In today’s competitive home sales market, a little attention to detail can really give your home an edge above the other homes available.The following are some tried and true tips that will help you prepare your home for viewing by buyers.
Do all you can to add light and air to your home. If you have heavy drapes, swap them for a lighter sheer version. Dirty windows? Make sure they are clean. Lighter, brighter rooms give the illusion of being larger and more inviting. If there are opportunities for natural lighting, capitalize on those possibilities, if not try lighter colored decor, and add extra lighting fixtures to darker rooms.
Clutter makes your home look smaller, it gives the feeling that you do not have enough room for all of your things, giving the impression that your house is “too small” or that your home lacks enough storage. If you have simply outgrown your home consider placing some of your lesser used items in storage for the time being. Even if the potential buyers have less “stuff” than you do, they will not be able to see past your clutter and get a good sense of the actual size of your home.
Depersonalize the Space
Find a balance between leaving some personal effects around to give your home a sense of family and warmth, and having an overabundance of personal items strewn about. It is hard for people to imagine a home as their “own” when it is overcrowded with the lives of other people.
Depersonalizing your home is even more important when you have strong or unique sense of style that would not necessarily appeal to the taste of the average prospective buyer (you may need some outside consultation on this matter.) Try to downplay your personal preference and bring the decor more into the mainstream. For example consider easy solutions such as replacing highly patterned throw pillows or a couch with solid pillows or sofa cover. Think about removing some personal “tchotchkes”. Investing a bit of time to paint over a dark or bold accent wall with a more subdued color may also increase the greater appeal of your home. The idea here is to attract the largest number of potential buyers to view and consider your home for purchase.
Patch it up / fix it up
One of the most important concerns that prospective buyers have when they are looking to purchase a home is the potential for hidden problems that will rear their costly head after the ink has dried on the closing papers. Buyers want to know that the home they are considering has been cared for by it’s owners.
Here in Israel homes are often sold “as is” meaning the seller will not compensate for or adjust the selling price to accommodate repairs. My advice would be to fix the issues that you can reasonably handle. Some of these issue are things you may have become accustom to living with and therefore may need an outsider’s view to notice them. Try to take a look at your home from their perspective and you may see it quite differently. Loose door knobs, leaky faucets, and peeling paint are all small fixes that if taken care of will ultimately mean extra cash in your pocket.
Clean Before Potential Buyers Arrive
I know this may sound elementary but if your home is on the market make that extra effort to keep your home clean and neat. Dirty dishes in the sink, baskets of laundry laying around or smelly garbage waiting to be taken out are all real turn offs to buyers. Some people find pet or strong food smells offensive so try and be sensitive to that. Unfortunately not all buyers have “vision” to imagine what your home may look like under all the mess.
Don’t Forget the Outside and Curb Appeal!
You only have one chance to make a first impression. As soon as the prospective buyers walk up to your property and knock on your door they have had hundreds of images of your home already inserted into their memory banks, so make sure not to forget to tackle the outside as well. Overgrown lawn or shrubs should get some attention before you put your home up for sale. As an extra step you can do some landscaping or planting of seasonal plants and flowers. At the very least make sure that the area is neat clean and clear.
Remember, your home is most likely not the only home on the market. The impression that the buyers get when looking at your home can mean the difference between it remaining on the market long term which often translates into price reduction, or selling quickly and at a fair market value. For the best result, partner with a qualified agent who can advise you on how to prepare your home for sale and follow through on their suggestions. A bit of time and effort on your part can make all the difference in this competitive market.
Susie Benzaquen “grew up” in the real estate industry and has spent years working in the field. She has held licensing in both Florida and in New Jersey. She currently serves on the support staff of Re/Max Momentum in Givat Shaul, Jerusalem.