The infamous "honey do list". It haunts us all. Whether you created one for your partner or for yourself, the list can get long and seem overwhelming. The fact is, when selling your home, there are things on that list that need to be checked off if you want to get the most return on your home in the least amount of time. You rarely hear sellers stating they want their house sitting on the market for months on end and hope they don't make a profit!
There are quick, and not so expensive things you can do to your home BEFORE it hits the market. While ultimately it's the buyers who determine the value of your house, consider these things to help make your house shine above the rest.
We Can Only Make One First Impression: The very first impression buyers are going to have of your house starts at the curb. It's not called curb appeal for nothing! You don't have to be a master gardener to find success, but what you do need is to clean the outside of your home. Power wash anything and everything that you can: the entire house (front and back), walkway, front porch, driveway, garage, fencing and outdoor furniture. Remove cobwebs, hanging debris and bugs from exterior lights. Make sure there are matching and working lightbulbs in all exterior fixtures. Remove screens and store them. Wash all exterior windows. Touch up paint where needed. If you have shrubs and trees, trim them. If you have bed of flowers, refresh them with some colorful annuals, clean out the weeds and add mulch. A few large outdoor planters with annual flowers also adds color and can be placed by the front door. Make sure your welcome mat is actually welcoming. Put away toys and any unnecessary yard items. If you have pets, make sure their outdoor messes are also cleaned up. Remember when you were buying a home? What first impression did some of those houses have on you? You want to make sure buyers want to walk in instead of walk away.
Squeaky Clean: Your house can never be too clean when taking it to market. When buyers walk through a house, the level of cleanliness equates to how much your house has been loved and taken care of. Wash the baseboards, dust the ceiling fan blades, remove dead bugs from inside the light fixtures, scrub the tubs and showers, make the faucets and sinks shine, sweep, mop and vacuum floors, wipe down the fronts of all cabinets, dust bookshelves and any items on them. Wash the inside of the windows and polish your mirrors.
It's Nothing Personal: You want buyers to "see" themselves living in your home. You want them to imagine family dinners, sitting on a sofa curled up reading a book or taking a relaxing bath. In order to allow their imaginations to run wild, you need to remove all your personal things so buyers can insert their own. Family pictures get hidden away, along with any politically or religiously leaning items. You can put all those beloved mementos out in your new home.
Less Is More: Buyers will always find things they don't like about your house. You want to showcase the positives. What do people want the most in a home? Storage. It's one thing that you can control. Think of this as "pre-packing". Box up anything you can live without for the next 2-3 months and put it in your garage (if budget is not an issue, you can rent a small off-site storage container). Which items can you pack away? Seasonal clothes, shoes and accessories. Pair down your towels, linens, and blankets. In the kitchen, pack away anything you don't use often, including half your dishes, glassware, pots, pans and utensils. Now is a great time to go through your pantry throwing out expired items. Pack away knick-knacks and most books. In the end, you want your home to show the buyers there is room for their stuff, so the less you have out, the more potential they can see.
Increase The Flow: You might love your sofa and chairs with your coffee table, two side tables and area rug. You might also boast that your dining table can sit 10 people. What you need to consider is how buyers will be moving through your house. A large dining area needs only 4-6 chairs to create more visual space to move around in. Remove extra pieces from every room whether it be a bookcase, unnecessary end table, oversized plants or display units. Most area and throw rugs cut off spaces instead of creating an open feeling. Remember, buyers are NOT looking at your furniture, they are trying to imagine where theirs will fit. Leave them some breathing space to do that.
All The World's A Stage: Hiring a professional stager is a great investment. Stagers can stage entire vacant homes or recommend ways to stage your lived-in space. They have a keen eye of what current buyers want and don't want and will provide a personalized checklist for you once they come and do the consultation. When needed, they can even provide a few items to an occupied home to bring it to the next selling level. Your house is auditioning to be the star in the new buyer's life, so let your home shine!