A few basic elements can make the difference between a quick home sale and a frustrating ordeal. The expert offers his best tips.
Finish those minor repairs- Just about every homeowner has a “honey do” list that they never quite get to finishing. Now is the time you should complete that list and tie up those loose ends. You know, fix that leaky faucet, paint the trim, and patch those cracks. Things like these that you might have stopped noticing over time could be shouting "Deferred maintenance!" to every potential buyer.
Get Inspected- Prior to the sale of your home, get it inspected. Professional inspections can identify problems that could compromise a sale. If there are no major problems, the inspection can help calm those hesitant buyers. Having an inspection (report) can also show potential buyers that you have nothing to hide.
Pack up the clutter- Too much stuff will make a room look smaller and will focus a buyers' attention on your possessions rather than the home you're trying to sell. Less clutter also makes your rooms look bigger and shows off closet space. That's why many professional stagers recommend removing as much as a third of your things. "Since you're going to have to pack it up anyway, do it now!”
Depersonalize & Neutralize- Hide or pack away everything that says “you.” Like family photos, collections, bold decorating statements, etc. That means neutral shades, neutral walls... really, neutral colors throughout the house. Buyers have a hard enough time envisioning how their stuff will look on your walls. By neutralizing your decor, you can help give them the blank canvas they need to imagine your house as theirs.
Stage the rooms- Stand in the doorway to find each room's focal point, and use those focal points to your advantage! Move furniture around to highlight those areas… or even take something away that may be obstructing a view. For Example, the back of your sofa shouldn't block the view of the fireplace, and your treadmill shouldn’t be sharing space with your dining room table. By no means am I asking you to remove everything, but “rearrange” and “de-clutter”. For example, a wingback chair that's crowding the family room might help create a nice reading area in the master bedroom.
Clean- When I say clean, I mean clean! I’m talking about clean so good you could eat off the floor! You'll need to banish suspect smells as well. Some buyers are automatically turned off by pungent smells. You don't want your house to become known in real-estate circles as "the cat pee house." If your pets have had one too many accidents, you may need to replace the affected carpet and padding and have the underlying floor sealed.
Set the right price- In frenzied markets, sellers who put outrageous price tags on their homes sometimes are rewarded. As markets cool or become saturated, a too-high asking price can lead to a home being shunned by agents and buyers. A seller may think she's just testing the market, assuming buyers will at least make an offer, but buyers may assume she's unreasonable and move on. Your goal should be a fair price -- If you have any questions please contact Jake Lee
What about the floors?- Keeping them spotless won't help if they're dated, worn or impossibly stained. You shouldn't spend a fortune installing hardwood or tile since you're unlikely to recoup the cost. Look for compromises that can improve the home's appearance without busting your wallet. If the damage to a tile floor is limited, for instance, replacing a few tiles and re-grouting might do the trick. Carpets should be steam-cleaned to see if they're salvageable. If not, you may be able to reduce the costs of replacement by offering to do some of the work, such as removing the old carpet and moving furniture. Get rid of “scatter” rugs. Little rugs add to the visual clutter.
Kick up the curb appeal- By now, you probably realize the garden gnomes are a no-no. But you may not realize how many sales you're losing before potential buyers even get to the front door. Most people will start their search for a home on the Internet. If your house's Internet photo doesn't 'wow!' them, they might never call for a showing, that's why your front landscaping needs to be in perfect condition.