Making the decision to sell your personal home is never easy. For weeks or months, you weigh the pros and the cons of putting your home on the market. From an emotional perspective, you agonize about leaving a home that you and your family have created so many memories in. From a financial perspective, you crunch the numbers to see if the equity you have built is enough and if you are entering a seller’s market or a buyer’s market. From an intellectual perspective, you ask yourself if this move will make life better or worse for your family?
Whether the main catalyst for your decision is location driven, space driven, career driven or fiscally driven, selling a home can be a nerve-wracking experience. There are many unknowns to contend with such as, “How long before we receive an offer?” or “Will the potential buyer try to lowball us?” or “How will the improvements we never got around to impact our list price?”
I cannot help much with receiving a timely offer or price negotiations, but I can help with the capital improvement part. To this end, I have written this two part series with many of the things I learned during my time as a stager. I recommend doing these things before putting your home up for sale because the first 90 days that a home is on the market are the most critical in terms of commanding your list price.
Tip #1: Up Your Curb Appeal
I cannot stress how critical curb appeal is when it comes to selling a home; it is the first thing that gets a potential buyer in the door. Pressure wash your home, change out rusty or tarnished outdoor light fixtures, paint door numbers and doors if necessary, add flowers to your flower boxes, cut down the grass and trim your shrubs. You cannot imagine how much more traffic you will generate from paying careful attention to how your home shows from the outside.
Tip #2: Cleanliness Is In Order
We have all heard the saying that cleanliness is next to Godliness. Well then, it’s no shock that one of the most important things you can do to show your home well is to make sure that it is spotless during showings. Things like spider webs in the corners, stains on carpeting and filthy air vents easily distract potential buyers, which in turn diverts their attention from positives such as your beautiful crown molding or your higher than high ceilings.
Hire a professional to clean your home before you put it on the market and maintain this level of cleanliness while you remain in showing mode. In fact, if you can financially manage it, continue to use professional cleaning services until you have gotten an offer.
Tip #3: Declutter, Declutter, Declutter
A very close second to cleanliness is decluttering. In fact, if you do nothing else to improve your home before you sell, clean it thoroughly and declutter it. These are two of the most impactful things you can do to help stage your home for a sale.
Decluttering includes removing extra or oversized furniture, unnecessary accessories and clearing out closets so that buyers feel like there is a lot of negative space in your home. Negative space, space that has nothing in it, allows buyers to freely walk around the rooms while creating the sense that the spaces are much larger than they actually are.
Staging is about space, while designing is about functionality. If you love having a console in your entryway to put your keys in everyday, but that console makes your entryway feel claustrophobic, then it needs to be removed for staging purposes. Remember once a home is on the market, you can no longer take the design process personally.
Tip #4: Paint Your Walls
Applying a fresh coat of paint on the walls can really freshen up a house and make it appear newer and cleaner. Re-painting your home is even more important if you prefer dark colors or if you have accent walls throughout your house. Most buyers like white, beige or gray paint colors on their walls. This may sound boring to our most dedicated TI readers, but those are the facts. If you have a red accent wall, now is the time to paint it and prime it.
If your paint job is relatively new and you have flat paint throughout your home – which I highly recommend because it hides imperfections – you can go around your house spot painting any marks on the wall. Do not try this at home if your wall paint contains sheen. It will make the paint job look even worse. If you have an eggshell, satin or semi-gloss paint finish on your walls, try using magic eraser to remove unsightly marks instead.
Next week, I will be sharing more staging tips with you. Typically, unless your home is in really bad condition, once you make the decision to sell, that isn’t the ideal time to start dumping a lot of money into a house. Still, in order to command top dollar you my find yourself having to invest some money into your current home.