Ok. You want to sell your home, right?
When you get into the mind of the person sitting with their computer, laptop or smartphone, thumbing through pictures, they are asking the question, "Can I see myself living in this home?" YOUR #1 JOB is to take away as many objections as possible that would result in them moving on to another property.
Everything you do to put your home in the best position ultimately shortens the days your home sits on the market! So, let's take a look what you can do to get ready!
PURGE, PURGE, PURGE! -- Before you put the sign in the front yard and jump into the competitive world of Real Estate Sales, go through your home and eliminate as MUCH as you can.
1. Pre-Pack: Go to your local hardware big box retailer and purchase boxes. Keep in mind that a mid sized box is easier to carry over the big bulky boxes. (Liquor stores have the best boxes...i'm just sayin'!) Start with anything that is not currently in season. Pack it up, Label it on the box and designate a stacking area in your home.
2. Pass it On: If it doesn't fit or you can't remember the last time you wore it...collect it and donate it to a local shelter. The Salvation Army, Helping Hands, Goodwill are all good organizations that look for consistent good donations.
3. Put Dough in your Pocket: Anything you have that is "valuable" and not being used (and it's not sentimental or an heirloom) Sell it! computers, laptops, mobile phones, furniture, machinery, school uniforms, bulk items, DVDs, textbooks, etc.
Mainstream Your Decor! -- Opinions are like belly buttons - everyone's got one! Decor is subjective. The moment you sign your name to a Listing Ageement your home doesn't belong to you anymore. OK. Yes, it still belongs to you in name, yet your goal should be for potential buyers to embrace your home as their new home! So much so, that an offer comes in! Studies show that current buyers are more likely to buy a turn-key home. A home that is ready! A home that is going to require the least amount of effort and time when moving.
1. Paint: Go online to a Real estate site (Trulia, Zillow or Realtor.com) and look at your competition. Look closely at the pictures and notice things that "pop" for you. Paint Colors, accent pillows, decor or lack thereof. Are there pictures that when you click on it you go, "WHOA!" If you flinch, buyers will flinch too. Now take a look at your home. Look at your color palette. Did you see any of your colors in the pictures? Do you see places where your paint is worn, marked or the wall is gouged? A little paint can go a LONG way in updating your home to what's current. Look at new construction. What colors and finishes are they using right now? Paint could bring your home forward 5-10 years and position you for the best offer possible! Isn't that worth it?
2. Pinterest: Please understand me. I. Love. Me. Some. Pinterest! With that said, Mary Poppins has a wonderful quote, "enough is as good as a feast!" I recently went into a home that was Pinterest gone WILD! A Collage is a great way to accent a wall...just not on every wall! Pick one focal point for each room and let the rest of the room breathe. People aren't concerned as much with your decorating as they are with whether their couch and bed are going to fit into this new space. Too much eye candy distracts the buyer from the reason for their visit...to BUY your house!
3. Put on those Yellow Gloves and Scrub: If you wonder if people are judging your home when they schedule a showing, You are EXACTLY RIGHT! Don't take that personal. They aren't judging you, in particular, rather the condition of the home. Here are some things I have witnessed as I have shown and listed homes in my area:
1. Exterior & Interior Doors that have one or more of the following: scratches, dents, BB gun marks, Poster covering the fistprint, dirt smears, other smears that I'm not qualified to diagnose, dust, crayon marks, sharpie marker (yep, that's at my house), hairspray coating on the interior of the bathroom doors,stickers, stickers and more stickers and did I mention dog scratches?
2. Walls - measles from stickers being taken off the wall, crayon, markers (again my house), holes, nailholes, gouges in the drywall, dirt, mud, spider webs.
3. Bathrooms -- mold, goo, hair, dusty fixtures, lipstick on the mirrors, stickers, ring around the tub & toilets, toothepaste and other goodies.
4. Kitchen - leaky faucets, yucky stove, microwave, magnet covered refridgerators, grease splatters, clutter on the cabinets, burn marks, goo, grundies between the stove and cabinet/frige and cabinetry.
5. Laundry Room - Lint, Lint Everywhere, detergent drips, clutter
6. Overall - Dusty Baseboards, Clogged Return Air Vent Screens, Vents in rooms, dirty carpets, dirty floors.
7. Outside - Curb. Appeal. A freshly manicured lawn, cleaned out flowerbeds, clean front door and swept off sidewalks help sell the sizzle when people drive up. If you have toys in the yard, stow them. If you have bushes that need a haircut, give them a trim. Clean your front door and entry way so it is free of any cobwebs, dried grass clippings or bugs. A brightly colored welcome mat could help too!
If you are industrious, I would suggest digging in and knocking the work out. There are also cleaning services that will literally go from Ceiling to Floors and everything inbetween. It is an investment, however they are seeing your home through fresh eyes and are less likely to miss something.
While this can seem daunting (I'm putting my home on the market soon and will use the same list) it is necessary in order to put your best foot forward with buyers. Assessing the brutal facts ahead of time and getting the work done will go a LONG way in driving traffic. Your photos (if taken by a professional) will shine and sparkle.
Go Forth and Be Spectacular!