So it’s time to sell your property and you have the welcome mat out — but, are you really ready? We were once in a real estate market where it seemed like all you needed was a sign and the buyers were knocking the door down but that’s just not the case today. Today you need to market the home correctly and marketing is not just a color ad in the local paper. Consider the following five things you must do to sell your property.
Step 1: Prepare The House:
Most people think, “call the Realtor and toss a for sale sign in the yard”, but that’s simply not the correct way and by correct, I mean it is not the way that’s going to get you the most money. Look at it this way, you need to sell your car but you just got back from a 2 week road trip with you, your spouse and the 3 lovely kids who of course would never eat fast food and spill pop all over the back seat right? Now do you simply park the car out front in the driveway with a for sale sign OR do you wash it, wax it, change the oil and vacuum up the interior? You clean it of course and your home is no different.
Step 2: Pretend You’re the Buyer:
This is actually a tough one and may require the help of a friend who is brutally honest. Go to the street turn around and look at your property through the buyer’s eyes, walk up to the property and go inside all while being the buyer. This step is crucial because if done with an open mind will allow you to see what the buyer sees. When we look at our own homes we see the kids memories, our memories, our holidays spent there and all the upgrades we did to make it ours — the buyer sees condition, curb appeal or lack there of, number of beds and baths, square footage and work it may need. If you can see it as a buyer would and not as your emotions do this will put you miles above the competition because you can address the issues now and not let them be tested on a buyer you will lose to another home for sale in the neighborhood.
Step 3: Tackle That “Honey-Do” List:
We all have them, the dreaded to do list, you know…paint the front door; fix the squeak on the stair and so on. By this time you have completed step one and two so combine that with your honey do list already stuck to the refrigerator and get these items done so your home does not become the one known as “the dirty house” or “the one that needed x” home. We go out with home buyers all the time and trust me; they label homes with such terms.
Step 4: Declutter & Stage:
Declutter and stage does NOT mean strip the home of all personal items and paint the walls white. A home that shows well will feel comfortable and warm but not overwhelming. You want to show as much floor, wall and ceiling as possible but you also need to ensure the home does not feel cold so it’s a fine line. Look at it this way, you should have furniture in each room as the room was designed — in other words your spare bedroom should not be the home office if possible so stage it for its intended purpose. The best color for the walls is not white but its also not teal blue or bright yellow, neutral warm colors are typically best. Here are some simple tips to get you going on the right path:
- Add fresh welcome mats at the door and entry way
- Keep some nice fresh flowers with color on the kitchen table
- Stage each room for its intended use — so a bedroom should be a bedroom and not an office
- Freshen up the paint to warm neutral colors
- Add some color with use of towels and small nick knacks in areas like bathrooms
- Replace that shower curtain with a new one
- Add fresh mulch around the house
- Stain the deck so its fresh and stage your patio furniture out nicely (if in season)
- Remove all the pictures, homework papers and magnets from the door of the refrigerator
- Clean, clean and clean
- Do NOT overwhelm the house with things I like to call “smelly cover up’s” these are items like fragrance plug ins, candles and so on — they only make buyers wonder what smell you’re trying to mask
Step 5: Ready To Show The World:
The headline says it all. Many sellers prepare the home but then when it’s on want to do things like not allow showings for 24 to 48 hours after being requested or not allowing showings on weekends. This is not a good idea UNLESS its really necessary. Now I am not suggesting letting buyers run all over you and request showings and expect you to be out in 10 minutes; however, more often than not you will have several hours notice and you really don’t want to tell buyers “no” in this market. You did all the work above to prepare your home so make sure you are ready and have it available.