You've decided to sell your home. How long will it take? Will you get your asking price? What if you find a new home before your current one sells and you're stuck with two mortgages? These are some of the thoughts that may keep you up at night. But what if you could follow a 10 step plan to put all the odds in your favor? You can!
You only have about 15 seconds to make a good first impression. It’s true when meeting people and it’s true when selling your home. Your front yard and home's exterior set the tone so trim the hedges, cut the grass, remove the clutter and add some color!
Don’t be afraid to invest a little money in fixing and replacing the basics. Remember that it takes money to make money, so before you put the sign on your lawn take time to clean up, fix up, and prepare for your first potential buyer. If you spend wisely on the right improvements, you will be rewarded with a higher sales price and a quick turnaround.
The house is your product, not your furnishings and décor. Simplify each room so that the buyer sees the great features your home has to offer, not the family photos, your favorite collections, or anything that might offend, such as an overabundance of religious icons, or your fully stocked bar.
Nothing is more distracting than clutter. It will make the space feel small and claustrophobic. Buyers want to feel expansiveness and perceive ample space for their own belongings. This applies to your closets too.
Make it Shine
Wash the windows, remove spider webs, polish the wood, scrub the grout, clean the chandelier and create a spotless kitchen and bath area. It’s simple to do, costs practically nothing, and is one of the best selling points you can create for your home. It shows you care and will give the impression that the rest of your home has been well maintained.
Bring in Light
A dark home can be a depressing place. Maximize natural light from windows by removing heavy draperies and window coverings, or at the very least, open them up when showing your home. If the view outside is not ideal, either fix or downplay it in some way. You can’t hide the offending space forever.
In addition to allowing natural light to shine in, create mood areas with accent lighting, and add task lighting to work areas. Avoid exclusive use of ceiling lights. They can cast shadows and detract from other features.
The potential home buyer doesn’t want a carpet or paint allowance. They want a home that is move-in ready. If your walls are dark green, purple, red or another bold color, repaint them in a neutral tone. Remove dated or busy wallpaper.
If you own pets, have young children, or your carpeting is several years old, please replace it. Spills, pet odors, worn areas and grime are all big turnoffs. Your investment will be well worth it. If that’s not possible, hire a professional carpet cleaner. Remember, your home is selling in a competitive market. There may be several others available in your price range, so make yours the one that creates a bidding war.
Accentuate the Positives
In every home there is something that makes it special. It could be the crown moldings, a beautiful fireplace, built-in bookshelves, or an open, spacious floor plan.
You may possess beautiful views from the windows, ample storage, or a garage workshop. Sometimes it’s just the fact that you live in a well kept neighborhood, a favorable school district, or on a golf course, that appeals to potential buyers.
Remember what attracted you to the home in the first place, or ask your realtor about your home’s unique selling points. Even a fixer upper can be seen as an asset to a first time home buyer.
Downplay the Negatives
On the flip side, virtually every home has a problem or two that detracts from its desirability. You may have grown accustomed to them or no longer notice them. Take the time to identify the challenges and ask a professional about possible remedies.
Consult With Your Realtor
Because you’ve chosen your real estate agent carefully, and he or she is an expert at home selling, listen to their advice, and work with them as a trusted partner in the sale of your home.
Before you spend a bundle on home improvements, be sure the changes you plan to make are cost effective and don’t end up overpricing your home in comparison to others in your neighborhood and market. Certain improvements are more desirable than others in the eyes of home buyers, so don’t waste money on changes that produce low-returns.
Welcome The Buyer
It’s Showtime! Your house is on the market and is no longer your private space. When the lockbox is attached to the door and the sign appears on your lawn, it’s time to take on a new frame of mind. Your home has become a product.
If you’ve followed the suggestions of your realtor and implemented some of the strategies I’ve mentioned, all you have left to do is maintain cleanliness, keep it smelling fresh, well lit, and inviting. Be sure you leave the house when the showing takes place. Provide an open guest book in an obvious location so you can gauge the exposure you’re receiving.
Offer a flyer with a photograph and statistics about your home, a disclosure statement, and a list of repairs and recent improvements you’ve made. Anything you can do to make your home stand out and be memorable will set you apart from your competition.
Good luck! May your home sell quickly, at or above your asking price!
Copyright 2006. Nancy E. Peham. All rights reserved.
Nancy Peham, professional organizer and owner of Helping Hands Personal Services, a Dallas based company, works with her clients to create order, relieve stress and improve their lives. In addition to residential organizing Nancy stages homes for sale, is a speaker, writer, and frequent contributor to the media. Visit her website http://www.HelpingHandsPS.com and sign up for her free monthly newsletter.