20 Things You Need to Know to Prepare Your Home for Potential Buyers… and 1 to Grow on!
When you’re getting ready to sell your home, you have to start by telling yourself that while you might think your home is the best thing since the invention of the convection oven, potential buyers won’t unless you show them why they should. Think about it this way, if someone you know and love has an imperfection, eventually, you get so used to it that after a while you don’t even know it’s there. The same goes for your home, but you’ve got to remember that other people, who are seeing it for the first time, will probably notice every little imperfection. We’ve all heard the saying, “you only get one chance to make a first impression,” and the same sentiment goes for your home. Make it a good one.
- Neutral colors are key – When you walk into a room that looks like the inside of a McDonald’s play area, it makes it harder for potentials to visualize themselves and their things in your home. Stop thinking about your home as YOUR home and start thinking about it as a blank canvas for a potential buyer. It’s much easier to paint on a colorless canvas.
- Your walls can’t speak, but the radio can – play some soft music in the background. It’s always good to hit on all of the senses. If your home tastes, smells, and sounds good to a perspective owner, they’ll associate your home with the good feelings they got while they were in it.
- Remove things that people might want – You know those custom-made curtains in the dining room that every guest who enters your home comments on? If you want to keep them, take them now before your home’s next buyer can’t imagine owning the house without them in it.
- Don’t shove it under the bed – Shove it into a storage unit. Potential buyers are nosey. If you don’t think they’re going to look there, they’re definitely going to look there. While you might think it’s a brilliant idea to wedge your sporting goods into the hall closet, you’ll be singing a very different tune when your snow skis tumble out onto the head of a prospective homeowner. Get a storage unit for this stuff. Same goes for the Tupperware cabinet.
- If you have pets, don’t let potential buyers know – We know that your furry friends are part of your household, but that doesn’t mean it should smell like them. Get the carpets cleaned or replaced and then, invite your most blunt sensitive nosed friend over to tell you if there’s any hint of Rover’s pet dander in the air. Also, hide the evidence; leashes, collars, litter boxes, cages, bones, BEWARE OF DOG signs, etc. Put them in the storage unit with the snow skis and the Tupperware.
- Repair minor things – You know the side door that requires a little elbow grease to lock it? Use a lot of elbow grease and fix it for good along with any other small things that have been on the backburner since the day you moved in.
- De-personalize – Your Grandmother’s urn and that creepy portrait of you as a toddler have got to go. Into your new home, we mean. While we agree that all of your family photos and heirlooms add character, you don’t want potential buyers to see your current house, you want them to see their next home.
- Curb Appeal – The moment that a potential homeowner drives up to your house, they already know whether or not they’re excited to step inside. Remember to move the garbage cans. Add color by planting some flowers. Paint anything that looks dingy. Mow the lawn.
- Lighten Up – Be sure all of the light bulbs are working. If they’re not replace them. Maybe even add an extra lamp or two to brighten up the tone of your house.
- Pull a Bob Barker and be sure the Price is Right! – We know you think your home is priceless but, a potential buyer won’t. This is something you’ll definitely need help with. The longer an overpriced home sits on the market, the more it becomes old news and the less likely it is to sell.
- Get a maid – Sometimes, it pays to pay. Even if you’re OCD about how your house looks, chances are you’re not as good at cleaning house as someone who gets paid to do it. It’s the little things that amateurs forget, so if you’re going to do it yourself, don’t forget the details like dust on ceiling fans, blinds, the television etc.
- Be the Buyer – Step outside of your shoes and into a potential buyer’s. Criticize yourself and your home. Just because it’s your space doesn’t mean it has to be personal. Be objective. Helen Homebuyer might not find the chip in the front banister as endearing as you do.
- Say “No” to Clutter – Remove any extra furniture, toys, etc. Sometimes, removing all of the small things can make your house look bigger. It’s always good to show that your home is livable, but we don’t want prospects thinking that it’s too lived in.
- Never underestimate a fresh coat of paint – If the white picket fence that hugs your home is responsible for bringing out the charm, make sure it’s actually white. You’ll be surprised how much a coat of paint can brighten up your home.
- Wake up and Smell the Roses. Literally. Herman Househunter doesn’t know how much smell affects his perspective. Put real flowers on the bedside tables or light some candles. Bake some bread, apple pie, or chocolate chip cookies. When the potential buyer steps inside, they may not comment on the smell, but we guarantee they will have a lot to say if it smells unpleasant.
- Spruce up Everything, even the Kitchen Sink – Be sure to put away all of your dishes; don’t leave the dishwasher or the sink full. Dirty dishes are the last thing a potential homeowner wants to see. Take everything off of the fridge. We totally agree that the crayon rendering of the whole family is refrigerator material, but let your home’s next owner imagine his family’s artwork on it.
- Bedroom – Make sure your beds are made and your clothes and clean and put away. Potential buyers shouldn’t be able to figure out the dynamics of your morning routine by looking at your bedroom in disarray.
- Be sure your home looks so good they can taste it – Leave the fresh baked chocolate chip cookies on the kitchen counter as a treat. This will make your home seem more livable and if they’re eating something they like, they’ll like your home.
- Make sure your home looks good at all times of the day – A serious buyer will want to see what vibe your home gives off at all times of the day. Make sure it looks good in the morning with no make-up. You know what we mean.
- Bathrooms matter, too – Always check the bathtub. Especially the ones you don’t use. Snoopy prospects are definitely going to look behind the shower curtain and in the drawers. They might even turn your shower on, so make sure everything is in perfect working order.
- Ask the experts – We saved the best for last. Don’t try this at home! Get a real estate agent to help guide you through the process. They’ll help you clean up your home by doing the dirty work. It’s just like anything else. If you want to redo your kitchen, you hire a builder. If you have a plumbing problem, you call a plumber. If there’s a problem with your fuse box, you hire an electrician. Buying and selling your home is no different. Stick to your day job and let us do ours.
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Article by: Lindley Knight