Most folks used to be content with a nice slice of yellow cake on a special occasion. Now people want elaborately flavored and decorated cupcakes every day of the week.
Some home buyers have also seen one too many cupcake shows on HGTV and think more about the sprinkles than is good for them. But even these buyers may not be willing to pay for for everything they say they want.
An over-improved house -- if over-priced to match -- can be harder to sell than the more modest home. Very few buyers will pay for extravagant personal choices that the previous owner made.
So what do buyers really want when they are choosing a home?
1) Buyers want a deal: only a few buyers say "steal" a house but they do want to know that they are getting the most value for the money.
2) Buyers want a clean house. Not just a tidied-up house, but a house with clean baseboards, windows, siding, refrigerator and cabinets. Clean carpets are essential, no one needs to know you got a new puppy last year.
3) Buyers want a house with a neutral palette to make it easy for to imagine their unique decorating plans.
4) Buyers want current light fixtures and hardware. Light fixtures are essential to showing how nice a room can look -- or not. Buyers prefer brushed nickle, stainless or bronze finish hardware.
5) Buyers want updated kitchens and baths. You may not be able to completely remodel your kitchen, but some freshening up can make a big difference.
6) Buyers want a garage that looks big enough for their cars. A 2 car garage needs to look large enough to hold 2 cars, not 1 car and piles of stuff. Rent a storage locker for excess.
7) Buyers want rooms that look like their intended purpose. A dining room needs to look like it's for eating and entertaining, not a sports locker or data center.
8) Buyers want a house with reasonable energy costs. While most buyers in our area won't pay substantially more for "green" and "energy efficient" improvements, they do want to know what it will cost to heat and cool the house.
9) Buyers want a house that fits their stage of life and activities. Don't be discouraged if your house isn't a perfect fit for all buyers but you should market aggressively to your target.
10) Buyers want a place to make their own. Make your home into a house that the next owner can easily envision himself living in.
If you are thinking of selling a home in St. Charles, Geneva, Batavia, Wayne, Elburn or South Elgin, I would be happy to show you what you need to do to make your house sellable in this market. Give me a call at (630)945-7935 and we can arrange a visit.