When it comes time to sell your home, it is important that you take the time prepare your home for sale. It takes some effort to get it ready for the market, but it is the best way to ensure selling it for the maximum price in the shortest amount of time. I like to remind my clients that we don’t live in our homes the way we sell our homes, so even if you are an avid decorator, it is helpful to keep in mind your objective when selling: presenting a home that is perceived to be spacious, clean and with a mass-appeal to a wide range of consumers. Here are some simple steps you can take to present your home in the best possible light.
De-Clutter and De-Personalize
It almost goes without saying, but this first crucial step simply cannot be overlooked. When you decide it is time to sell, it is time to start packing. You are going to have to box everything up anyway, so why not get a jump start? This part of the process can also help you sort through your possessions, and if you do it right, you may be able to pare down to make moving easier. Personal photos can enhance the home you live in, but they become a distraction to potential buyers. I promise you, if you leave them hanging, everyone who comes through will gravitate to them and try to figure out who the people are who live in the home. And this is not what you want. You want them to notice the architectural details, finishes and fixtures, and the views out the windows. So pack up personal photos, knick-knacks, and non-essential items. I like my clients to create a “blank canvas,” so I can come in with my home stager and add modern, current accessories that make the photos look like a magazine or a model home. If you have a basement or garage, it is okay to have some organized boxes stored there, but it may be worth renting a storage unit if you have a lot of stuff. Less is more inside a home for sale—your home will feel bigger and will look better in photography if there is less furniture and fewer distractions when you prepare your home for sale. The internet is full of information offering advice and ideas on de-cluttering, and Pinterest is one of my favorite places to look as a starting point.
Determine if Any Upgrades or Renovations are Needed
When was the last time you painted your home? Fresh paint in a neutral palate is a cost-effective way to really make your home “pop.” The kitchen and bathrooms are important to buyers. Are these areas up to date? Depending on your budget, it can make sense to update countertops or tile in these areas. Installing new hardware can also go a long way. Light fixtures are another area that can be fairly inexpensive to update and have a big impact. And how about the flooring? Is it tired or in great shape? It might seem silly to put in something new for the next person, and you may think it is better to let the next buyer pick out what they want, but that is seldom the case. In this era of HGTV and instant gratification, most buyers don’t have vision, so it can be helpful to present them with something they will have less objections about. Not sure if it is worth the investment? Here is an article, published by the National Association of Realtors, that analyzes the cost vs. benefit of various remodeling projects.
Deep Clean Everything
The first impression you make on potential buyers is important. You get one shot when a buyer arrives for a showing. If your home is immaculate, they will think the home has been well-maintained and well-cared for. This will put their minds at ease. Have your windows and screens professionally cleaned so they are sparkling. If you have carpet, have it professionally cleaned. Pay a pro to deep clean tile and grout. Clean your roof and gutters. Pressure wash walkways and lanais. You should try to work with your listing agent to time these activities so they will be fresh just before professional staging and photography. Any trace of human DNA or existence of pets should be scrubbed off and kept concealed. This is not to say that you need to hide any material facts from potential buyers, but don’t make it obvious if you are a pet owner. At least put the food dishes and bowls aside for the photography and make sure there are no obvious pet smells before you list. Maybe you can’t smell anything, but ask a friend you trust, who will be honest. It is hard work to prepare your house to sell, but well worth it!
Increase Curb Appeal
What is the first impression a buyer sees when they walk up to the front door? Get rid of cobwebs, give the front door a fresh coat of paint if needed and make your home feel inviting. Brightly colored plants and potted flowers have a welcoming effect, as does a new front door mat, and a fresh layer of mulch on garden beds. Make sure there isn’t any unnecessary clutter on the outside of the house, and make sure garbage cans are hidden from view. Evaluate any walkways, fences, lanais or decks for deterioration and make sure they are dialed in and there is no rot to help prepare your home for sale. Here is an article from Houzz, one of my favorite resource websites, that gives you ideas for increasing curb appeal.
Work with a Professional Stager
The majority of home buyers will be scrutinizing your home online before they ever set foot in it. If they decide to see it. You really set yourself up for success by making it stand out online, and in the professional photography. While the functionality of older furnishings may not be a problem at all when you are living in a home, they will not help to sell your home. Certainly, don’t go out and buy all new furniture for a home you are selling, but maybe consider renting a newer couch or dining table if yours are more dated. Or purchase something new if you love it and think it will go well in your next home. It is not that big of an expense in the whole scheme of things, and the initial impression can go a long way. A home stager will help coordinate this, as well as bringing in decorative items like pillow, towels, art, rugs and bedding that can really pull the new look together. After going through this process to help prepare homes for sale with quite a few clients, the results have been well worth it. Many people see their space in a new light, and wish they had consulted with a designer a long time ago! Here are some secrets from a home stager at HGTV.
I have taken classes on home staging and can help my clients through this process so it is less intimidating. It is always my goal to help make this process less stressful by providing my clients with resources, advice, and support along the way. Here in Hawaii, many homes for are also vacation rentals. Even though you might think your home is ready for the market because it is in the vacation rental pool, it is important that you don’t overlook some of these major considerations to help sell it. Someone may be willing to rent it and not willing to buy it. Overcoming objections, particularly when marketing a vacation rental as an investment, can help tremendously.
It is never too early to consult with a real estate professional to help prepare your home for sale, or just want advice or a second opinion on a home renovation you are considering. I would love to be a resource for you!