First impressions are important when it comes to selling a home. Many buyers decide within the first few minutes whether or not they like a property. There are easy and inexpensive ways to clearly differentiate your home so that it appeals to a wide range of buyers and in return yields a fast and profitable sale.
Several of my recent listings have gone under contract after only a few days on the market. Listing a home at the right price is key, but right up there with price is presenting your home in its best light. I recommend following these six important steps to make a great first impression on your potential buyers and sell your home quickly:
- De-clutter. Buyers want to envision a home with their own possessions—not yours. Remove half of everything from the home; this includes the closets, drawers, cabinets, countertops and garage. Remove family photos, collections, and knick knacks. Consider renting a storage space to store extra furniture, clothing, boxes and other items that you don’t need on a regular basis. Other options are to have a yard sale or donate your unneeded items to a local charity.
- Painting and Fixing. When sprucing up your home for sale, sometimes it’s the small details that can make the biggest impact. Painting dull, dirty or chipped register covers or light switch plates can give any room a quick pick-me-up, in less than an hour. It’s also important to either repaint walls where needed or at least touch up high-use areas, as well as fixing cracks in walls or ceilings.
- Clean and Shine. When you are showing your house, it can never be clean enough. Make sure ceilings are swept for cobwebs and the house and furniture is dusted. Clean woodwork, window sills, banisters, shower doors and doorjambs. A home should smell clean, too. That means no noticeable odor—no pet scent, no stale cooking smells and no cigarette smoke. Remember the old story about the smell of baking bread or steaming cinnamon potpourri? Today’s real estate pros say it’s a no-no. Ditto the scented candles and air freshener. Some people have sensitivities to these, and certain scents can be a big turn-off.
- Staging. Consider hiring a home staging company to professionally present your home. It is likely worth every penny spent. They prepare and stage your home inside and out. If you’re on a tight budget, consider at least hiring a professional home stager for a consultation visit, at which time they can give you tips on staging your home using your own furnishings.
- Price It Right. In the current real estate market, more so than ever before, it is extremely important to list your home at a salable price. Commonly, sellers want to list their properties over market value. The house then languishes on the market for months, and eventually the seller cuts the listing price; or worse, it never gets sold. Trust the advice of your REALTOR® when deciding what your home’s list price should be to ensure the quickest sale possible.
- Make Showings Easy. With many homes being on the market, it’s vital that agents and their prospective buyers have easy access to visit your home. It is best to allow the agent to install a lockbox on your property for easy access. If you’re still living in your home while it is being marketed, you can instruct your agent to give you an hour’s notice before showing. Ensuring ease of showing your home will greatly enhance the number of showings you will get.
When it comes to first impressions, cleaning, organizing, and home preparation can pay off big. After completing the steps above, walk up to your home as though you’ve never seen it before. What do you notice? How do you feel about what you see? Does the home seem inviting? Is it well maintained? Would you want to buy this home? Your answer should be an enthusiastic yes!