Our readers loved our article on Home Worth, so we decided to give you an in-depth, multi-part article with tips to help you sell your home (and fast!) Selling your home can be one of the most exciting, and also frustrating times in your adult life. Staging your home for sale can reduce the time it takes your home to sell, as well as increase it’s market value. Remember: as a seller you need to understand that the way we live in our home is not the way we sell a house. We want potential buyers to envision themselves in your home, not wonder what kind of people live there. A real estate expert can help you stage your home, but it’s also important to understand what they’re going to ask you to do to your home, and why.
Some of the very first things to consider are...
How much are you willing to spend to prepare your home for sale?
- It’s important to determine a budget before you start to prepare your home for sale. How much money are you willing to put into the home, and how do you want to allocate these funds? Sizing up the repairs/updates needed, as well as little things can help you draw up a budget. Which things require a professional, and which can you do yourself? Make a list of what needs to be done, budget it, and try to stick to it as closely as possible to avoid overspending.
What needs repairing, updating, or replacing?
- There are probably tons of things in your home that have becoming worn and used over the years, this is the time to update or replace them! If a buyer comes to see the house and spends the whole time counting up minor repairs they’ll need to do, it can hurt your chances of selling the house. Update your kitchen: installing granite countertops, new appliances, or new cabinets can be a great investment when trying to sell. If there are any major problems with the house (air conditioning, mold, plumbing) make sure you fix them before starting to show the house. Maybe even offer your buyer an allowance to make repairs after closing, so that they know they can trust you!
Inside, what objects and furniture can I let go of to de-clutter the space?
- Sellers should purge the house of all personal belongings, family photos, and countertop appliances. If you can, rearrange furniture to help the room appear larger. Buyers want as much space in a house as possible, and clutter tends to close spaces. Any collectables, clothing, shoes, and other personal belongings should be picked up each day before showing the house.
Neutralize the rooms, colors, and other spaces:
- We want buyers to envision themselves in our house when selling, remember? Not everyone enjoys the same colors as you, and not everyone has the same gender children as you… or children at all! Re-paint any walls that have unusual or bold colors a more neutral color like cream or tan. If rooms look gender-specific (pink or blue, for example) paint them a neutral color as well. Change overly bold curtains, sheets, carpets, and anything else that might turn a buyer off to your house.
Does my home SMELL inviting?
- Almost nothing turns a buyer off faster than a smelly house. Investing in a professional carpet cleaner or upholstery cleaner can help reduce odor in a house that pets, kids, and years of living can leave. If you are a smoker, make sure your house has been thoroughly deodorized; smokers and pet owners can be oblivious to objectionable odors so a second opinion might be necessary. In some circumstances replacing the carpet and padding might be necessary for heavily soiled floors. Also, be aware of what you cook when you know a buyer might be visiting soon. Cooking things that are inviting and pleasant might enhance your property: cookies, breads, or cinnamon rolls smell nice… just make sure you don’t burn them!
These first steps are very important when beginning to stage your house, but not even close to all that needs to be done. Check out Part II for more tips, such as things to look for when preparing the outside of your house.