities.
Stage your home like a Model Home. Once your house is clean and updated, it’s time to play dress up. Home stagers can add small details and décor touches that will bring out the possibilities in the various spaces in your home: lamps, mirrors, throw rugs and pillows, flowers, decorative soaps and towels, patio furniture. Home staging can be particularly useful if your home is especially old or if the exterior looks dated. Think of it as a little mascara and rouge—if it’s done right, you notice the beauty, not the makeup.
Don’t “Sell” the house like you “Live” in the house. Keep in mind that once your home is listed for sale, it is always being evaluated by buyers. You may need to show it with a few minutes notice. So, change the way you “Live” in the house to reflect that fact that you are “Selling” the house. Keep it in a condition to show at a moment’s notice. Make sure your kids understand this concept and are committed to keeping their rooms ready for showings.