Let’s look at some of the essential tasks for getting buyers to fall in love with your home!
I know this is going to sound cliche’ but when you are getting a home ready to sell, you must think like a buyer!
Getting a house ready for sale is NOT something to put off until the day your home hit the market! If you start early on getting your home ready to sell, you will not be as stressed.
Take time to remember back when you bought your home. Why did you pick your house?
Now pretend you’re a buyer and look at your house as if you were looking to find something wrong. This is what many buyers will be doing when they view your home!
What will it take to make buyers love your home? If you think like a buyer then you will know what to focus on to make your home sell.
Do you remember the first time you saw your present home? Do you recall what you thought and felt?
Maybe you fell in love at first sight. Did you pull in the driveway and KNOW that this is the ONE?
Or did it take time to see the potential of the property?
When a buyer first sees a home, they are thinking about 2 things:
- The price
- All of the other homes they have seen
Will your home compare? Will your home beat other homes by causing a positive emotional response?
You only get one chance to make that crucial first impression. Your home must be ready the day your home goes on the market.
What are home buyers looking at?
This is why you MUST take the time to make a list of what needs attention. Go through every room and make a list of what must be done to make your home “the ONE”.
Selling a home requires that you can present your property in the best possible light to all home buyers. So let’s look at areas you should focus on!
Remove the Clutter When Selling a Home
You need to remove all the stuff you can from your home. Plain and simple unless it is absolutely necessary, it needs to go!
Closets need to look big when buyers look inside. If your closets are packed, they will look much smaller than they really are!
You need to think about traffic flow as well. I am not talking about how cars will enter your driveway either.
When buyers tour your home, will it be an obstacle course to walk through the home? You will be amazed how much bigger a room feels if some of the furniture is put into storage.
Another type of clutter to focus on is the stuff sitting ON the furniture. Sometimes called knick knacks, dust collectors or collectibles, this stuff needs to go!
When you start packing to move, you will be amazed at the stuff you have collected. The thing to remember is that stuff would distract buyers from falling in love with your home!
Cleanliness Is Next To Sold
Cleaning a home is one of the cheapest things you can do to get a home ready to sell. A little elbow grease, cleaning supplies and your time will ensure your home is squeaky clean.
A dirty home causes buyers to get the impression that the property was not well cared for. A clean home lets buyers concentrate on the features and amenities of the home instead of the mess.
Cleaning your home means it will look great in the pictures that buyers will see on the internet. Never underestimate the importance of the pictures since they are the NEW curb appeal!
You are going to need to make sure you keep your home clean for all of the showings. The initial cleaning will be hard work so there is no reason to let that hard work go to waste.
Become Picasso When Selling Your Home
Right behind cleaning, painting has the biggest bang for the buck when it comes to getting a home ready for the market.
Before you break out the paint brushes, you might only need to clean the walls. If your walls have stains and scratches, spot painting probably won’t handle the problem.
They will stick out like a sore thumb to buyers. It is better to repaint entire rooms with neutral colors instead of spot painting anyway.
I suggest you read Painting the Interior of Your Home
One of the most important rooms to wow buyers is the kitchen. You must be sure to clean every surface, every nook and cranny and even the appliances.
Do NOT forget the oven because a dirty oven will make buyers realize you cleaned everything…
But you forget the oven…
And NORMALLY, your kitchen looks like the inside of your oven!
Another spot to clean is behind the refrigerator and the lower front panel. Many home inspectors find the massive dust collection and include it in their report.
Your sink must be spotless. A pile of dirty dishes or a nasty looking sponge is going to turn buyers off.
You need to wipe down and clean the exterior of the kitchen cabinets. If the cabinets have scratches or marks on them, you may need to paint or refinish them.
Make sure replace any missing or broken handles. If you have any cabinets that will not stay closed, repair them. Same with kitchen drawers that are hard to open and close.
You counter tops and even the interior of your cabinets need to be cleared of everything you can. You may be tempted to shove everything into the cabinets but buyers will want to see how big they really are.
Holding a garage sale to get rid of stuff or rent a storage unit while the home is on the market. You may be able to store stuff at a friend or relative’s place to help.
I suggest reading Everything But the Kitchen Sink
The second most important room to prepare when putting a home on the market is the bathroom. Every bathroom will be looked at for cleanliness and condition.
The sinks, showers and tubs should be cleaned and totally free of any mold and soap scum. If the faucets drip or do not work perfectly, you need to repair or replace them. The fixtures need to sparkle and shine!
If the sinks have any finishes that are chipped or damaged, it must be repaired. You can find touch up paint in hardware stores but that only works for small areas.
Make sure there are not any leaks under the sinks or any damage or stains from previous leaks. Just like you cleaned out the kitchen cabinets, you need to do the same in the bathroom.
If your budget allows, new towel rods with new towels hanging on them make a difference. A new shower curtain and bath mat are cheap but make a huge difference.
The grout in showers and around the tubs must be cleaned or replaced. Shower doors should be sparkling clean and open and close smoothly.
Bathtubs must be clean as well. Remove the collection of shampoo and conditioner bottles sitting in the corner. If the tub is stained so badly it cannot be properly cleaned, you may need to replace it.
A good starting point is your flooring. Flooring must be clean and in good condition.
Heavily soiled or stained carpets must be steam cleaned and deodorized or replaced. If the carpet is beyond steam cleaning, then new flooring must be installed.
Carpet with tears and heavy wear will also need to be replaced. I know that the cost of new flooring can be hard to handle.
Buyers will be impressed by new carpet in a neutral color. If the carpet is shot, buyers will not be interested or they will deduct the price of new flooring IF they make an offer.
Buyers go nuts about hardwood flooring IF it is in good shape. If the hardwoods need work, well that is a different story…
Hardwood flooring with minor wear which still retains its color can be refinished. This will remove minor wear marks and bring a shine back to the floor.
If your hardwoods have scratches, stains or the color is fading in spots, it’s time for resurfacing. Resurfacing costs more than refinishing but gleaming hardwoods will wow home buyers.
Resurfacing hardwoods means sanding to remove all the old finish and any scratches. Then applying new stain. Part of the resurfacing process is replacing heavily damaged hardwood with similar planks.
If you have tile flooring, you may need to look at the grout. Grout is the material between the tiles that can become stained or discolored.
Stained grout looks old and dirty. There are 2 options for gross grout: clean it or replace it.
If cleaning does not get your tile looking awesome, you will need to replace it. New grout costs more and requires more work but the bright side is that new grout means you can change the color.
Squeaky Clean Windows
A bright interior takes more than just putting in higher wattage bulbs. Cleaning your windows is a must when selling a home!
Clean both the inside and outside of the windows. Make sure to clean the windows sills. If there are shutters, clean those as well.
Wood windows with wood rot or missing caulk need to be fixed before buyers start viewing your home. If there are problems with your windows, you may be able to have a window repaired.
I strongly suggest checking with the window repair companies before you replace windows. You may be able to save a substantial amount of money!
It can be cheaper to fix tight or stuck windows than it would take to replace the window. If the windows have a cloudy look, the seals may be shot and replacing them may be the only option.
Look Up When Getting a Home Ready to Sell
Be sure to check ceiling fans and overhead light fixtures. They need to be clean and work perfectly.
While you are cleaning the light fixtures is a great time to switch to a higher wattage light bulb. Remember, buyers like bright rooms!
A quick easy fix is replacing dated or dirty light switch electrical outlet covers. It is really easy and cheap to replace these.
The Take Away
These are just a few of these things to work on when getting your house ready to sell. These are all tips to consider and not hard and fast rules that you must follow!
Your best bet is to consult with a local experienced Realtor to see what is normal for your area and the price range of homes you will be competing against.