Buyers develop an opinion about your home within a few seconds of walking in the front door. You only have one chance to make a good first impression and the clock starts ticking as soon as they drive up to the house. Is the front of the house neat, clean and welcoming? Consider adding some extra landscaping or potted flowers. Buyers spend a minute or so standing on the porch while the agent unlocks the door. They have time to take a good look at the front of the house. Be sure to remove cobwebs, pressure wash the house and have a door knob and lock in proper working order. It's very aggravating fighting with an old door lock while my clients are standing out in the elements. Don't underestimate attention to detail, especially regarding the outside of the house and the first several rooms buyers will see.
Clutter Does Not Equal Value
Buyers are looking for a good value in their next home. First impressions are important. Everything should be neat, clean and uncluttered. You might even need to start packing before your home is on the market. Less is definitely more! Buyers need to be able to see each room and envision themselves living there. Buyers are not stopping by to admire your collections and nick knacks. It will be well worth the time and effort to pack away all unnecessary items before you open the door to buyers. Also limit personal photos and children's artwork. If your home seems too personalized to you and your family, buyers will have trouble feeling at home in YOUR space. If you have any deferred maintenance items, take care of them if at all possible. For every thing a buyer notices that is not right, they wonder how many other undesirable aspects of the home are hidden.
Kitchens and Bathrooms
The kitchen and bathrooms are typically the most important rooms in the home. Thoroughly clean these rooms and keep items setting on the counter to a minimum. Clean out drawers and cabinets. Serious buyers will look in drawers, cabinets and closets. You want buyers to have the impression of room to spare not a home overflowing with stuff.
There are some small things you can do that make a big impact with buyers. I encourage you to consider improvements that don't cost much. Professional carpet cleaning usually costs just a few hundred dollars but can likely bring out years worth of lif. If your walls were recently painted, touch up paint might accomplish the same result as completely repainting plus save time and money. You never know if the next owner of your home might have a special wall color preference or want wood flooring where you currently have carpet. For these reasons, it can be wise to avoid replacing flooring or counter tops if possible. Keep in mind that there are times when it is necessary to repaint and replace materials. Look at other homes that are comparable to yours in price, size and location. Your Realtor can help compare your home with it's competition. If other homes in your area and price range have solid surface counter tops, a six-burner cook top and hardwood flooring, you might need to bring your house up to fit buyer expectation. Just remember that it's difficult to picks colors and materials that will appeal to every buyer. If considerable improvements are necessary to compete with other available homes, warm neutral tones are usually safe choices that will appeal to many buyers.
Price is the single most important aspect to cause a home to sell. If you can't make needed improvements or properly prepare your home for sale, there is a right price that will expedite the sale of the home. Even if your home is staged to perfection, keep in mind that pricing your home too high might scare away buyers. At the very least, an over priced home will help the competition sell. By comparison, other homes will seem like a better value.
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