CLEAN, REPAIR AND REPLACE
Whether you live in Boca Raton, Delray Beach, Palm Beach, or anywhere else getting your house ready to sell and STAGING it are NOT just about painting and moving furniture around. In Part 1 of this Home Staging Series I suggested that as soon as you decide to place your home on the market you have to look at it in a different light. You'll need to begin to think of your house as a product to be marketed in a very competitive field. Part 2 provided two exercises to help you see your house as buyers will see it: taking pictures of your house and downloading them to the computer and asking friends for their honest opinion.
In Step 3 the really hard work begins. This is when you'll :
1. Clean your house inside and out
2. Repair any items in your house that you've neglected
3. Replace what isn't working
4. Finish house projects.
Think about this: Buyers will view a dirty house with broken or missing items as a NEGLECTED house. If the items they can see aren't taken care of, what about the items that they can't see?
Remember the Spring Cleaning you've been putting off since you moved in? Multiply that by TEN! Vacuum in places you forgot existed. Move and lift everything. "Leave no stone unturned". Scrub as if you were trying to reach a gold mine. If you have carpet, have it cleaned. Same thing goes for upholstered furniture. These hold not only dust and pet hair but odors as well. In sunny South Florida, we pay a high price for our beautiful view of golf courses, canals, lakes, and palm trees. Your buyer will be looking for this as well so windows that give them only a hazy view need to be cleaned and cleaned often.
If you're not familiar with a pressure washer or know someone who is, then rent and/or hire someone. Take a good look at the walkway to your house. Is this how you want to "greet" Buyers as they approach? There may be stains from lawn chemicals and fertilizers, oil from your car, chemicals in your sprinkler system, whatever they are the stains will detract from the "welcome" you want to project to a buyer. Some homes in South Florida use well water with a high mineral content which leave a rusty stain. Check with your home improvement store to see how these are best removed.
As your are going from room to room cleaning in every corner, you'll want to make notes of what needs fixing. Unrepaired items are a signal to your buyer that this house has been neglected. Some items on your list are easy and take just a little time and tools. If you are not handy, consider hiring a service to go through and suggest and/or make the repairs necessary.
Notice the missing switch plate to the left of the closet door!
OUTSIDE: When you stand in the street and look at your house, can you see it? What do you see? It's easy to forget about the trees and bushes that line our driveways and sidewalks but make sure your house isn't being overshadowed by a bush that is covering your front door; or whose palm trees are in bad need of trimming.
The Bougainvillea plant to the left offers beautiful shade for this patio area but has become overgrown. Instead of enhancing this outdoor living area, it is detracting from it.
You'll want to replace plants that have become too leggy or have seen better days. Trim bushes, de-weed sidewalks and flowerbeds. Put fresh mulch in your flower beds.
FLOORING: Worn or stained carpeting, chipped or cracked tile, or faded hardwood floor boards all need to be addressed. Your buyer will be running a calculator in their heads trying to determine just how much replacing these will cost. Besides this figure, they will factor in the time and inconvenience of the project and before you know it, they've put a big NEGATIVE by your property. Offering the buyer a credit is almost a thing of the past. Present day buyers want a property in move-in condition.
PAINT: At the very least you will probably want to paint your house especially if you have not done so since you moved in and/or if you have colors that might not be in eveyone's color palette! When in doubt, go NEUTRAL! This does not mean bland white! Remember, what you're trying to do is appeal to as wide a range of Buyers as possible. One in 20 buyers may love a purple wall but what about the other 19!
AS A REVIEW: 1. START TO THINK OF YOUR HOUSE AS A PRODUCT FOR SALE
2. LEARN TO SEE YOUR HOUSE THROUGH THE EYES OF A BUYER
3. CLEAN, REPAIR OR REPLACE