By: Shannon Petrie
Give your home the “wow” factor it needs to impress potential buyers.
- Let go emotionally. The moment you put your house up for sale, it becomes a product, Barion says, so you have to train yourself to stop thinking about it as your home. “What I suggest sellers to start doing is calling it their property instead of their home,” she says.
- Identify the target audience. Think about what kind of neighborhood you live in. Is it young and hip and filled with first-time buyers, or is it mature and established with lots of families? It’s important to know what type of buyer you’re targeting so you can stage accordingly. For instance, if you live in a neighborhood that’s popular with first-time buyers and your home hasn’t been renovated since 1977, you’ll want to strip the wallpaper and remove the dated draperies to appeal to young buyers. If you live in an upscale neighborhood, buyers will expect certain high-end features and upgrades. Your real estate agent can help you determine what’s standard in your area.
- Determine what buyers want. Barion believes homebuyers are looking for three things: an emotional connection with the home, value for their money and move-in ready conditions. As you’re preparing your home, think about these factors, because you have a lot of control over them. For instance, a buyer will not be able to envision themselves living in your home if your family photos are plastered all over the walls, but you can easily fix that.
Flooring is an important update that sellers are often reluctant to make. Some sellers choose to offer a credit instead of replacing their flooring, but Chan says that’s not an effective strategy.
Even though it’s not actually a room, don’t overlook these areas. Sprucing up your yard and your home’s entrance is essential because it’s the first thing buyers see, so you need to impress them off the bat.
- Keep your lawn mowed and well-maintained. Consider hiring someone to take care of this for you while you’re dealing with the other details of selling.
- Plant some bright, colorful flowers.
- Replace a grungy, old welcome mat with a clean, new one.
- Give the front door a fresh coat of paint.
- Replace old, faded house numbers with new ones.
- Clean out your gutters and pressure wash your home’s siding. If your home’s exterior isn’t well-maintained, buyers will think you’ve slacked off throughout the rest of the house as well.
- Remove large furniture, like huge sectional sofas.
- Arrange furniture to create a focal point, perhaps around a fireplace or a large window.
- Don’t push your furniture all the way against the walls.
- If your sofa or chairs are not in great shape, disguise them with slipcovers or luxurious throws — a much cheaper option than buying brand new furniture.
- Remove magnets and photos off the refrigerator.
- Clear off your countertops, except for the essentials. “If you use your coffee machine every day, it’s OK to have it out on the counter, but you don’t want your countertops to be a display of every small appliance you own,” Chan says.
- Add stylish accessories, tying them together with a theme, Chan suggests. For instance, you could go with a pasta theme and decorate the space with an Italian cookbook, decorative bottles of oil and glass jars filled with colorful pasta.
- Use greenery to fill in empty corners and add color.
- Turn your master bedroom into a proper master bedroom: no extra beds for the kids, no workspaces, no everyday, nice-to-have things that don’t really belong in a bedroom.
- Cover your everyday bedding with luxurious bedding or a nice throw. You don’t have to spend a lot of money here — discount stores have plenty of inexpensive options that look high-end.
- If your mattresses are sitting on the floor, buy or rent bed frames to lift them up.
- Put away your everyday towels and replace them with new towels. Also add a new shower curtain and fresh, fancy soap.
- Hide toothbrushes and other toiletries in baskets or other storage containers. This keeps them easily accessible, but lets you stow them away quickly before an open house.
- Dress up the space with some candles or a silk flower arrangement.
- Add furniture — a bistro table and two chairs for a smaller area or a dining set for large yards.
- Stage it as a place for entertaining. Set out a tray with a pitcher of lemonade, or put out some coffee and bagels for a breakfast scene.
- Set out vases of fresh-cut flowers. They’ll make your home smell nice and add a splash of color.
- Let in the light. Buyers want a bright, open house, not a dark and dreary cave. Turn on all the lights and open all the curtains.
- Adjust the temperature. Keep the home comfortable — not too cold or too hot.
- Serve food and drinks. A cold glass of lemonade in the summer or some warm, freshly baked cookies in the winter will encourage buyers to stick around longer, giving them more time to check out your home.
- Safeguard your stuff. Stash valuables and prescription medications in a safe place.
- Leave! You’re probably proud of how fantastic your house looks right now, but don’t stick around to point this out to buyers. The last thing you want to do is make them feel uncomfortable. Spend the day out and about and let your perfectly prepped home sell itself!