by Kimberly Blackford
Any homeowner will tell you, though daunting, moving into a new space is an exciting adventure.
Empty homes are a blank canvas just waiting for the new owners to fill every square inch with personal touches. But before you can get into that new home, your current abode has to get passed along. Many homeowners see selling a home as a particularly difficult challenge, but that doesn't have to be the case. Careful pricing and a little staging can go a long way in winning over potential buyers.
The first thing to do when selling is to shake off emotional attachments to your space and look at it from the eyes of someone new. Every buyer is looking for the home where they can best picture themselves living. It is known that many buyers make up their minds about a home within the first few minutes, so first impressions are crucial. Curb appeal is a great place to start when sprucing up a home for sale. To get the right perspective, take a walk around the block and look at your home from a distance. What's catching your eye? Ideally, it would be neatly cared for landscaping and shiny windows reflecting the afternoon sun. There is some work to do if moldy siding or weed filled gardens are in view. This is a good time to mention that preparing your home for the market should not be a burden on your budget – major renovations are not called for. However, it is important to make sure the home is not in any major state of disrepair that could cause buyers to be anxious about the property.
Now that you have examined the home at a distance, take a closer look on the outside. Could the front door use a coat of paint? Do the locks work easily or do they require a special jiggle and dance to get inside? Special attention to the front porch and garage entries will ensure buyers are immediately at east before even entering a home. If nothing else, a healthy potted plant and clean windows make a great impression.
When it comes to preparing the interior for buyer showings, it's best to go room to room with a list in hand to be certain no room is overlooked. Move methodically and note any repairs that must be done. Look up and down in every room – hidden problems should be found and cared for before the buyer gets a chance. In addition to repairs, move from room to room for deep cleaning and decluttering. One of the keys to successful house showing is highlighting the livability without invading a buyer's imagination. Sort through personal treasures and place a majority of belongings in storage elsewhere. Strive for simplicity and open (not barren) space. You want buyers to see what the home has to offer as well as the potential to incorporate their personal style. Additionally, removing extra belongings gives the impression of a larger and tidier space. Apply the same rules to closets and other storage areas. Storage is one of the top selling points for many homes.
Two spaces to give extra special attention are the kitchen and the bathrooms. These are two rooms that have the potential to be disgusting if not properly cared for and will easily turn off the most enthusiastic buyer if not presentable. Most buyers will assume the rest of the house is in great shape if these highly trafficked areas are spotless.
While de-cluttering the home, many homeowners come across certain items they may want to include with the home. Typically it is assumed most light fixtures and built-in furniture will be included in the sale. Be certain to specify before showing the home exactly what will and will not be staying. This debate of “personal property” versus “real property” can often make or break a sale. Most buyers will not begrudge the previous owner taking a family heirloom with them as long as they know in advance it is not included. However, be specific. Even such things as door knobs and doorbells can be caught up in an argument.
While this may seem like quite a bit to do, it can all be accomplished with a little effort. Also bear in mind that many of these things – cleaning, decluttering, and packing – have to be done when moving. Preparing your home for sale conveniently coincides with the work that moving requires! Through the selling process continue to be patient, proactive, and well informed. All of these measures will ensure your home is ready for new owners and new adventures.
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