When selling their home, many people if not most, think their home is just perfect the way it is. It is set up just right and they can’t imagine why someone else wouldn’t want it exactly as it is. The problem is, it is set up for them, not the Buyer.
This is one main reason why some homes go unsold and remain on the market for a long time while others sell quickly. Too much clutter and personalization is the biggest problem but outdated décor and fixtures is another.
Fortunately there is a solution. Start by taking a long, honest look at your home. Easier said than done. Making some of these small changes could have you seeing the SOLD sign sooner rather than later.
- Start by looking at your home for the first time. Come up to the front door and ring the doorbell. Pretend you have never been there before and you are a Buyer coming to an Open House. When you walk in, what do you see. Oops, the Seller forgot to remove the 15 pairs of shoes in the front hall closet, which couldn’t fit another coat. The appliances are old and there are far too many personal pictures on the walls. As a Buyer, you want to imagine this as your house and that is hard to do looking at someone else’s kids. (OK, they really are your kids but you are into this pretending thing now.)
- So, it is time to get to work. Start by organizing bookshelves. Take half (or more) of what is on them and put it in boxes. You will need to do that anyway when you move so just get a head start and make the bookshelves look better in the process.
- Do the same thing with knick-knacks and pictures. Create some space to allow Buyers to see the home, not the stuff.
- The same principal applies to closets, bedroom, closets, linen closets and broom closets. They should look like there is room for everything, not look like things need to be crammed in.
- Clean sinks and toilets seems obvious but you would be surprised at what gets missed.
- People will open drawers and kitchen cabinets (you would, right?) so make sure they are tidy and de-cluttered as well.
- If you have a dog, clean up the backyard. A gift on the shoe of a Buyer is a bad way to make an impression.
- Clean the cages or living spaces of any other animals as well and make sure there are no odours. Stink don’t sell.
- And, when it comes to stink, there are good odours too. People will look, touch and smell. Try baking some cookies or cinnamon buns before an open house, if you have time.
- Fresh flowers in the entry will set an inviting tone. Even before that, be sure there are no advanced weeds ruining the look of that sidewalk you just cleaned.
- Look everywhere. Up, down, left, right. Change burnt out light bulbs, dust the cobwebs from the chandelier, clean the baseboards and cold air returns.
- Make sure that all the doors and windows operate correctly. Changing outdated door handles is a quick and easy fix. They a “touchy, feely” thing that people not only see but touch and use. A broken or poor quality handle is a turn off.
- Pick up the dirty clothes and empty the laundry basket.
- Don’t have dirty dishes in the sink, or the dishwasher. Buyers will open the dishwasher. The same is true for the oven and microwave. A quick fix for a dirty microwave is to boil a bowl of water in it for a minute or two, then wipe it out. Also, the fridge. Again, it should look like there is plenty of space, not crammed with too much stuff.
- Speaking of the fridge, remove the fridge art, notes, lists, calendars and magnets. Don’t have towels hanging from the door of the fridge or oven.
- Let the light shine in! Open the blinds and drapes. Oh, and be sure the windows are clean while you’re at it. There is nothing like natural light. However, you should also turn on all the lights.
- Make the beds, vacuum and dust. Duh!
Now, you're ready to sell and hang that SOLD sign!