There are SO many things you can do to vastly improve the appearance of your home for potential buyers…and many of them are free or very inexpensive.
The most important variable is your commitment to sell. It can be difficult to set aside the time to stage, and even more difficult to let go of your own personal preferences and stage your property for mass consumption. Take a good look at every area of the home, a OBJECTIVE and UNBIASED look. Sometimes it can even be helpful to snap a photo of the outside and of every room in your home to see what stands out in the photos. First things first— clutter. Clutter covering countertops, mantels, floors and furniture is not only distracting for buyers but many times covers up great features in your home. So, if you are not going to need it in the next few months before you move, box it up. Items that you do need often should be conveniently stored away, close to access but out of sight. If you have kids in the home have them choose a certain amount of toys to stay out, and assure them they will be reunited with them at the new place. In the kitchen, take a really good look and edit the items on the counter down to a bare minimum, store away the fridge magnets and banish the state spoons collection. Elsewhere, remove personal photos- buyers need to envision themselves enjoying life in your home, not see you at Thanksgiving dinner with Uncle Bob in their new dining room. Now, this is always a touchy subject- but religious and political items should be removed as well. There will be a place for those in your new home, but others have different faiths and views- and you are not trying to convert people or express your views- you are trying to sell your home. Hunting trophies are also a huge no-no. Are there pet beds lying about? Make sure they are put away before the photos are taken for the marketing and for showings- if you can’t slide them away each time at least make sure they are washed frequently.
Now that everything is tucked away—it is time to SCRUB, scrub, scrub!! From top to bottom make sure the property gleams, and don’t skimp on the elbow grease. Drapes or blinds that are dirty or dusty need to be cleaned, carpets or tile that is dingy should be scrubbed, and a MUST…wash the windows. Please don’t forget the grout in the bathrooms or the toilet. This is also a great time to change out the old shower curtain for a fresh, plain white one, and purchasing some fluffy white towels to hang up (Ross, Marshalls, and TJ Maxx are great stores for excellent quality towels at inexpensive prices). Don’t forget the oven or the inside of the fridge. Outdoors sweep the walkways and patio, trim the plants (and get rid of dead of dying ones) and touch up the paint on the trim if needed. If the front door is dirty, wash it. If it looks really bad- paint it. If the handle or lock is in disrepair, replace it. You never have a second chance to make a first impression, and the front door welcomes people in. Make sure that their hands don’t stick to the handle from Timmy’s jam sandwich when they open it.
If there are things you know are broken or in need of repair, this is the time to fix them. Leaky faucets, running toilets, stuck windows, peeling paint and anything else that won’t cost you a lot to fix-until it shows up on the request for repairs from the buyer that you pay that a licensed contractor to fix the items. YIKES. These guys are not cheap—so do what you can now.
Final touch— but one of the most important ones, and I can’t stress this enough— ODOR. (Hint— go for a walk around the block, breathing deeply. Then walk into your house and deeply inhale. You might be surprised. We all get accustomed to the scent of our own home.) If there is an odor— locate the source of it and remedy it, no ifs, ands or buts. Don’t rely on a strategic air freshener in an attempt to cover the smell. I have had buyers walk into a house that smelled like rotting food, cigarettes or pets, spin on their heel and walk right out without finishing the tour. With the latter two, these smells are HARD to get out and buyers know it. Eradicate the problem and they will never even know there was a smell (Keep Kitty, just scrub out her box and change her litter constantly). Make certain that you don’t create new odors and air out the house if you cook foods with pungent aromas the night before a showing.
With some distressed properties on the market (most in pretty poor condition), and other sellers who either were not advised by their agent to clean or simply don’t want to do a little for a big return, following these tips WILL make your property stand out. It will show like a dream, and even if the first buyers don’t make an offer, chances are the showing agent will remember how great your place looks and bring other buyers.
* You might also like this post about inexpensive ways to perk up your home for sale with high return on investment.
After you have selected us to list your home, we will set up a separate appointment where we can go through the home room by room and make suggestions, as well as assisting you in staging your home for selling. In addition, you will receive an “Emergency Home Showing” checklist that you can use when your home is being shown on short notice. Going the extra mile for you is business as usual for us-—and we can’t wait to make you our next thrilled client!
Selling a home in Oro Valley, Marana, Tucson or Catalina? We are full time real estate agents in based in Oro Valley and serving the surrounding areas—and have assisted hundreds of sellers and buyers locally. Call or email us anytime!
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