If you plan to put your home on the market this year, it pays to do some prep work first. Here’s a guide to getting your home ready for that ‘For Sale’ sign.
Get a real estate agent. It can be tempting to try to sell a house yourself, especially in hot markets. Unfortunately, for-sale-by-owner transactions almost always lead to wasted money and time. A real estate transaction is a complicated process, which can get even more complex depending on the buyer. It’s best to have a qualified, experienced professional to help you get the best possible deal and avoid common pitfalls. With that said, be sure to thoroughly vet potential real estate agents to make sure you are dealing with a seasoned professional who will prioritize your home.
Assess your curb appeal. The vast majority of buyers will judge a book by its cover. Make sure your home gives off a good impression by honestly considering its curb appeal. Eliminate obvious flaws and look for ways to attract attention for all the right reasons. Simple additions such as colorful flowers and a freshly painted front door can help beckon buyers to come inside.
Declutter. While most buyers appreciate being able to imagine themselves living in a home, your property shouldn’t look too “lived in.” When it comes to piquing buyer interest, less is generally more. Get your house ready to show by cleaning window sills, counters, tables and any other visible areas. Donate unused items to a charity and rent a dumpster so you can throw away useless junk. You should also be sure to declutter closets, drawers and closets, so no part of the home will be off-limits to buyers.
Depersonalize. Again, it’s important to eliminate anything that will make it harder for buyers to imagine themselves and their families living in your home. Be sure to remove family photos and personal items, along with bold furniture and artwork that may not appeal to every buyer. Ideally, you should be creating a blank – but inviting – canvas on which buyers can project their distinctive visions of living there and loving it.
Recruit a third-party nose. Even the slightest odor can be a deal breaker. Unfortunately, our senses typically become immune to smells after a lengthy period of exposure. Make sure your home doesn’t have a distinctive odor by inviting an honest, unbiased person to sniff around in every room of the house. If you detect a pervasive smell, you will need to do some deep cleaning, using diluted vinegar which can help neutralize odors. Avoid “masking techniques” such as plug-in room deodorizers and candles which only temporarily cover smells.
Consider staging. There are a lot of little-known tips and tricks that can invigorate an ordinary-looking home. From new furnishings and colorful accents to lush plants and a perfectly chosen mirror, the right touches can dramatically enhance buyer interest. Consider seeking help from a staging professional, who can evaluate the current state of your home and determine the best, most cost-effective ways to raise the bar. They may recommend you purchase or rent a few items which could make your home stand out from similar inventory in your market.
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