Sell Your House

Sell Your House

We have all seen the TV shows where the crew comes into a house that just won’t sell, parade a bunch of people through, make the owner listen to the snide remarks, fix up the home then like magic, it sells. Problem is none of the owners seem to realize exactly what the problem is until a stranger points it out. I often wonder if their agent says anything to them about the clutter, color or smell. I would hope my agent would speak up but then again, I hope I know better after watching many, many hours of these shows and years spent working in the real estate field. Question is- do you know how to make your house buyer ready?

Clutter Bug

The first thing you should do is de-clutter. It’s really not as painful as most people make it out to be. And let’s be honest, unless you plan on renting your home from the new owners, you will be moving out anyways. It’s time to pack.

Remove anything you do not need. Winter clothes in the closet even though its summer? Pack them up. Baby items your toddler once used? Pack them or better yet consign them. Wedding china you never use? Pack it up. Aunt Sally’s ugly afghan Christmas gift? Donate it to Goodwill. Anything you will not use in the next month, pack, trash, sell or donate. Just get it out of your house. Hiding things in a closet may work for unexpected house guests, but buyers will open every cabinet and every closet. The more cluttered an area is, the less likely buyers will be able to envision your house as their new home.

This same concept goes for personal photos/items. The wall collage of your children/grandchildren/etc. is cute and almost every home in America has one. But you aren’t selling your home. You are selling your house. Buyers don’t want to see your photos where their photos will go. They want to see blank, personality-free walls. Remove your photos and rest assured that soon they will be hanging up in your new home.

Freshen Up

Now that you have de-cluttered, let’s talk about color. You may love your lime green walls or floral wallpaper. But most buyers will not. There is a color out there called “real estate beige” better known to most people as “off white.” Buy this beloved color and paint it up. Neutral is key here. If off white does not work with the room or your furniture, then find a nice neutral color that will, but nothing too bright or too dark. If you have a lot of rooms to paint, consider a eco-friendly paint. The low odor won’t offend people or cause sinus issues for you.

Speaking of odor, do you have pets or smoke inside? Then your house stinks. Sorry, but it’s true. I have 3 furbabies myself and I know when they have been outside recently because my house smells like dog. It’s a fact of life as a pet owner. If you can part with your critters for a brief time, then see if someone will pet-sit them until your house sells. If not, be sure to vacuum daily, spray an air/fabric neutralizer daily and keep them crated when your house is shown. If you smoke inside, stop immediately, wash all fabrics and walls, and spray air/fabric neutralizer to eliminate the odors. For both pet owners and smokers, consider steam cleaning any carpets you have. This will help remove deep down odors that you don’t even notice anymore but buyers will.

Show & Sell

Now it’s time to present your house to homebuyers. Whenever possible, try having something fresh and inviting out when your house is shown (fresh flowers & fruit are always a nice touch). Keep the thermostat at a good, constant temperature. Too hot or cold and buyers won’t linger. A good solid temperature helps prolong the “shopping experience.” For that same reason, make sure you are not present during showings. Buyers want to see themselves in a home, not the current owner. Also, if you're there, you might feel the need to tell them all about the quirks of your home. This mistake can cost you in the end because the potential buyer now has leverage which can result in a lower offer. And lastly, don’t forget to run the vacuum, clean off the counters and wash, dry & put away any dishes before you leave in the morning. First impressions are everything.

By preparing your house for buyers, you are now one step in front of the competition. And when it comes to selling your house, that step can be the difference between an offer and long days on the market.

Need more tips on preparing your house to sell? Ryanna Avery is not only our Team Coordinator, but she is an Accredited Staging Professional. Post your questions/comments below and get her personal, professional response!

Written by Mary Beth Tice, Team Gale Marketing Assistant

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Posted in Seller Tips on Apr 19, 2011