There is a retail saying “The eye buys.” The meaning is that the product may be the best on the market – good quality, the right price – but if the buyer doesn’t “like” it, they won’t purchase the item. On the flip side, the product might not be the best quality or might be priced a bit higher than another similar product; however, the buyer will purchase the item that appeals to them.
A prudent house seller should keep this expression in mind when they are selling their house. Curb appeal can not be stressed enough. It can be surprising what a few touch ups can do to make a house more attractive to potential buyers.
On the outside, a few simple tasks can be performed to make it look better. A little paint here or there, a weeded flower bed, even a mowed lawn all make the house look better. Maybe prune some overgrown bushes. I’m not saying perform an entire landscaping overhaul – just a few simple gardening activities to make the house look like the yard is loved and maintained.
Some outside tasks may not be quite as simple as mowing the lawn. Maybe a deck needs a new coat of paint or a few boards replaced. Maybe a sidewalk is cracked and needs repairing. Or the whole house might need painting.
A final thought on the outside: It is as important on the outside as the inside to “de-personalize” the area. If there are lawn ornaments or unique lawn furniture used and loved by the current owner, it would probably be beneficial to remove the items while the house is listed on the market. Not all people have the same tastes or likes in yard décor.
On the inside, it is especially important to “de-personalize”. All of the treasured family photographs on the tables, dressers or walls should be removed. (it’s a great time to pack and store them in anticipation of moving.) If a wall has contained many cherished pictures, then there may be fade marks left when the pictures are removed. If possible, a quick coat of paint would improve the wall appearance. Likewise, too many knick-knacks should be packed up and stored, also.
If a room has a specific personalized color that doesn’t have universal appeal, it might be the time to repaint the wall with a more neutral color. Depending on the budget, the whole house might need to be refreshed with paint.
Floor coverings are also a big “eye” feature. If the carpets (or vinyl flooring) are not a neutral color and the budget allows, perhaps new floorings would enhance the house appearance. The seller might also consider providing for a carpe/flooring allowance. This can be a tricky decision. If the flooring colors are highly personalized, the potential buyers may not be able to see past the colors. At this time, if the budget allows, it might be best to put in new flooring before the house is listed.
If the sellers are living in the house while it is listed on the market, the least that potential sellers should do is maintain the house in a neat and tidy appearance. Pick up old newspapers and magazines; dirty laundry or dishes; or excess toys. While buyers know that the house may be inhabited, they don’t necessarily want to see the personal items of the sellers.
If the house is vacant, consider staging the house. Staging is placing items in the house to give it appeal. Remember “the eye buys”.
If you are a potential seller, remember that a good real estate agent will be able to help you enhance the appearance of your home based on the budget you have. Many home “appearance” improvements can be performed for a minimal cost, including staging.
Depending on the activities that are needed to improve the appearance (or safety such as a cracked walkway), the seller should consider whether to perform the repairs before listing the house, lower the asking price to consider the items, or be willing to negotiate some repairs during the offer and acceptance process. A combination of all three may also be a possibility. Again, a good real estate agent can provide insights to help the seller make a good decision.
Prepared by Nancy Van Pelt
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