I recently wrote a post, 5 Tips for Selling a Townhouse Quickly and For The Most $. It was well received, so I thought I would delve into some things that buyers look at a little differently in single family homes.
For the most part, buyers who are purchasing a detached home, are at least 2nd time home owners (there is an exception to every rule, but this is often the norm in Northern Virginia). They are a more well-versed on the expenses associated with owning a home. They are usually more in tune with what their lives are going to look like over the next 5-10 years. They have accumulated more stuff. They aren't necessarily as afraid of customizing a home. All of these characteristics make the preparation priorities a little different.
If you are selling a single family detached home, here are some things you should prioritize:
- Clean out your house! Make sure closets are accessible and neat. Make sure the garage looks like cars could park in it. Make sure storage spaces are well organized and navigable. Get rid of clutter and simplify the furniture. Buyers want to imagine living in a neat environment. They want to imagine that they will have more room for their stuff and that they will be better at organizing it if they buy your house. Allow them this fantasy.
- Replace at least SOME big ticket items: Many sellers call me to talk about selling when they are sick of maintaining their homes. Buyers of SFH don't want to buy a house that needs new windows, new siding, new roof, new gutters, new HVAC, new water heater, new garage doors, new kitchen, new bathrooms and new appliances. Make sure you have replaced at least some of these things--especially if they are at the end of their useful life.
- Make the front of the house beautiful: Make sure you have great curb appeal. Paint the trim and the door. Make sure you have flowers and a new welcome mat. Reseal the driveway. Make sure that your house looks inviting and warm. This is a relatively easy and inexpensive place to do a quick makeover.
- Update that kitchen: At this point in their buying life, buyers have started to realize that the majority of their time at home will be spent in the kitchen. Make sure it is inviting. If your cabinets are dated consider replacing them—or maybe painting them if they are wood. Update the counter tops. Make sure the appliances match. Change the hardware. If everyone in the neighborhood has replaced their kitchens, you should probably replace yours, too, or price accordingly.
- Stage for flexibility: People are looking for specific types of spaces when they buy a single family house. It might be an office, a playroom or an exercise room. If you have space that isn't being optimized and can set up some 'flex' space, it will allow buyers to imagine how them might live in your home. With so much teleworking, having a desk space can be an important selling feature.
Your house cannot be everything to everyone, but with some thought and planning, you can invest in the sale of your house so that you will see the greatest returns.
If you are considering a sale, I offer a free consultation to help you put together a selling plan.