Disconnect Your Emotions
conversing with real estate agents, you will often find that when they talk to
you about buying real estate, they will refer to your purchase as a
“home.” Yet if you are selling property, they will often refer to it
as a “house.” There is a reason for this. Buying real estate is often
an emotional decision, but when selling real estate you need to remove emotion
from the equation.
You need to think of your house as a marketable commodity. Property. Real estate. Your goal is to get others to see it as their potential home, not yours. If you do not consciously make this decision, you can inadvertently create a situation where it takes longer to sell your property.
Make Your Home “Anonymous”
The first step in getting your home ready to sell is to “de-personalize” it. If there is a new home sales tract near your home, go visit. It doesn’t matter what size the homes are. What you will find are some wonderfully (but sparsely) furnished homes that anyone could live in — with the emphasis on “anyone.” They are anonymous. There may be a baseball glove in the boy’s room, but no family photos on the walls.
reason you want to make your home “anonymous” is because you want
buyers to view it as their potential
home. When a potential homebuyer sees your family photos hanging on the wall,
it puts your own brand on the home and momentarily shatters their illusions
about living in the house themselves.
family photos, sports trophies, collectible items, knick-knacks, and souvenir
in a box. Rent a storage area for a few months and put the box in the storage
unit. Do not just put the box in the attic, basement, garage or a closet. Part
of preparing a house for sale is to remove “clutter,” and that is the
next step in preparing your house for sale.
Uncluttering the House
the hardest thing for most people to do because they are emotionally attached
to everything in the house. After years of living in the same home, clutter
collects in such a way that may not be evident to the homeowner. However, it
does affect the way buyers see the home, even if you do not realize it.
collects on shelves, counter tops, drawers, closets, garages, attics, and
basements. You want as much open clear space as possible, so every extra little
thing needs to be cleared away.
step back and pretend you are a buyer. Let a friend help point out areas of
clutter, as long as you can accept their views without getting defensive. Let
your agent help you, too.
kitchen is a good place to start removing clutter, because it is an easy place
get everything off the counters. Everything. Even the toaster. Put the toaster
in a cabinet and take it out when you use it. Find a place where you can store
everything in cabinets and drawers. Of course, you may notice that you do not
have cabinet space to put everything. Clean them out. The dishes, pots and pans
that rarely get used? Put them in a box and put that box in storage.
will open all your cabinets and drawers, especially in the kitchen. They want
to be sure there is enough room for their “stuff.” If your kitchen
cabinets, pantries, and drawers look jammed full, it sends a negative message
to the buyer and does not promote an image of plentiful storage space. The best
way to do that is to have as much “empty space” as possible.
reason, if you have a “junk drawer,” get rid of the junk. If you have
a rarely used crock pot, put it in storage. Do this with every cabinet and
drawer. Create open space.
have a large amount of foodstuffs crammed into the shelves or pantry, begin
using them – especially canned goods. Canned goods are heavy and you don’t want
to be lugging them to a new house, anyway – or paying a mover to do so. Let
what you have on the shelves determine your menus and use up as much as you
the sink is very critical, too. Make sure the area beneath the sink is as empty
as possible, removing all extra cleaning supplies. You should scrub the area
down as well, and determine if there are any tell-tale signs of water leaks
that may cause a homebuyer to hesitate in buying your home.
are great for accumulating clutter, though you may not think of it as clutter.
We are talking about extra clothes and shoes – things you rarely wear but
cannot bear to be without. Do without these items for a couple of months by
putting them in a box, because these items can make your closets look
“crammed full.” Sometimes there are shoeboxes full of
“stuff” or other accumulated personal items, too.
people have too much furniture in certain rooms – not too much for your own
personal living needs – but too much to give the illusion of space that a
homebuyer would like to see. You may want to tour some builders’ models to see
how they place furniture in the model homes. Observe how they place furniture
in the models so you get some ideas on what to remove and what to leave in your
Storage Area Clutter
garages, attics, and sheds accumulate not only clutter, but junk. These areas
should be as empty as possible so that buyers can imagine what they would do
with the space. Remove anything that is not essential and take it to the
a garage sale.
Costs of Repairs
do anything expensive, such as remodeling. If possible, use savings to pay for
any repairs and improvements – do not go charging up credit cards or obtaining
new loans. Remember that part of selling a house is also preparing to buy your
next home. You do not want to do anything that will affect your credit scores
or hurt your ability to qualify for your next mortgage.
Plumbing and Fixtures
looking at a house, prospective home buyers often do not really know what to
do. So they play with things. They flick light switches. They open everything
with a handle. They turn on all the faucets and flush all the toilets. Having
nice shiny fixtures makes an impression.
sink fixtures should look shiny and new. If this cannot be accomplished by
cleaning, buy new ones. If you don’t buy something fancy, this can be
accomplished inexpensively. Make sure all the hot and cold water knobs are easy
to turn and that the faucets do not leak. If they do, replace the washers.
sounds like hard work, but it’s pretty easy — even for the inexperienced.
Ceilings, Walls and Painting
can be your best investment when selling your home. It is not a very expensive
operation and often you can do it yourself. Do not choose colors based on your
own preferences, but based on what would appeal to the widest possible number
of buyers. You should almost always choose an off-white color because white
helps your rooms appear bright and spacious.
Carpet and Flooring
your carpet appears old and worn, or it is definitely an outdated style or
color, you probably should do nothing more than hire a good carpet cleaner. If
you do choose to replace it, do so with something inexpensive in a fairly
or replace broken floor tiles, but do not spend a lot of money on anything.
Remember, you are not fixing up the place for yourself. You want to move. Your
goal is simply to have few negative impressions upon those who may want to
purchase your property.
The Exterior of the House
homebuyer’s first impression is based on his or her view of the house from the
real estate agent’s car. They call that first impression “curb
a walk across the street and take a good look at your house. Look at nearby
houses, too, and see how yours compares. Then it may be time to go to work.
decision is whether to paint or not to paint. When you look at your house from
across the street, does it look tired and faded? If so, a paint job may be in
order. It is often a very good investment and really spruces up the appearance
of a house, adding dollars to offers from potential homebuyers.
choosing a color, it should be a color that fits well in your neighborhood. Of
course, the color also depends on the style of your house, too. For some
reason, different shades of yellow seem to illicit the best response in
homebuyers, whether it is in the trim or the basic color of the house.
the roof, if you know your roof leaks, repair it. If you do not repair a leaky
roof, you are going to have to disclose it and the buyer will want an entire
landscaping at least average for the neighborhood? If it is not, buy a few
bushes and plant them. Do not put in trees. Mature trees are expensive, and you
will not get back your investment, and immature trees do not really add much to
the appearance value of the home.
have an area for flowers, buy mature colorful flowers and plant them. They add
a splash of vibrancy and color, creating a favorable first impression.
lawn should be evenly cut, freshly edged, well watered, and free of brown
spots. Always rake up loose leaves and grass cuttings.