By Judy Savage
It’s often tough to have to sell your home, to leave the neighborhood and all the friends you have come to know and love. But when there is no choice but to leave – to sell your home – here are some tips that I have found over the years that will help maximize the return on your investment.
First of all, when trying to sell your home, sometimes you need to turn the tables, both literally and physically. You need to change your mindset and look at your home through the eyes of the buyer.
Then you may really need to turn the tables and even the rest of your furniture to stage your home to sell.
When the buyers first pull into your driveway with their Realtor, they are focused on “curb appeal.” Is the yard trimmed, weeded and the mulch fresh? Is the siding dirty, or worse, is the paint peeling? While the Realtor is still opening the lockbox, the buyer is standing on the porch evaluating the condition of the front door and the porch: All the more reason to have those areas sparkling and inviting. If the porch and door are dirty and in need of painting, the enthusiasm for going inside is definitely dampened. You want buyers to feel excited and to be anxiously anticipating what is behind the door.
Behind the door, less is more. Remember, you are selling your home, not your “stuff”. Everyone has heard they need to de-clutter, but what does that really mean? It does not mean make a home sterile or bland. Yes, do remove most of your personal pictures, but you can leave a few. Collections are a no-no. Your set of Asian vases may be beautiful but do you want your potential buyer to remember the vases and not the gorgeous bay window in the room where they were displayed? When buyers focus on your things, they miss the architectural features of the home that should make an impression on them.
Then there is color. My favorite saying is one I learned from a world famous staging expert, Barbara Swartz, “Buyers buy what they can see, NOT what it can be.” Color is a very personal thing and if people see something they don’t like, very few have the imagination to see what it can be. Neutral tones are always best, but something with a little color is better than just white or “builder beige” walls. Antique white, taupe, coffee colored or grey walls can blend with most any taste. The same goes for carpet. When I walk in a house with blue carpet, I know the buyer will have problem. It’s one of those colors that’s great if your décor is blue, but what if your sofa is green?
The other deal killer is wallpaper. Yes, there was a time when I had every room in my house wallpapered, but that was 1988. In 2015, wallpaper dates a house, and worse yet, people are scared to death to take it down. If it wasn’t put up correctly it can be a mess. You say you don’t want to take it down? Well, neither does the buyer.
Also, invest in a new bedspread and towels. You can take them with you to your new home and they are well worth the small investment to freshen up your bedrooms and bathrooms. Buy a small basket to put all your toiletries in each morning and then hide them under the sink or in a closet. Buyers don’t want to look at your razor, deodorant, or hair spray. Your bathroom counters should look like no one lives there.
Then, there are the pets. Remember, if I can smell it, I can’t sell it. Many people are not animal lovers and the slightness odor of a pet is a turn off. If the dog has scratched the front or back door get that repaired. Put that litter box out of sight and make sure it cleaned prior to each showing. Pick up the dogs bowls off the floor and those big bags of food stored away.
Bottom line is that you don’t live in a house the way you sell a house. All of this may sound tough and many Realtors don’t have the courage to be up front to tell you what you must do to prepare your home for sale. It took me a number of years to have the confidence to be frank with my clients concerning what they really needed to do to make their home more appealing. If you aren’t getting the kind of advice you think you need you might consider hiring a professional stager to help you prepare your home.
A well staged home that welcomes buyers creates excitement and urgency and in turn that means a quicker sale at a higher price . . . and isn’t that what it’s all about?
For more information, contact the Savage Team at 424-951-9244.