A majority of buyers are unable to visualize changes, and often won't take a second glance at a house if it doesn't have the "Wow" factor. I can't tell you how many buyers have ruled out a home due to the lack of curb appeal, dated decor or the fact that they couldn't see the walls due to the amount of personal property. For those buyers who can visualize changes, and are prepared to make them, they will expect you to reduce the price of the house to compensate for the work they plan to do. So unless you are ok with selling your house for less, I would highly suggest you take the time to prepare your home to sparkle!
Below are just a few of our tips for getting your house ready to sell quickly and for the best value.
1. De-personalize. First of all you need to separate yourself emotionally from the home. When that sign goes in the yard you are letting everyone know that you are ready to move. You need to stage the home so potential buyers can visualize themselves in the home with their personal items. Pretend you’re moving out. Take all the things that make your home “your” personal sanctuary (e.g., family photos, religious décor and kitschy memorabilia), pack them up and put them in storage. Buyers want to visualize your house being their house – and it’s difficult for them to do that with all your personal items marking the territory as "Your Home". I can't tell you how many times my buyers have taken time to look at family pictures of homes that they are touring. That time should be spent critiquing the room size, layout and over all flow not commenting on how cute the kids are. Also, in todays world you need to be thinking about safety. Do you want pictures all over the internet of your child's room with their name on the wall and the address of your home? PACK IT UP!
2. Show off your kitchen. Kitchen counters should be cleared off as much as possible. Therefore, decorative items or kitchen appliance that are used occasionally should be placed in a panty or cupboard. Remove all magnets from your refrigerator and any dish towels. Also, try to make sure your kitchen doesn't dictate a theme. For example, if you have canisters that are a country blue or wall hanging that give it a strong county vibe. Please, take the time to clean your oven! I can't tell you how many dirty ovens I've seen over the years.
3. Meaningful Rooms. Your main rooms should not be multipurpose rooms. In other words the master bedroom is not an office or a workout room. Move furniture around to define the rooms in your house. If you need to have one catch all room that is ok as long as it's not one of the main rooms in the house.
4. First Impression is Critical. When a prospective buyer arrives you don't want them frowning at the lack of curb appeal. Make sure the grass is cut, walkways clean, fresh mulch in the flower beds. Keep in mind when the buyers agent is getting the key out of the lock box prospective buyers are analyzing your door & porch so make sure all cobwebs are removed and that the door is not fading or the paint is chipping. The "WOW" factor - within the first 30 seconds of the buyer walking into your home they need to be "Wowed". You want them excited to see more and talking as if they are going to buy the home. I've showed homes where the "Wow" factor is one of the last rooms the buyer sees. By that point, they don't care and are just wanting to move on to the next home. When in reality all the seller had to do was change some paint color, remove items and maybe rearrange furniture to capture the buyer from the start.
5. Pictures. Once you've done all of the above go around your home and take pictures. In the small window on your digital camera are you able to see details of the home or personal property? Keep in mind a majority of peoples first impression of your home will be on the internet so pictures are critical to selling your home.
6. A Quick Clean Up. Have at least one empty laundry basket that can be used to quickly place loose items in prior to a showing. Then stash it in your car or a closet.
Just give us a call and we will be happy to evaluate your home and share more of our tips for staging and successfully selling your home. - Rene Hauck / Steve Vaughn
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