Regularly homeowners ask me what they might do to help in the sale of their home. This could range from major updating to the bare minimum. Occasionally a homeowner will be upset with me. Even though I try to be gracious in my suggestions, some simply don’t want to hear the truth. But, as happened this summer, after the sale of her home, one was most appreciative for the suggestions I made.
Without spending a lot of money, there are seven recommendations that may help your home sell quicker, at a better price and be a smoother transaction experience.
1. You only get one chance to make a first impression; that’s how the saying goes, and it’s true for your house. Curb appeal is important; get rid of any unnecessary “stuff” in your yard, mow the grass, trim the scrubs, plant some flowers, put down a little mulch. Does anything need power washing? Does the deck need a fresh coat of stain or paint? Are the gutters clean? Any spider webs on the front porch? Look at the threshold of the front door — does it or the trim of the door need some paint?
2. Declutter. Get rid of clutter so your rooms will look bigger. This doesn’t mean rearrange clutter; no, remove it. You may have to put it in boxes and place in the garage or rent a storage facility, but get rid of it. The hundreds of toys or books or unopened mail, or whatever it is that you have grown used to, must go. After you’ve finished, maybe ask your realtor if there’s more you need to get rid of.
3. Clean, clean, clean. No one wants to buy a dirty house, and if it is dirty, then it may be suspected that you don’t have much pride of ownership, that and other things haven’t been kept up as well.
4. Paint. It’s amazing what a couple of weekends of painting can do to add some sparkle to your home; however, you can’t do an unprofessional job, or it may do more harm than good. I suggest using neutral colors that are popular, unless you pay a decorator who knows how to match more striking colors.
5. Remember, your personal tastes are just that, yours. You like the Pepto-Bismol pink walls in the bathroom, but others may not. Your teenager wants to keep all his walls black; probably not a good idea. If you want some family pictures and awards displayed, okay; but don’t have so many that buyers feel guilty for invading your private world. And the wallpaper you put up 10 years ago and just loved… well, the folks soon to walk through your home probably won’t like it at all.
6. Don’t be lazy. If it’s damaged, you probably need to fix it. Even though you’ve lived for years with no outlet cover on the light switch in the utility room, it’s time to splurge and buy one to cover it. People don’t usually like a fridge with an ice maker that doesn’t work. Your buyer is going to make personal changes to your home; most are prepared for that, but they don’t want a long “to do” list of repairs the day they move in.
7. Neutralize odors. Dogs, cats, sweaty workout clothes, kitchen grease and strong spice smells need to be neutralized. Sellers used to bake bread before showings; that would have made me a more willing buyer; you can find other inexpensive products to improve the home scents and maybe your home will make more “cents.”
7.5. Attitude. It doesn’t cost anything to get a good attitude. Please don’t say, “Well, if they don’t like (insert whatever here) they’ll just have to find another house.” Calm down; the goal is to sell your house, at a good price, with the least inconvenience to you; let’s try to play a little nicer, shall we?
There will be other things to consider; no two houses are the same. And there is pricing and other matters. But these seven and a half recommendations will go a long way to getting you started on what we hope will be a short journey to sell your home.