You’ve decided to put your house up for sale and fear that yours may be just another house on the block with a sign out front. Don’t be discouraged by news that it’s a buyer’s market and that price alone dictates interest. Think of yourself as the official marketer of your home. “But I have a realtor,” you say. Yes, but your realtor is responsible for attracting would-be buyers to your door, while your role as home-stager is to attract would-be buyers to the closing table. Winter, spring, summer or fall, all you have to do is call on these five tips for selling your homeregardless of whether the temperature or housing market is fluctuating.
Remove and Repair: If the exterior of your home isn’t presentable and appealing, buyers won’t be interested in seeing the inside. Add a fresh coat of paint, inspect the roof, wash all windows and keep the lawn and shrubs manicured. Once you’ve tackled the outside, it’s critical that the inside of your home is spotless from any dirt, mildew, cobwebs, and any other unclean culprits. Not only the rooms but the details in the rooms should sparkle. The blades of ceiling fans should be dustless, mirrors should be free of fingerprints and rugs and towels should be freshened.
Minor repairs can be done without hurting your budget. Replace any cracked tiles, add caulking to showers and tubs and fix cabinets or drawers that don’t close properly. Over the years it may not have bothered you that the medicine cabinet didn’t close all the way, but visitors may see it as another item they have to pay for before they even move in.
Clutter: Get a head start on your own packing by reducing both furniture and belongings by putting them in storage. Strike a balance: rooms look larger with less furniture but keep some elements to showcase the purpose of the room. Organization is important and sends a subliminal message of cleanliness.
When visitors walk through your home, they will likely open closet doors and kitchen cabinets to evaluate the usage of space. Imagine the impression a potential buyer would have if they got hit in the head by a shoebox just by opening the bedroom closet door. Clothes should be on hangers, shoes should be lined up and plates and glassware should be organized and stacked. Eliminate distractions like your wall of framed comic books, because buyers shouldn’t be impressed with your hobby more than your home.
Decor: Neutral walls are universal. If you have a different color of paint in each room, the lack of fluidity can be overwhelming. When I was about 10 years old, I joined my parents on a weekend house hunt and came upon a home I was sure belonged to Rainbow Brite. Twenty years later, the house is still a bad memory of clashing pea green carpeting and violet walls. Consider painting your walls a neutral color and give buyers the opportunity to use their imagination.
Arrange your furniture in a way that complements each room and find ways to add comforting accents like a soft blanket draped over a chair or a simple photo frame. If there are light fixtures or certain appliances you plan on keeping, remove them before you open your house to potential buyers. What isn’t visible isn’t negotiable when it comes to items the buyer would like to keep in the home upon purchase. Instead, replace those items with a simple, inexpensive version that won’t leave a room looking incomplete.
Smell: In terms of aroma versus odor – make sure that aroma wins every time. If your house smells like last night’s fish dinner, wet dog or a cigarette ashtray, visitors will flee as soon as possible to the next stop on their home tour. Don’t be the house they label as the “smelly” one. Invest in an air purifier and add plug-in air fresheners into rooms that are usual suspects like the kitchen and bathroom. The right scents can resonate with visitors and allow them to use a sense other than sight to picture themselves in your home. Fragrances like home-baked cookies and fresh linen may provide comforting thoughts of baking or warm, freshly dried towels which can leave a lasting impression.
Temperature: Your house should be a comfortable temperature for the season. This factor is often overlooked yet is something that is felt immediately upon entering the home. If it’s winter, the climate should be warm and cozy, and in summer, it should be a cool retreat from the heat. In the spring and fall, find a comfortable temperature, whether that’s with a window cracked open or using ceiling fans to circulate airflow. When your house is an extreme temperature one way or the other, potential buyers will want to leave because they are uncomfortable in a place they are seeking contentment.
Selling your home in any season is possible as long as you create an inviting atmosphere in which house hunters can visualize their own belongings. To do this, you must view your home as a buyer, not as the owner and evaluate your home from the front porch looking in. If the exterior is appealing and the interior is welcoming, it won’t be long before you are shaking hands with the new owners of your old address.