Inside & Outside:
8 Things You Must Do To Get Top Dollar For Your Home
There are several things that need to be done when preparing your home for sale. The following tips will help you to get top dollar for your home and get a successful offer as quickly as possible. An entire book could be written on each of these tips, but I will keep it brief for the purposes of this article.
- Make repairs.
You want your buyers to have the impression that living in this home will be an upgrade for them and that there will be “nothing to do” for maintenance. This of course is not the way home-ownership works, but you want them to be buying a “dream” of living in a beautiful place, not thinking about having to fix that cracked window or that leaky faucet.
- As soon as they notice one thing that is broken, they will mentally start down that wrong track in their minds which is: “how much is this going to cost me to fix?” They will start to actually seek out more things that are broken in order to answer that question in their mind. You want them to be enjoying the experience of being in this home, and ideally, starting to talk about how they can put their favorite chair right there, etc.
- You don’t want them attempting to add up the dollars of repair bills in their mind. Perception is everything. If they perceive this home to be maintenance-free, that’s how they will remember your home. You want your home to be their favorite of all the homes they saw, and you want them to remember your home as the one where they “don’t have to do anything… they can just move right in.” Although there are some buyers looking for a fixer and trying to buy for below-market price, the majority of people will pay more for a home if they feel that it is move-in ready with no work needed.
- Make upgrades
You want to make upgrades that will make as big of an impact on buyers as possible but are not too expensive for the market where your home is located.
- You don’t want to spend $20,000 on a kitchen remodel with granite or marble if buyers in your area are used to seeing Formica countertops. If the average home in your area is, let’s say, $100,000, and Formica countertops are the norm, spending money on granite would not be cost-effective. On the other hand, if most homes in your area that are about the same size and age have granite countertops, you should have them also to be on an even playing field with your competition in the marketplace. Remember, your goal is to get an offer on your home. Sometimes you have to put in the money in order to get the money out.
- For outside, think “Neat”
The outside of your home should be kept as neat as possible. Your buyer must be immediately impressed with the outside of the home in order for them to not shut their mind to the possibility of living there someday.
- Be sure to remove all items from the yard that will distract your prospective buyer from how great your home is. This would include any kids’ toys, trash, and yes, even that half-buried tub in the yard that you use for planting flowers.
- Trim overgrown bushes and trees, and keep your grass fertilized and mowed. Pull weeds and spray a pre-emergent herbicide on the cracks of any sidewalks or driveways to prevent new ones from appearing as they love to do. A height of 3” in the fall or spring, and a height of 4” in the summer will allow your grass to stay healthy while helping to keep the weeds from taking hold. Edge the grass along sidewalks and beds.
- Plant some bright annual flowers by the front door. Make it cheerful and colorful when they walk up to your front door. Make sure everything they see when they stand at your front door, while they are waiting for the agent to open the door, is immaculately maintained.
- Ideally, the front door should be freshly painted and house numbers and mailboxes should be new or appear to be like new.
- For inside, think “Clean”
The inside of your home should be as clean as you can get it. It should be much cleaner than you typically keep it when living there.
- Clean all the windows inside and out, shampoo the carpets, and keep everything as spotless as you can. If you have wood floors, they should be in great condition or refinished if they are not in great condition. If you have tile, use a grout cleaner to get the grout lines sparkling.
- Make sure there is no surface mildew or mold anywhere, especially in or around the shower areas. If you are living in your home while it is on the market, you should clean at least once a week to make sure that your home is ready to show successfully to a potential buyer on any given day.
- Pay attention especially to the kitchen and bathrooms. These are the two areas of a home that tend to either impress or depress your buyers. Put an odor absorbing canister (available at home centers across the country) in each bathroom and one on the top of the kitchen cabinets where it is not visible but will still be able to capture any lingering smells. Avoid the kinds that have a strong scent to them… stick with ones that absorb odors primarily and have little to no scent that is introduced. Many people are allergic to the scented varieties so avoid them while your home is on the market.
You want buyers to walk into your home and imagine themselves living there.
- Your family photos would not be on their walls when they walk into their home, so they should not be on your walls when your home is on the market.
- Depersonalize your home as much as possible and put your personal items and trinkets in a rental storage locker temporarily or bring them with you to your new place if you’ve already moved to a new home.
- You even want your closets and cabinets to be neat. Buyers frequently open closets and cabinets to see if they would be able to fit their things in the home. You want them to have the impression that they will have no problem fitting their stuff in there, but they won’t think that if you have all your stuff piled up in your closet.
You have probably read this a hundred times, but the importance of painting cannot be overstated. Always put a coat of fresh paint on all surfaces inside your home. It will cover up any lingering smells or stains and will give the impression of a brand new home. This can usually be done by most people on a weekend or two, or you can hire it out. Either way, the cost is well worth it. You would be amazed at what a difference a coat of paint makes, especially when the home is older.
- An eggshell sheen on the walls and semi-gloss on the trim and doors is a great combination that really shines and leaves your buyers with a positive impression about the house. Ceilings can be painted with a flat paint to save money.
This is another topic that could fill a book by itself, but here are the basics. You should stage your home with furniture that is in good repair and clean.
- It should be at least as nice as the nicer homes on the market in your price range. If you are skilled in interior design, you can make the selections yourself, but if you don’t really have a good idea about what should go where, I recommend hiring a home stager to give you suggestions. This will easily pay for itself in the end when you get a better offer on your home, and you can take it with you to your new home.
- You can make do with simpler bedroom furniture if your budget doesn’t allow more, but at an absolute minimum you should have nice furniture in the master bedroom, living room, and dining room.
- You don’t want too much furniture, just some nice looking furniture, arranged in a way that seems inviting and makes you want to sit down and have a conversation with a couple of friends, etc. While in the reality of daily life in a home the couch would probably end up against the wall in front of the television, but you don’t want to stage a home this way.
- Don’t put the furniture up against the walls as this doesn’t create as inviting of a feel as putting different size chairs together in a more circular arrangement where people can have a conversation with each other.
- Consult an experienced professional Realtor®
You want to use a professional that you feel truly has your best interest in mind and someone who will do the extra work that is needed to sell your home for the best possible price. You should of course also feel comfortable around this person and feel like he or she is enjoyable to work with as you will be working with them for some time.
As with any profession, not all Realtors® are equal.
- When you use the skills of a talented Realtor®, their fees should pay for themselves in the form of a higher offer that is presented quicker.
- You really need a good idea of trends and norms in your area to be able to successfully identify what upgrades the buyers are looking for in your area, and what people are saying about homes in your price range when they walk through them. This will help you to make the appropriate upgrades for your home that buyers in your price range are expecting while saving money on the upgrades that your potential buyers don’t expect.
- The only place to hear this information is to be in the field every day talking with prospective buyers which is what a Realtor® does.
A great Realtor® also knows that not all buyers are the same.
- They will be able to read a buyer and know how to relate to their particular personality in a way that will entice them to make an offer. You don’t want someone that will just turn a key and point out that they are currently looking at a bathroom.
- They should be well trained in sales. They should be able to handle objections that buyers come up about things in your home by immediately explaining to the buyer how your home is perfect for them.
- A Realtor® will be your eyes and ears on the ground and you need them to be passionate about your selling your home. They should be utilizing the newest technology available today to relate to the increasingly tech-savvy buyer in the marketplace. And you should be getting great responsive service from him or her, with regular updates and plenty of helpful suggestions, not just a sign in the front yard.
7 Step Guide To SOLD
Call me for free staging advice: Donna Tripp PA (407) 416-0445