BOB UPTON, Realtor®, CBR's Blog
No matter how you look at it, putting your home on the market is a life-changing experience!
Not only will it change your future circumstances, but it will have an impact on your day-to-day routine, right now.
If your home is actively being shown by real estate agents, there are a few things you may need to do on a regular basis to make the best possible impression on potential buyers:
Keep it clean: Ordinarily, most homeowners aren't inclined to thoroughly clean their house every day -- or "at a moment's notice." Very few people have the time or motivation to keep their home's immaculate on a constant basis; it's exhausting just thinking about it! However, when your house is being viewed by prospective buyers, cleanliness -- or the lack, thereof -- will be noticed. Although "old habits die hard," it may be necessary to enlist the help and cooperation of your children (and spouse) in keeping the house looking presentable at all times. While it's unrealistic to expect your home to look immaculate day after day, it might be necessary to establish some new rules and standards for your family to follow about picking up clothes, toys, snack wrappers, and food residues. If you can maintain a "semblance of order" on an ongoing basis, then it shouldn't be too difficult to prepare your home for the next showing. While you'll usually get at least 24-hours notice before a house showing is scheduled, there may be the occasional request for a same-day visit.
Appearances count: "Keeping up Appearances" is more than just a popular British sitcom; it's a necessary goal for anyone hoping to sell their home within a reasonable period of time. Doing your best to stage your home in an attractive, inviting way is a key ingredient to a successful home-selling strategy. Setting priorities for curb appeal will also help you put your best foot forward in a competitive real estate market. Although many aspects of home staging are based on common sense and simple home decorating principles, it's difficult to be objective when your family's home is involved. There's certainly a lot of credible information online concerning the benefits of reducing household clutter and leaning toward neutral paint colors, but you can also turn to your real estate agent for tips on enhancing your home's curb appeal, interior appearance, and overall marketability.
Unless the home you're selling is relatively new or completely updated, there are a lot of decisions to make about how much time, energy, and money should be spend on upgrades, repairs, and enhancements. While everyone's situation, budget, and timetable is different, it's usually necessary to correct issues that might be considered a glaring problem or a deal breaker. Sometimes those issues don't come to the forefront, however, until you get specific feedback from agents and prospective buyers.
Putting your house on the market is a lot like preparing to host a holiday party; you want to make the best possible impression on people without having to spend a small fortune in the process!
Assuming your home is not drastically outdated or in disrepair, there are a lot of simple things you can do to make it more appealing to visitors.
For a lot of reasons, the kitchen is one of the most important rooms of the house. The impression your kitchen makes on potential buyers can easily make or break your chances for a quick sale. Although everyone's looking for different features in a home, it will always be to your advantage to spend a little extra time sprucing up your kitchen.
While it may not be practical or affordable to give your kitchen a complete makeover, here are a few simple ideas for enhancing its overall appeal.
Lighting affects perception: As a home seller, one of your primary objectives is to create an environment that's comfortable, attractive, and relaxing. Lighting, both natural and artificial, can play a big role in how people perceive your home. If you're fortunate enough to have sunny weather on days when your house is being shown, it will be easier to present your kitchen and other rooms to their best advantage. By letting in a lot of natural sunlight, colors tend to be more vibrant and your home's mood will be a lot more positive. Turning on electrical lights can also help give your living space a more cheerful feeling.
Cleanliness is crucial: Although the "grunge factor" is something you want to avoid anywhere in your house, prospective buyers will pay special attention to the cleanliness of your kitchen and bathrooms. Thoroughly cleaning counter tops, floors, sinks, and appliances will go a long way toward making a positive impression. If you can use cleansers that have a mild, natural-smelling fragrance -- like citrus, for example -- then you won't risk turning people off with the overpowering smell of harsh chemicals or artificial scents.
Staging your kitchen: A few things you can do to make your kitchen look more inviting and memorable include adding touches like a vase of fresh flowers, a bowl of colorful fruit, and a green plant or two. Removing distracting clutter from counter tops, tables, and desks can also help give your kitchen a more organized, tidy, and spacious appearance.
If your refrigerator door is covered with outdated children's drawings, coupons, photographs, and other miscellaneous memorabilia, it might be worth your time to weed that out a little bit! Not only does it detract from the beauty of your kitchen, but it also makes it impossible to clean the door of your fridge. Another tip to keep in mind is that too many personal items on display make it more difficult for prospects to visualize living in your home -- which is the first step to winning them over as buyers.
If your house is currently on the market or you're preparing to put it up for sale, the secret of success lies in the lyrics of an old popular song called "Accentuate The Positive." Although it was originally published in 1944, the song has been resurfacing for years on television, in movies, and music recordings.
"Accentuating the positive and eliminating the negative" may seem like basic, old-fashioned advice, but when homeowners follow it, they increase their chances of selling their home faster and for the highest possible price.
Although your real estate agent will provide a ton of helpful advice on how to present your house in its best light, there are dozens of things you can start doing now to improve its marketability, curb appeal, and the positive response you get from real estate agents and buyers.
- Avoid or minimize any aspect of your home and property that gives the impression of neglect. That could include anything from peeling paint and cracked windows to overgrown bushes and weedy yards. Weeds growing out of cracks in walkways, driveways, and concrete flooring often looks the worst -- but weeds, in general, always detract from the appearance of a home for sale.
- Reduce or eliminate anything that might create a feeling of "unpleasantness" in the minds of prospects. In other words, if there's anything about your home that might cause buyers to cringe, frown, gasp, crinkle their nose (in displeasure) or shake their heads, then you probably need to take corrective action -- and fast! A prime example would be pet odors, stains, and loose fur, which can be major turnoffs for many people -- especially if they have allergies!
- If little or no interior painting has been done over the past five or ten years, there's a strong chance that your walls are faded, marred, and looking worse for the wear. A couple coats of neutral-colored paint can often infuse a more vibrant, updated appearance to those tired-looking rooms. Subtle, light colors -- although, not necessarily stark white -- are often advisable. The objective is to appeal to as many people as possible, without taking any decorating risks that might alienate anyone.
- Speaking of "harsh versus eye-pleasing," your home's lighting is another important thing to scrutinize when looking for cost-effective ways to increase the attractiveness, appeal, and marketability of your home.