Ladies and Gentleman, the House is back on the Market!
Like a freshly single twenty-something with a new hair style, a little black dress, and a recent appreciation for the gym – here is your seller’s to-do list to spiff up your crib and attract some lookers. Now we’re talking!
1. Mentally & Emotionally Remove Yourself
When preparing to sell your home, the first step is mentally and emotionally separating yourself from your home. A home is a place holder for a human – that is all. Just like any other transaction, a home is something you purchased, as you would a car, a phone, or a t-shirt – there comes a time to let those things go. Take a moment to honor your time in the home, say your goodbyes to each room, and allow yourself to sit with the idea of the home no longer being yours. You’re moving on to a new chapter and it’s time to look towards the future, not wallow in the past.
2. Pack up those Pictures
You’ve shed your tears, said your goodbyes, and taken a moment to cherish the time spent within those walls. Now it’s time to pack up those memories and clear the space so new memories can be made. Would you be able to envision yourself with someone if you walked into their place and there were photos of their ex still up? It would kind of derail your daydreams of life with them, wouldn’t it? The same goes for house-hunters. When they walk into your home, they should be able to see themselves building a life there, not wondering about the life of current tenants.
3. Check that Curb Appeal, Homie!
External appearance isn’t everything, but you want to catch their eye. If they like what they see from the curb, chances are they will be knocking at the front door. So, mow that lawn, trim those bushes, and keep the sidewalk clean. Also, make sure visitors are able to easily identify your home address.
4. Dump the Junk, Cut the Clutter, and Organize Closets and Cabinets
You’re in the game now. You’ve mentally moved out, the space is ready for new life and memories, and the exterior of the home is attracting interested candidates. It’s time to de-clutter, check that baggage (or trash it?) and rearrange the closets.
Buyers want to know what their seeing is what they are getting – they will do their job (a.k.a. snooping around) to make sure the image is consistent with what’s hiding behind those closet doors. Make sure your home isn’t just for show – it truly is what is seems – a dream home for that potential buyer.
Here’s a good rule of thumb: if you haven’t used it in over a year, chances are you aren’t going to need it. Create three piles to ignite the process:
To sell, to keep, to donate. GO!
5. Don’t be a Tease
If you have items you love and plan to take with you, take them down before showing the home. This is important for the overall happiness of both the buyer and the seller. If that show-stopping chandelier is making the move with you, don’t let your prospective buyers lay their eyes on it. A buyer could easily fall in love with it and use the fact it isn’t in the deal, for leverage. Don’t let them know what they are missing out on. If necessary, replace the items with cheaper models.
6. Repair, Renew, Reinvent
This one takes a little elbow grease, but the concept is simple: make your house sparkle.
Fix the leaky faucet, re-caulk showers and tubs, paint any loud walls in a warm neutral color, patch holes in the walls and do any other work that would leave a potential buyer on the fence. The little things matter, so replace linens and dingy rugs, bleach the title grout, and grease those squeaky door jams. Give the bathrooms a spa treatment with candles, some greenery and fresh towels fastened with bows. Oh, you fancy! Also, pay attention to smells – this hugely impacts our memory and no one wants to be remembered as the smelly house.
7. Final Touches
Pretend you are the buyer from start to finish. That’s right, get out on the curb and take a step-by-step walk-through of your home as if you are the buyer. Is the home inviting? How does it make you feel? Are the pictures hung evenly? Does that bed-spread need replacing? Would the front yard fare better with some bright flowers? Try to work from an objective point of view and write down anything you need to change or rearrange.