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What can I do to help my home sell?

By: Executive Real Estate

Homeowners: What can I do to help my home sell?

Because first impressions are the most important, every home seller should ask themselves “What can I do to help my home sell?”.

Your Real Estate Agent can market your home above and beyond the call of duty, but the truth is if your house is unappealing, then this will prevent potential home buyers from submitting offers or not even wanting to see your home. This is where you, as a home seller, can move into action and prepare your home for optimal showcasing on the Real Estate market!

The goal is to entice buyers into seeing your home. The key is to clean, depersonalize, stage and upgrade/repair your home.

If you’re plan to buy another home, then try to pinpoint key areas of improvement. Note any aspects that repulse you from seeing homes. Then make sure to remove any of those unpleasant aspects from your home before or shortly after it goes onto the market.

Also, if your Realtor has scheduled a professional photographer to photograph the home, then following these steps before the photoshoot will showcase your house in the best condition. Remember, these photos will be seen by every potential home buyer and Realtor currently searching for homes. Photographs are the most important aspect in selling a home. There are many reports which show that professional photos have helped in selling homes quickly and for top dollar. If you’re not using a professional photographer, it’s still important to tidy up the house before anyone photographs the home.

Clutter; letting go of the past

It’s time to exorcise your home of those old ghosts and start casting out those clingy spirits from the past. Removing clutter from your house is one of the most important steps in showcasing your home. Clutter makes a house look smaller and wards off potential home buyers from viewing your home. When buyers see that your house is jam-packed with all your stuff, this leaves them with the impression that it’s not large enough for all of their stuff. The goal is to give home buyers the impression that your home is spacious.

Since you’re planning on selling and eventually moving, now would be a great time to start packing. Ask yourself, “What can I currently live without?”. Then start packing or purging the majority of items you haven’t recently used.

For example, you can toss that outdated issue of PC World circa 1998 straight into the trashcan. Old clothes you haven’t worn since high school can go too. If you find it hard to throw out old clothing, maybe donating to relatives or charity might make it easier to part with. If you feel that throwing away items is wasteful, then consider having a tag sale -therefore you can at least profit from parting with these items.  Empty at least half of your clothes closets.

If you really must hang onto items consider renting a storage unit or another place to store your stuff until you sell your home. Depending on how heavy or how much stuff you have, you can use industrial strength garbage bags or cardboard boxes to properly organize and store your extra items. You can save money by going to department stores and asking the receiving area for their unwanted cardboard boxes. I prefer the 20+ gallon plastic storage tote containers with snap-on lids. They provide better protection as well as support for their contents. These can be purchased relatively cheap at stores like Target and Home Depot.

Professional home stagers will go as far as to removing almost half of a home’s furnishings. Arrange the remaining furniture away from the walls to allow the room to breath and open the home to an illusion of having more space.

Eliminate your home’s personality

Depersonalize your home. This means taking down all the family photos, anything hung on the fridge, personal memorabilia, removing any stuffed or mounted animals (yes, dead animals can be creepy to some), family keepsakes, and any other personalized items.

The more personalize stuff the buyers see in your home the less they can imagine themselves living there. The goal is to make it easier for them to envision living in your home. Go back to the step above and remove at least a forth, or at least a third of your stuff.

They call me the cleaner

If you’ve been putting off giving your home a top-to-bottom cleaning, now would be a good time to roll up those sleeves and get to it.

Wash the windows, wipe the toothpaste residue from bathroom mirrors, clean kitchen appliances (such as the refrigerator and stove), sweep, vacuum and mop the floors, and dust or wipe any ledges or clearly visible surfaces throughout the home. All dirty or discarded items of clothing strewn on the floor should be collected, washed and then properly placed into the dresser, closet or clothes hamper.

Eliminate any trace of mold from the bathroom shower/tub, sink faucet & drain, in-between the tile, and also from the shower curtains. Any sign of mold in the home will send those buyers running straight into the arms of another seller.

If you have carpets, consider renting a hot water carpet steamer from your local hardware store (or Home Depot) and give that carpet a good hot washing.

 

Don’t forget that paint can go a long way in freshening up a home. A few coats of paint can give a home that new, clean feeling.

If your house is huge or you’re strapped for time, then the most important rooms to clean are the bathrooms and kitchen.

Pets can be a problem

Pets can give people the impression that your home is not clean. If you have any pets you may consider removing any trace of them from the home. Some buyers will be completely turned-off if they walk into a house and see a bowl of dog food, smell a cat litter box, tufts of animal hair stuck to the furniture, or even if your home smells like a wet dog.

Over time your nose may have become immune to the smell of your pets, so you might have to invite over your most brutally honest friend smell your home. Depending on their answer, it might be time to revisit the prior step above and give your home a deep cleaning.

Upgrades and repairs

If your home’s value isn’t where you want it to be, consider upgrading or repairing your home to increase its value.

Be wary that major upgrades may not even net the cost of construction. So it’s best to only perform upgrades that will increase the value of your home. You want to at least break even with the final sale price.

Some home sellers hire their own home inspector to check the house for any trouble areas which may ultimately need to be repaired. This is not mandatory because the buyer will pay for a home inspector of their own before the final sale. This is done so the buyer is aware of the condition of the home, as well as being sure that they’re not purchasing a lemon.

Any discovered and serious issue(s) with the house can bring about many problems such as: altering the final sales contract or offer based upon the cost of these needed repairs, slow down the sale and move the closing date later than expected, and they could even demand that you fix the house out of pocket before the final closing. So advanced knowledge of your home’s condition can be helpful when deciding to put your house up for sale, but again, it’s not required.

Final thoughts…

It can be disconcerting when your home has little to no buyer activity. So it’s best when everyone, home seller and Realtor, does everything possible to showcase a home in it’s best condition. The most buyer activity occurs within the first few weeks when a home hits the market. Going through these steps early in the game will give your home an advantage over most others by being more than ready to viewed by the public eye.