HOUSE OR HOME
DE-PERSONALIZING THE HOUSE
FIXING UP THE INTERIOR
FIXING UP THE EXTERIOR
House or Home
When you talk with an agent out buying you will find they use the word home, yet when talking with them about selling they use the work house. the reason is because they are trying to take emotion out of the equation. Once you decide to sell your home you need to see it as a marketable product. The point is to get the buyer to see your house as their home. If you don't see the importance of this and take steps to "de-personalize" it, you may find it takes longer to sell it, because buyers have a hard time putting themselves into a home that is obviously yours.
De-personalize the House
You want buyers to view your house as their home. When a buyer sees your family photos everywhere, it makes it hard for them to visualize themselves in the home. You are moving anyway so pack up those personal items and put them away.
Removing clutter is hard because we like our stuff, after all we put those items there for a reason. After several years of living in the same house, most of the time we don't even see the clutter, so let take a look at your home from a buyers point of view and let your agent help you see the clutter that has collected on shelves, counter tops, drawers, closets, garages, attics, and basements and try not to be defensive about it.
The best place to start is your kitchen, first, get everything off the counters, even the toaster. Find a place where you can store the appliances and daily used items in cabinets and drawers. Then, just for the time your home is on the market make a habit of getting them out and putting them away as you use them. This may mean you need to pack a few things out of your cabinets that you don't use very often to make room. Buyers will open your cabinets and drawers, especially in the kitchen. They need to know if things will fit, if your cabinets are full and crowded then it tell them their things won't fit either. You want it to look like there is plenty of storage space and the best way to do that it to pack it up as much as possible. Go through every cabinet, drawer especially your pantry, put up items rarely used to create open space. Don't forget under the sink, this is also very important.
Closets are famous for collecting clutter, sometimes we don't see it but those extra clothes and shoes stack up and you rarely wear them. Put these items in a box and pack them away, because they can make your closets look crammed full.
Furniture can be clutter too, sometimes we have too much furniture in a room, you may use the furniture but it can give a buyer the impression that there is not enough room in the space for their own furniture. Your agent can also help you with deciding what should stay and what should go. Storage Area Clutter The biggest areas collection clutter are often garages, attics, and sheds. They are also good for collecting junk. These areas need to be as empty as possible so that buyers can see all the space they have available for their "junk", you should remove anything that is not needed regularly and take it to a storage facility with the rest of your "clutter." Better yet, have a garage sale.
Fixing Up the House Interior
Plumbing and Fixtures
A simple thing to do is to make sure sink fixtures look shiny and new. If they don't look new after a cleaning, buy new ones. You don't have to buy something fancy, just something simple can be purchased inexpensively and they are pretty easy to install yourself. Just make sure the knobs are easy to turn and the faucets do not leak. If they leak, replace the washers it also pretty simple. Another thing is to make sure your water pressure is good and there are no stains on any of the sink basins.
Ceilings, Walls and Painting
Check your ceilings for water stains, sometimes older leaks leave stains even after the leak as been repaired. If you ave a leak, you will need to get it repaired as well, whether it is a plumbing problem or a roof leak. Do the same for the walls, look for not only stains, but also places where dirt has built up and you just haven't noticed. Updating to current colors schemes can be your best investment when trying to sell your home. It's not very expensive and often you can do it yourself. Don't choose colors based on your own taste, but based on what would appeal to the buyers. Your agent can help you with this as well.
Carpet and Flooring
Most of the time carpet just needs a good cleaning. If it appears old and worn, or it is an outdated style or color you should probably replace it, if you do replace it you should do it so with something inexpensive in a pretty neutral color. Make sure to repair or replace broken floor tiles, you don't need to spend a lot of money since you are not fixing up the place for yourself. Remember you are just simply trying to have as few negative impressions on a prospective buyer as possible.
Windows and Doors
Check your windows, make sure they open and close easily. If not, sometimes a spray of WD40 can help. Make sure there are no cracked or broken windowpanes, if there are, it's best to replace them before you begin showing your home. The same thing applies to doors – make sure they open and close as they should and with no creaking. Again, WD40 on the hinges usually takes the creak out. Be sure the doorknobs turn easily, and that they are shiny and new looking. It's all about creating a good impression.
If you smoke, you need to minimize smoking indoors while your home is on the market. Traditional air fresheners just mask the odor, but you can purchase an ozone spray that helps to remove odors without masking it. Pets create odors that you have likely become used to, but are immediately noticeable to buyer with sensitive noses. If you have cats, be sure to empty kitty litter boxes daily and sprinkle with a product in the litter that helps to control odor. If you have larger dogs, keep the dog outdoors as much as possible and whether you have large or small dogs, sprinkle a carpet freshener on the carpet periodically.
Costs of Repairs
Don't do anything expensive, like remodeling. Try to use savings to pay for any repairs and improvements – try not to charge up credit cards or get loans to get your home ready, remember that part of selling is also preparing to buy your next home so you don't want to do anything that will affect your credit scores or hinder you from qualifying for your next mortgage.
Fixing Up Outside the House
The exterior of the home is also critical. A buyer’s first impression is based on their her view of the house from the car. Take a good look at your house from across the street through a buyer's eyes, see how it compares to others on your street.
Your landscaping needs to be at least average for the neighborhood. If it's not, buy some flowers and plant them. Don't worry about trees, but rather bushes, flowers and mulch. These should be mature bushes and blooming flowers, not seeds because they take time to grow, the change should be instant. Your lawn should be cut, edged, watered, and have no brown spots. The lawn should be looked at and fixed before working on the inside of your home, because it will need time to "heal."
To paint or not to paint, that is the question. If it looks tired and faded, the answer is likely yes. It is usually a very good investment and really makes a difference in the appearance of a house, and can add dollars to offers from potential buyers. Another thing, if you know your house has a leaky roof, replace it. You have to disclose the condition of your roof to the buyer anyway and often times their inspection will reveal it. In some cases, their new insurance carrier will request and inspection and accept or decline coverage based on it's condition.
The Back Yard
The back yard is a big deciding factor for buyers, it should be tidy. If you have a pool or spa, make sure it is freshly maintained and cleaned at all times. If you have dogs, be sure to keep the area clear of "debris."
The Front Door & Entryway
The front door is an important first impression and should be in great condition it is the entryway to the home. Polish the door fixture so it is shiny and new looking. If the door needs refinishing or repainting, make sure to do that right away. Remove anything that personalizes it, like a plaque with your family name on it the also applies to the mailbox. You should get a new door mat, too. Remember you can take it with you when you move. Make sure the lock works smoothly and the key fits properly. Agents use the key from the lock box to unlock the door. If there is trouble working the lock it is very noticeable while everyone else stands around waiting to enter the home, this can most definitely be a negative first impression to prospective buyers.