Use these 10 tips to get your home ready to wow buyers
The secret formula for getting the most money for your house is to get it ready to sell. A few minor touch-ups can make a big difference in creating a favorable impression with prospective buyers.
The thing is, when more buyers become interested in the property, you have higher chances of selling the property for the most money. However, getting there will require careful planning and preparation.
Here is a list of twelve things you need to do to prepare your house to sell:
- Clean the home
- Organize the closets and drawers
- De-personalize and tidy up the house
- Understand that you’re moving away
- Make minor repairs
- Repaint the wall with a neutral color
- Give the bathrooms a spa feeling
- Give each room a purpose
- Improve the curb appeal
- Stage the home
Clean the home
Your realtor may offer a complimentary professional cleaning company to clean your home free of charge to you; if that’s the case, take advantage of the offer, or hire a professional cleaner yourself, the important thing is to make sure you are presenting a clean home.
Start with the bathrooms, clean the showers, the faucets, and clean the windows, around the house; do not hide stuff in the closets or crawl spaces; open and spacious storage room is something that buyers find particularly attractive as it makes the area seem bigger than it is.
Do a sniff test: It’s natural to get used to a smell we are familiar with.
A couple of years ago I went to the zoo, the gorillas’ section smelled extremely bad but I stayed around for a few minutes trying to understand what they were doing. To my surprise, after a few minutes of being there, I realized the area no longer smelled that bad to me. Why?
Because my sense of smell had adjusted to the new norm.
The same thing happens in our homes; we adjust to the smell or the scent of our own homes, especially if you own a pet. Even though you might think your home smells just fine, other people might not agree.
So you should invite over a family member or a neighbor, and ask them if your home has a certain smell. Chances are their feedback will surprise you.
Organize closets and drawers.
Sellers tend to forget this factor but it is an important one. Closets that are crowded and messy give the appearance of being small and unappealing. During the home viewing, buyers will open the closets and might even wonder what brands you like while taking a peak.
The thing is, when buyers like a house, they look up to the sellers – they want your home and your lifestyle; and when a buyer sees everything organized down to the last detail, it shows that you take care of what you own, including the house.
So in the kitchen, make sure the cabinets are not overstocked with jars, dishes, or cutleries; turn coffee cups and mugs so that all the handles face the same way. In your closets line up shoes neatly, and show only your newest, most appealing garment.
And if you wonder why doing those things is important, know that selling a house is not just about the home, but also about the way each room is presented. If buyers see messy closets and drawers it will influence their perception of the rest of the house.
De-personalize and tidy up the house
Depersonalizing the home is a process where you (the seller) remove from the home personal items such as family pictures, and you neutralize the home décor from what you like to what would appeal to most buyers.
The main reason for depersonalizing and decluttering is to allow buyers the opportunity to view the home as something that could be theirs; that doesn’t mean putting away everything you own. The idea is to leave just enough items to demonstrate a purpose for each room, without causing distraction.
Tidy up the house
You should consider moving out unessential items to outside storage; your real estate agent may be able to assist with this part. To wow buyers, you’ll need to give a good impression, and to do that, the home must show neat and tidy.
From the bedroom closets to the washroom, the kitchen cabinets, the living room, and the basement remove all items that are not essential; the goal is to make each space appear larger.
You don’t need to make the home cold, or impersonal – buyers do want to feel a home is loved and comfortable.
Show off your storage space
Buyers love extra storage spaces; so it is work creating storage spaces such as closing in under-stair areas or the crawl space, or the garage. Carving out some storage space will help keep clutter out, but you will have to make sure the area is easily accessible and well organized.
Pro tip: Ask your local estate agents for their opinions but don’t be surprised if they’re hesitant in giving them to you – the risk to offend is high here!
Understand that you are moving away
The moment you decide to sell, you should realize that your home will be the next property you move to. The house you’re selling is an asset from which you have to try to capture the highest value possible.
This is best achieved when you start by removing any personal or emotional bond that you may have with the home and instead focus taking the necessary steps that will help you sell the property for top dollars.
What sort of repairs and renovations should you focus on to get the most for your money?
Here is an example that will help you understand what I mean:
In 2013 I owned a spacious back-split 4 level house. The previous owner had converted one of the bedrooms in the lower level to an entertainment room; this room was about five steps below the main living room and had high ceiling wood beams and the décor gave it a luxury appeal the entire house.
Everyone who saw that entertainment room loved it, but most buyers wouldn’t necessarily pay more money for it. I converted the entertainment room to an additional bedroom so that I could advertise the house as a four-bedroom house instead of a three-bedroom house.
That meant that my house would go into a higher price bracket because of the additional bedroom. Even though I loved the entertainment room I had realized that to extract the highest value potential, I had to forget about my emotional attachments and think about what I needed to do to capture the highest value for the home.
Make repairs where necessary – Is it worth it?
Making repairs allows you to protect your investment. Some sellers wonder, “Why do I need to make repairs to my house when I’m moving out?” When buyers find something needs fixing in the home, they will ask for a discount to the sale price, which would be a lot more in dollar value than what you would have spent if you fixed it.
After having lived in the home for some time, it is practically impossible for all things in the property to be in perfect condition. Kitchen cabinet drawers may jam, faucets could leak, tiled floors may crack, light bulbs may burn out and so much more.
But how do you find out what to fix and what wouldn’t make financial sense to spend money on?
Focus on the areas that improve the highest value. Here are the main areas you should focus on:
- Outdated walls or paint color – Repaint the interior walls.
- The plumbing – Few things through off buyers more than water leakage. Fix it.
- The roof – there should be no leakage of rainwater to the attic. Fix it
- The light fixtures – Make sure the home has enough light and all light fixtures work. Fix it.
- The appliances – A dirty stove and fridge are a big turn off for many buyers. Clean or buy new appliances.
- Rusted gutters – This would affect the exterior look and appeal of the property. Fix it.
- The curb appeal – First impressions matter. Cut the lawn, and make an inviting curb appeal.
Avoid sharp and vibrant colors like pink, bright blue, neon green, etc. The idea is to attract the highest number of interested buyers that are willing to make an offer.
Now before going ahead with repairs and renovation discuss each item with your real estate agent to make sure you are spending on the items that will improve the value of the home. If total renovations are higher than 5% of the home’s value, you should consider selling the property “as is” which means you sell the property in its’ current condition and it will be up to the buyer to make repairs at their own expense.
How to avoid wasting money on home repairs
The key is to do the small things that make the home look good such as cleaning, painting, and keeping a minimal amount of furniture. You should try to put yourself in the buyer’s shoes and ask yourself, would I buy this house in I were the buyer?
Some repairs are more important than others; the general guideline is unless the area is in total disrepair, it is unattractive or dirty, don’t bother spending any money if you don’t have to. But if you have to do the repairs it should be if doing so will increase the value of the home.
Repaint the walls with neutral light colors
There was a time when I wondered why realtors prefer light neutral colors – why not go with a more vibrant color that adds personality to the home? It’s because even though you might like one color, buyers might like a different color. It’s too risky so the best approach is to go neutral; that way you are appealing to all buyers.
Neutral colors make rooms appear more crisp, brighter and larger, especially if you use similar colors to paint the ceiling and walls.
Having the walls and ceiling painted with a neutral color will also give you more flexibility to decorate the home and bringing a stylish, comfy, and inviting appeal that will impress potential buyers.
That’s how you create the wow factor.
Give the bathroom a spa feeling
Homebuyers pay particular attention to the bathroom – It’s one of the most important areas of the home. So if you want to sell your home for top dollars, you’ll need to dress up the bathroom by giving it a spa feeling.
First, the walls and ceilings should have a neutral paint color such as white, light blue, light grey or beige to create a soothing, welcoming tone. Clean all areas thoroughly, if the showerhead is dated, change it and add calming scents like essential oils or scented soaps that invoke relaxation.
Make the bathroom free of any clutter, and add decorative touches like a bathmat, or coordinating towels bringing a feeling of luxury and comfort to your at-home spa.
Give each room a purpose
Imagine there is a couple (with two kids) in the market to buy a house, and they go to view two homes located in a trendy neighborhood. The first house is owned by a senior couple and the home has bedrooms. The first bedroom is filled with boxes as the owners are getting ready for the move. The couple wonders, is this the master bedroom?
The next bedroom was turned into a study room and a collection of books are displayed on an oversized bookshelf, and the third bedroom is empty. To add to the confusion, there is a sewing machine in the living room.
The second home the couple visits has been professionally staged with each room having adequate furniture.
Which house do you think the couple will likely buy?
Buyers find it hard to visualize the purpose of a room unless you present it to them. You want them to fall in love with the property; to do that you must showcase each room’s purpose.
Stage the home
Staged homes sell for about 6% more money than homes that are not staged; that’s a lot of money. Homes are staged to help buyers visualize how to use each space in the property and give it the wow factor that will leave a lasting impression which will propel buyers to want to make an offer right away.
Here are 7 reason why it makes sense to stage your home before it goes for sale:
- You’ll improve your chances of selling for more money
- It’ll help buyers see themselves living in the house
- Highlight the home’s best features while giving it a wow factor that buyers will remember.
- Each space in the house will appear larger than they are
- It gives the impression of a well-maintained home
- To put the house above the competition
- Buyers will get a favorable first impression
A staged home entices buyers with a ready-to-move-in home which will result in the home being sold faster and for more money.
Improve the Curb Appeal
Stand in front of the home and put yourself in the buyer’s shoes. Are you impressed with what you see? Do you feel compelled to take a peek inside?
If a home buyer is turned off by what they see in front of the house, that judgment will influence their view of the rest of the home. You can easily make the curb appeal more welcoming and inviting by doing small things such as the following:
- Add a pot of flowers on the front porch
- Trim the front lawn
- Upgrade the house number sign to a larger, more stylish one
- Fix any cracks on the front steps and
To sum it all up
The key to selling your home for the most money and in the shortest time is to prepare your house to sell. From the exterior to the interior, you have to give the impression this is a home that’s both loved and cared for.
The goal is to get as many buyers as possible to fall in love with the property so that they feel compelled to make an offer before someone else does. The steps we’ve shown in this article will help you achieve that.
Are you planning to buy a house?
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