Deciding to sell your home can be an emotional decision. Whether the move is due to a job change, a need to down-size or simply the desire to move to another part of the country, uprooting yourself and your family can feel overwhelming.
You may have loved your home for years and just can’t imagine that any potential buyer who walks through your door will be anything less than thrilled to pay top dollar for your splendid abode. But in reality, the hard truth is that you need to expect to give your home at least a modest face-lift before opening your door to a potential home buyer. Major renovations aren’t usually in order, but some basic cleaning and polishing will benefit you in the long run.
You may feel that the rose and lavender paint theme you’ve carried throughout every room of your house feels warm and inviting. Odds are, most buyers will cringe when they try to match your color palette with the earth tone hues of their furnishings and will move on to the next property on their list. You will do better to give your rooms a coat of paint in a more neutral shade that meets general taste preferences. Let the new owners change the walls to suit themselves after they move in.
Potential buyers know they are not buying a brand new home, but they still want to think they can move right into their newly purchased home without an enormous amount of cleaning and preparation. After you change the paint colors, get down to the business of deep cleaning. Polish the stainless steel appliances, clean the windows, wax the hardwood floors and have the carpets cleaned. Do whatever you can to eliminate any evidence that you ever lived there.
Don’t assume you can hide your clutter behind closed doors. Buyers are snoopers by nature. Go through your closets and discard whatever you no longer need to keep. After all, you don’t want to drag your unwanted stuff to your new address anyway. Get rid of it now. Consider renting a storage unit for stuff you will eventually use in your new home. Do whatever it takes to unclutter your home.
Look for minor fixes and deal with them now. Caulk the tub, seal any cracks, make sure drawers and windows are all in workable condition. Just because you put up with a squeaky hinge for the last five years doesn’t mean a buyer will overlook it. Also, review the Housefax Report for your home to stay on top of potential issues that could derail a sale, such as a missing building permit or a previous fire incident you didn’t know about.
Don’t stop with what you can see on the inside. Many buyers will drive right past a house with an un-mowed lawn, peeling paint on the front door or broken shutters on the windows. Keep your landscaping looking its best regardless of the season.
Don’t use your garage as a storage unit. Remove everything from the garage that isn’t a vehicle or part of an organized work bench and tool area. No one ever thinks their garage is big enough. Give yours every opportunity to feel spacious by removing as much as possible.
Consider hiring someone to stage your home for its best presentation. You may believe your furnishings are optimally placed, but you aren’t the one who needs convincing. Buyers like to imagine their own furnishings and lifestyle when they look at your rooms. A professional home stager can help convince a buyer that your home could easily be their home. And if your budget doesn’t allow it, try these DIY home staging tricks.
It is worth noting that getting an estimate of the home should be the first action item to carry out before any of the items listed. When doing so, do not rely on an estimate from Zillow or any other platforms as your sole source for determining your home’s value. Ask a real estate agent to provide you a comparative market analysis as soon as you make the decision to sell your home.
Selling a home is a major life event for most people. It takes some time and effort to pull it off without a hitch in the shortest time possible. The efforts you make upfront can go a long way to achieving the sale you want at the price you desire.
About the Author:
Charles Muotoh is the owner of dcrealestateguru.com, a full service real estate firm focused on leveraging digital marketing strategies to serve buyers and sellers of real estate in the Washington DC area.