So you’re thinking of selling? Now’s certainly a great time, and with buyers snapping up houses fast and furious, and sales prices up 12 percent in January! Think you don’t have to do much before you list, right?
Wrong. If you want top dollar for your house or condo, you need to create a love affair between your home and prospective buyers. Buyers may be eager, but they’ve still got options and you want to entice them.
We’ve talked to some of the very best Realtors in town to find out how they tell clients to prepare their listing, and created a handy infographic for you, too. So check out their home selling tips below!
1. CREATE CLASSIC CURB APPEAL
Dave Perry-Miller, owner of Dave Perry-Miller Real Estate, says curb appeal is like a first date.
“Would someone go on a first date with a stained shirt?” he asked. “Make your first impression one of excitement and fun anticipation!”
In fact, Perry-Miller says the front door should be the focus of your efforts.
“Start from the front door and move out from that. The further a buyer gets from the front door, the less impact,” he said. “If a buyer doesn’t like how a house looks when they drive up, it’s an uphill battle.”
Christy Berry, Executive Vice President at Briggs Freeman Sotheby’s International Realty, agrees.
“Drive-up appeal is crucial and first impressions are everything,” Berry said. “Be sure your landscaping is groomed and there is a pop of color. Remove the wreaths from the doors, too.”
Curb appeal gets buyers in the door, so even if you don’t have a lot of money to spend, make sure you get your front looking fresh and clean. Simple things, like power washing the driveway and sidewalk, replacing bulbs in outdoor fixtures, and repainting the front door can make a big impact.
“Have trees trimmed and the lawn manicured and free of weeds, and do landscape improvements, like fresh mulch in beds, seasonal color in beds or pots of flowers,” said Jacqui Bloomquist, Realtor and Marketing Specialist at Coldwell Banker, Apex. “Add sod in bare spots and keep your lawn watered and maintained at all times.”
For condo sellers, the common area needs the same level of attention.
“If you live in a condo, make sure the corridor to the unit is cleaned and refreshed before showings,” said Kyle Crews, a realtor with Allie Beth Allman & Associates Urban. “My Urban team knows I keep a bottle of diluted Fabuloso that I spray in condo corridors and in vacant units to eliminate odors.”
Jump to read more and see the infographic!
2. MAKE THE INTERIOR LIGHT AND BRIGHT
That deep red living room may be your very favorite thing, but to a buyer, it screams, “Another person lives here!”
Remove as much of your personal taste as possible by repainting and cleaning, which will help potential buyers more readily imagine themselves living there. Plus, it makes your home look bigger.
“Paint the walls light and bright,” said Berry. “Beige walls date a house today, so if in doubt, paint the walls white.”
Another thing our realtors said again and again: have your home professionally cleaned before you list.
“Invest in a detail clean by a professional, including windows, blinds, ceiling fans, cooktop, ovens, and carpets,” said Bloomquist. “Have any fogged windows replaced, if possible.”
Crews expanded on the importance of the clean to making the house or condo look great.
“Everything should sparkle. Most buying decisions are made within the first few minutes of walking into a home or condominium and nothing kills a sale faster than pet odors and dirty carpets,” he said. “If you are selling a condo, make sure your storage unit and parking spaces are clean and organized to show as added space and included in tours from buyers and agents.”
3. INVEST IN UPGRADES
If you want your home to sell for maximum value, consider investing in upgrades.
“It’s no secret that updated homes sell quicker and for higher value,” said Bloomquist. “Update and/or upgrade flooring, countertops in kitchen and baths, and lighting and plumbing fixtures. Upgrade to new flooring if it’s old and dated, and replace carpet if it’s old and stained. Upgrade to hardwood floors, newer tile, and at a minimum have carpets professionally cleaned. In my opinion, kitchen and bath remodeling will get you the biggest return on your investment.”
Crews echoed that sentiment, noting the kitchen and master bath are the two rooms that are critical in buying decision.
“If the countertops are dated and appliances and fixtures are mismatched or not working properly, give serious thought to updating, as most buyers today want the home in move-in condition,” he said. “These upgrades will also help justify higher price for the home and you will recoup the monies spent.”
4. DE-CLUTTER, FIX, AND STAGE
If there’s one thing every realtor seems to agree upon, it’s that sellers must de-personalize before they list, and fix anything broken so it seems like-new.
“Go ahead and start packing for the future move so your house feels less personal, more open, and more inviting to a new family,” said Becky Frey, Executive Vice President, Briggs Freeman Sotheby’s International Realty. “Also, fix things – call your handyman to make everything ready for a clean inspection.”
Perry-Miller believes all the knick-knacks actually keep potential buyers from paying attention to the space.
“Edit, edit, edit!” he said. “Take away any collections because they are too distracting for buyers. Have them focus on your house, not what you collect.”
De-cluttering is very important in making a home show well, and it makes it seem larger.
“I always suggest my clients remove all personal photos and pack away as much as they can,” Berry said. “I usually get the complaint that it looks like no one lives there if they do that, but actually, the less that is out on tables and shelves, the better.”
Crews said de-cluttering storage areas is critical, as well, because buyers want to see ample room for their own possessions.
“Clean out closets and move out-of-season clothing elsewhere to give appearance of more storage space. Do the same in the garage and the attic,” he said. “Then, enhance the closets with shelving or drawers from the Container Store or elsewhere.”
Broken things around your house or condo, no matter how minor, send a negative message about how you’ve cared for your space. Our realtors all agreed: fix things that don’t work now, not later.
“Leaky faucets, the doorbell, broken doors or cabinet handles, toilets, missing window screens are all going to be noted on inspection reports asking to be fixed by the new owner,” Crews said. “Some sellers provide copies of their recent repair lists or their own third-party inspection reports, and some sellers and agents provide recent appraisals/comps, once the home is in tip-top shape.”
Consider hiring a professional stager to arrange and remove your furnishings to best highlight the floor plan. Many stagers can even provide additional pieces of furniture to fill in gaps or make better use of an area.
“Many staging companies, like Model My Homes, have very affordable staging packages from simply advising how to de-clutter and re-arrange your existing furnishings, adding key staging pieces or doing a full stage on a vacant home,” said Bloomquist. “Staged homes accent your home’s best features and help your home sell faster and for a higher value. The return on staging is worth the investment.”