5 Tips to Make Your Home Stand Out
When placing your home on the market, it makes sense to make it shine no matter if it’s a seller’s market, or a buyer’s. If a buyer is looking at two similar homes (regardless of market) and we know they look at more than just two on average, the one that shines the most will garner the most attention, and potential buyers. So, put your best foot forward and don’t forget that this will be one of, if not THE biggest purchase a potential buyer is going to make. Remember, as much as you want to do other things, this is no time to slack on home prep, after all, it will help bring more buyers into your home, more money to your pocket, and help the home sell for more in a shorter amount of time.
1. Declutter! I admit it, I too have a closet and drawer (or a few) that have unwanted, and even unused items in them that would be better off in someone else’s possession, somewhere else. But be honest, I’m not talking about just a drawer or that rarely opened closet in the spare bedroom, I’m talking about counters, dresser and nightstand tops, walls packed with photos (more on this one later) coffee tables, pantries, kitchen cabinets, the GARAGE, etc. You get the picture right? And yes this does include the front entry, the deck with all the dead plants in pots, the yard with broken toys, and scattered lawn and yard equipment. Remember, we are selling a home, we want to allow buyers to envision themselves in the home with their own belongings. This is not the time to overwhelm them with massive amounts of you personal belongings, nor show off your curio collection of Minnie Mouse figurines. (My apologies in advance if you own this collection)
2. Fix the things you’ve been meaning to. All those items that are not working correctly that have been on your to-do list? Yeah, those. Get them done. No one wants to take over someone else’s problems – well, except those who are looking for a bargain, but, I know, you’re super kind but you don’t exactly want to give someone a bargain, do you? So tackle all the things, big and small. Sometimes a $5 fix on your end could equate to a $200 fix in the eye of a buyer. Especially if they don’t have the tools, knowledge or wherewithal to tackle it. Plus, your place will show better and buyers won’t wonder if you are hiding more deferred maintenance items later! I may be weird, but I know I’m not alone in saying fixing certain things can actually be fun and satisfying, so give it a shot! (this includes making sure all light fixtures including those you are taking with you have correctly working bulbs in them, think about the photo session for the marketing)
3. Pictures. As promised, here’s my, umm, lecture on photos. The short and sweet of it is, take them down. Open up the wall space and let the buyers envision their memories on the walls, not your trip to Disneyland (Sorry again Minnie) with the *Former* love of your life. Who knew that a gastrointestinal breakdown from the street meat sold by the hot dog vendor at 2:00am would have turned into an odd orchestra of bowel sounds in the small bathroom back at the hotel sealing your fate in the world of love. Lesson learned. But here’s another one. Please try to remove all photos of family and friends. It’s okay to keep the art pieces (depending on your taste of art) hanging unless they take over the room. Let common sense prevail. Side note, when filling holes, use what is called Lightweight Spackle which is super cheap and very handy. And don’t use a flat spackle knife. Just use your finger tip with as much is needed to shove it into the small nail hole, then wipe the remnants off the wall with a clean finger. Job done. No flat spackle spots dotting your walls anymore. Then just run a paint brush over those former holes to color match the wall to it’s former glory. If you haven’t painted the room since 5 years BEFORE you moved in 15 years ago, well, maybe it’s best to repaint the whole wall or room. Once again, use common sense and not laziness as your guide.
4. Street Cred. Next time you drive up to your home, objectively look at it as you do, both during the daytime and at night and ask yourself this; ͞would I want to live here if I was a buyer in this market͟. I know your answer might be, ͞but I do!͟ However that would be the incorrect answer and you flunk my quiz. Be honest here and evaluate your home as if you’ve never seen it before. Does the exterior look appealing, is the paint peeling off, is there so much moss on the roof it looks like a garden gnome’s paradise, are the windows so filthy that you can’t see through them, is the yard a wreck, are there burnt out lights, or broken blinds or ugly (yes, I said it) curtains taking over the show? If so, make a list as you sit there in your car. You know the saying in real estate, yes that one! No, that’s the wrong one, but yes, Location, Location, Location is relevant but not for this list. I mean this one – First Impressions are Everything. Say it with me now and never forget it. You know that creepy guy with the super flimsy, moist handshake you met at the annual get together of Amateur Weathermen of America. Yes, don’t let your house be him. Now go squeeze some more antibacterial solution on your hands and shake him out of your head.
5. Mr. Clean! In short, clean everything! This means door knobs, light switches, walls with smudges, windows both inside and out, cabinet faces and their knobs and handles, the fridge door (and inside) and pretty much everything including the personal items you plan on taking with you. This will leave a good feeling (and hopefully good smells, because we want get rid of bad ones too) with the buyers as they walk through a home and not get grossed out about what’s growing legs at the base of the toilet. This means detailing your home like you’ve never detailed before. If your bathtub or shower is suffering from neglect and there’s soap scum, or mildew growing on the caulking, scrub the dirt and remove the caulking and lay a new bead of it. It’s not expensive, slightly fun and looks really great!
6. Bonus Round! You’ve been so good and read to the end, so I figure I’ll throw in an extra few items to not overlook. If you have carpets, chances are you didn’t just clean them, so get that done (by a professional) so they are looking sharp. If there’s only a few fibers left on the carpet then maybe more of a discussion needs to happen about that.
These tips I’ve provided have proven themselves time and again to shorten length on market, strengthen the homes position within the market, and bring in a higher net to sellers. If you don’t believe me, I’ll put you in touch with some of the sellers we’ve helped in the past. Good luck and happy cleaning. Remember the light at the end of the tunnel isn’t always a train, sometimes it’s a pile of gold from doing such a good job!