You love your home, and you should, but when it comes time to sell you need to share that love. In other words you need to showcase your home in such a way that the buyer can see themselves living there. Let’s explore some options that may help get buyers standing in line to place their bid.
Many sellers make the mistake simply thinking its about the area, square footage, number of bedrooms and the buyer can put their own touches to it. Partially true, mostly wrong. Buyers do want to add their personnel touch but they also don’t want to fix your issues and update your home (unless you’re pricing it that way).
Start with the basics and yes they should be basic:
- Mow yard, add flowers, pull weeds
- Stage your furniture so the room flows and shows the most room it can
- Stage each room for what it is. If you have an extra bedroom don’t make it the craft room or throw all room
- Clean carpet or replace if bad
- Make sure all the lights work
- Remove the bulk of personnel items
- Take care of that “honey do list” thats been hanging on the refrigerator for the last 6 months
- *Price it correctly the first time*
In this post we will touch on specific areas that really make a difference such as counter tops, light fixtures, bathroom mirrors, flooring and repairable items. However, there is one major concern when making improvements to keep in mind.
Functionality is the greatest concern cited by homeowners, according to the latest poll conducted by the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI).
“The functionality of a home is very important, especially over the long term, as many homeowners in this economy have opted for remodeling over moving to new homes,” says NARI National President Paul Zuch, CR, president of Capital Improvements.
Let’s start with flooring. As one of the most noticeable items in your home it should be clean. If you have carpet and its wrinkled up, dirty / stained, tore or just wore out you may be far better off replacing it rather than adjusting the price or adding a “carpet allowance”. Buyers tend to be drawn more towards homes they walk in and can see themselves moving right in. So unless you’re trying to draw the investors and house flippers out of the woodwork floor coverings are important. What buyers like – wood, tile, warm tone carpets.
Moving on to lights, often overlooked but you may be surprised what a difference they can make. Lights can also be a very inexpensive change to bring your home into today’s market. Nice looking fixtures for your porch light, bath, kitchen and bedrooms can be purchased at place like Menard’s, Home Depot and Lowe’s and typically can be installed in minutes by any handy person.
Lets talk about mirrors, yes mirrors. Many homes still have those big sheet mirrors in their bathrooms but have you ever considered a framed mirror? Newer homes usually have framed mirrors that add a real touch of warmth and texture to a room.
The driveway is not only a huge part of the curb appeal its also a major cost so if it looks warn out it hurts appeal and it also makes buyers think it needs repair. Try this, if you have a blacktop driveway wash it and reseal. Buckets of sealer run around $10 per bucket and a typical driveway takes about 8-12 buckets. If you have concrete rent a power washer and clean it. You may just be surprised how much this changes that curb appeal.
Appliances, are yours harvest gold? If you need them check out discount stores sometimes they have scratch and dent ones for half the cost and you don’t even see the imperfection.
Kitchen and baths. I saved the best for last. Kitchens and baths always have been the most sought after room for buyers and always will be. Buyers want baths that are updated and kitchens that not only function but as they heart of most homes they want one that is updated. Counter-tops are a big one, if your home is above $350/$400 Granite is almost a must in the Twin Cities market otherwise high quality Formica, Granite tiles, Silestone are all great options.
If you have a home you don’t want to or can’t afford to do any updates, don’t worry, that’s OK too. Just do the best you can with the yard curb appeal, keep it clean and fresh smelling, stage the rooms and “price it correctly” for the work it does need. If it needs work and your a 4bd, 2bth, 2,000 sq ft home you can not compete with the neighbors 4bd, 2bth, 2,000 sq ft home that doesn’t need work.
In closing think about this. We’ve all bought a vehicle. If you went to someones house to look at that car or truck you seen in the local paper and one headlight was burnt out, the muffler had a tiny hole in it that reminded you of your first car and the floor mats were missing so the carpet had a hole rubbed right through where your feet go how would you feel about that vehicle. Would you be more likely to think “this vehicle needs a bit of work and feels like it may not have been taken care of” or would you think “wow this car is perfect and is so nice I better get it right now before I loose the chance” be honest Homes are the same way, clean – bright – good repair – priced right = sold.
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