When you decide to sell your home you should immediately begin referring to it as a house. You’ve become emotionally attached to this place and it’s now time to say goodbye. Start detaching yourself by making some changes that will help you with the sale of the house.
You probably have accumulated a lot of clutter over the years. This must be the first step.
1. Unclutter your home. Start in the basement and either throw things out or rent a locker off premises to store it until you move but prospective buyers need to see what the house looks like behind all your stuff. This means going room to room and clearing everything out that makes it look junkie and disorganized.
2. Neutralize the personal nature of your home. You may love the native tapestry on the living room wall from Bora Bora but I’ll guarantee 95% of your prospects will have it on their mind when they leave your home and not in a good way. Knick knacks and generally all things that you’ve previously enjoyed should be stored away until after the sale, that includes grandma’s spoon collection that takes up half a wall in the kitchen. Replace these things with neutral items like picture frames or vase with a simple arrangement.
3. Minor cosmetic work. Once you remove the clutter you will see all the things that you’ve been meaning to get to over the years. Painting where necessary, new carpet/s, moldings repaired, cracked plaster and re-taping/ repairing drywall. When making these improvements think neutral colors for any coverings be it paint or carpets. If you have hardwood floors sand them and finish them. Area rugs can look amazing. Whatever you do, don’t over do it. Try and think like a buyer.
4. Hire a professional cleaner. Once you have the house cleared you should hire a professional cleaning crew to wash the walls, windows, work over the kitchen and bathrooms, clean the floors and shampoo all carpets that don’t need to be replaced. Your house should be spotless and kept this way for the duration.
5. Staging each room. If your rooms are smaller rearrange the furniture to make the room look bigger. For example removing some furniture is better than having too much cramped in. Set your furniture up in conversation pit style. Like a gourmet coffee house, make it cozy. Pull couches away from walls to give the appearance of depth. Remove wall clutter, one or two pictures but no more. Generally make it look inviting.
6. Kitchen and bathrooms. These are the most important rooms in your home to a buyer. Make sure they are impeccable. Plumbing fixtures should be working properly and look like new or they should be replaced. Use a good cleaner or even a metal polish to make them gleam. Showers and tubs need to be spotless! Sinks and vanities need to be pristine and uncluttered. Kitchen cupboards should be orderly, doors opening and closing properly, drawers the same. I can’t stress enough how important these two rooms are to your potential outcome.
7. Doors and windows. First thing prospects see when they walk in your home is a door. Make sure its painted or cleaned up and that it will open and close properly. This goes for screen doors as well. Often screen doors are a problem people let go. Not anymore. Windows should all be cleaned and be sure if someone wants to open them that they work properly. If they have been painted closed as is the case with some older homes, now is the time to get them to open. Do whatever it takes.
8. Garages and workshops. These are the second most important areas. Again remove all clutter from the garage and make it accessible so you can actually park your car in it! As for the workshop, try and organize it so the handy person prospect will appreciate what they can do with their “new shop” when they move in. It’s all about your prospect picturing themselves in your house.
9. Family effort. Everyone in your family needs to be on board with the presentation of the house. This means your kids need to buy into the project and keep their rooms tidy. Bribe them if you need to but everyone has to help maintain the appearance of the entire house.
10. Odors and pets. Wow, is this ever important. If you have pets only you really love them. When you walk into a house with dogs or cats you immediately smell them, especially if you don’t have your own. Keep litter boxes fresh and clean daily. Restrict your animals if at all possible to certain areas of the home until after the sale. Vinegar and water will do wonders when you clean their areas every other day until the sale is complete, and top it off with effective air fresheners wherever you need them. Vacuum often with carpet fresh powders two or 3 times a week.
This sounds like quite a bit of work and it is. Try and remember that by following these tips you could easily add five to ten thousand dollars to the sale price of your home, maybe more. A little elbow grease now will be a solid investment.
The Author is the President/CEO of www.realestatemate.com , www.homeheap.com and www.agentsmate.com . He has over 26 years experience in the real estate industry.
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