When deciding to sell your home, there are several steps you will need to take before you are ready to put a sign in the front yard.
One of the first steps is, of course, determining what the most likely selling price will be so that you know how to competitively price your home. Often times your REALTOR will help you determine a “value range”. Rather than being an exact number, there will be a range that your home is likely to fall within, say from $227,000 to $235,000.
So, how can you make sure that your home sells for closer to the $235,000 price?
This is where preparation is key! Most of us have busy lives, and if you’ve lived in your home for longer than a couple of months, you’ve probably accumulated some things. Pictures, knick-knacks, mementos, sporting equipment, clothes, books, art work… All of these things can add greatly to the appeal of your home, or they can detract from it. As my good friend Bruce likes to say “If you’re not the prettiest girl on the block, you might not get asked to the dance.” (It’s a bit crass, I know, but it makes the point, don’t you think?)
The problem is that it can be very difficult to “see” your own stuff. Case in point: several years ago, my daughter’s friend came over for the afternoon. It was the first time she had been to our house. I gave the girls a snack at one point, and the sat down at the kitchen table to eat it. Looking at the pictures in the room, with large eyes, she asked “Are all of those pictures you?” It made me see my “decor” through new eyes, and I realized I had a bit of a shrine to my daughter going….
This is probably fine if you are living there, but not if you are trying to sell your home. Buyers want to be able to see themselves living there with their family photos on the wall, and their child’s artwork on the refrigerator.
Having a neutral third party who is trained to see your home through the eyes of a buyer and advise you on changes to make can mean the difference between selling your house in 15 days for top price instead of 99 days after a couple of price reductions.
Some of the suggestions my home stager has made in the past have included:
- Repainting. That high gloss red is beautiful in your family room. To you. To a buyer, it looks like something that will need to be repainted, and a color that bright won’t go away easily, will it? I have heard this come out of buyer’s mouths, and it can sometimes mean the difference between buying your property and the one down the street.
- Remove everything from the refrigerator doors. School papers, artwork, calendars, and all of those adorable magnets you’ve collected will have to go into a box to be displayed in your next home. Buyers see this collection as “messy” and distracting. You want them to focus on your gorgeous countertops, not on your grocery list!
- Clean out those closets! You may end up removing about half of the clothing and stuff from each of your closets, but the inconvenience of boxing up and storing it will pay you back in spades. A stuffed closet makes buyers think there is no closet space, and everyone wants lots of closet space!
There are many small tweaks that can mean less time on market and more money at the closing table. One of the best pieces of advice my stager gives is to think of the home you are selling like it’s a hotel. When you check into a room, the last thing you want to think about is the other people who have stayed there…. When you sell your home, it is the same concept. Buyers want to feel like they are having a fresh experience in a clean home that doesn’t need a bunch of work, and they are willing to pay more for a home in the best condition.