For most of us, putting our homes on the real estate market changes our daily routine. Or, at least, it should. One way to help your house sell faster is to present it at its best. To get started prepping your house to sell, ask yourself one important question: What do I notice when I go to other people’s homes? Make a list. The next time you go out take the list with you and analyze your own home as if you were in the market to buy it. Here are some important points to notice:
1. Curb Appeal.
The next time you are returning from a trip to the grocery store or wherever your errand has taken you, drive up to your home slowly and notice it as if it were your first time seeing it. If you live on a corner lot, drive by all sides. What do you notice? Is the lawn nicely groomed? Take a look at the shrubs and flowerbeds—are they nicely trimmed and weed-free?
While many people include these in the curb appeal category, here they are broken out because they are so important that they deserve a category of their own. If you don’t normally enter by the front door, go around and enter your home as a guest (it’s most likely the way the realtor will bring potential buyers into your home). Are the steps and porch in good condition? Notice any painted areas—do they need repainting? It doesn’t matter if you just painted them last summer, freshly painted surfaces are appealing and send the message that the home is well cared for. If there’s room, some chairs (even if you have to borrow them) and potted plants add a homey feel to front porches. Also, get rid of that faded wreath on the door and replace it with a new one appropriate for the season.
After you enter your home, notice how it smells. Does it smell musty? Opening the windows can help freshen the air. Also, check carefully to see if you have mold hiding in bathrooms or other damp areas of the homes. If you have pets, be especially vigilant about keeping the pets clean and the litter box emptied. In addition, vacuum more often to keep up with the pet hair. While showing the home, try to arrange to put the pet in an out-of-the way area to help minimize the pet’s stress, as well as to allow the potential buyer as much access to the home as possible. In addition, avoid cooking foods like cabbage with strong odors. A good idea is to keep some pre-made cookie dough in the refrigerator. Pop a few cookies in the oven just before showings and leave them cooling on the counter, so your kitchen has a pleasant, homey aroma.
Keeping the clutter under control while living in your home and trying to sell it can be difficult. The mail arrives every day and with it comes circulars, magazines, and bills. Designate an out-of-the-way spot to corral it until you can deal with it rather than leaving it on the dining room table or kitchen counter. If you have lots of memorabilia sitting around, box up the unneeded items and place them in storage while your home is on the market. Also, rooms crowded with furniture can give the idea that the home is too small. If there are items that you don’t plan to take with you when you move, go ahead and sell them. If the items are going with you, move them to a storage building until you are ready to move.
Regardless of where you live, you need to take advantage of the best views from inside your home. Open curtains and blinds so that potential homebuyers can see the views. If the curtains and blinds are dirty, be sure to give them a good cleaning before putting your home on the market. Also, clean the windows and screens to make as much of available light as possible. If you have a nice window near a sitting area, place a bird bath or a potted plant as a focal point outside the window. Make sure to point out these views to the real estate agent.
A little attention to detail and preparation can make your home stand out from other properties on the market. Taking the time to present your home at its best will result in a quicker sale, plus you are more likely to get a better price for the home if it is move-in ready. It’s worth the effort to pay attention to the seemingly small things.