“You never get a second chance to make a first impression.” This statement could not be right then in real estate. Buyers typically start their search for a new home online. The very first impression of the house to prospective buyers will be images and videos. A good real estate photographer will take photos and videos from the best angles. Certain undesirable or unsightly things can be omitted from the images and videos. While the photographer can hide or eliminate these issues, they can not be hidden during a showing. Many of these things can be remedied quickly and free or inexpensively.
Remove Personal Items
Remove all personal items from your home. Things like family and personal photos and taxidermy specimens should always be removed. Personal items make it harder for prospective buyers to see themselves in the new home. You may need temporary storage to store the personal items offsite. More neutral homes will sell faster and at higher prices.
Declutter and Organize
If there is one thing that will turn off a buyer more than just about anything, it is a messy and disorganized house. Minimize items on shelves, fireplace mantels, tables, countertops, and in closets. Use the concept of less is more. Lack of storage is a concern of almost every buyer. Remove half the closet’s contents and neatly organizing the remaining materials. An uncluttered closet will give the appearance of more space. Buyers will peak into closets and cabinets, so be sure to keep them clean and organized. All too often, home sellers will jam excess items into a closet as they declutter the rest of the home. But when sellers view the house, they will see the home as having insufficient storage and closet space. To help in decluttering and keep closets from getting packed, it is a good idea to box up these excess items and temporarily store them. This will save you some time when it comes to moving because these items will already be packed. Keep It Clean Everyone has different levels of what they consider clean. But when it comes to selling a house, it should be able to pass a white glove test at anytime the home is for sale. This level of clean will be sure to meet nearly every prospective buyer’s standards for cleanliness. Keep tables, and any other surfaces dusted, all countertops neat and free of clutter. The home should be cleaned more frequently so that it will show ready at any given time. Flooring is a critical selling point for home buyers. Hard surfaces are the most popular and need to be in good repair. Tile grout should be clean, and the hardwood floors need to be in good repair. Id there are any repairs that the floor requires, it would be advisable to repair them before listing the home. Carpets should be professionally cleaned and stretched to look their best.
Deodorize The Home
Most homeowners are unaware of smells within their homes. We all grow accustomed to smells around us and literally can not detect them. Smells like smoke, pets, and moldy, damp odors can become normal to the occupants of the home, but a huge turn off to buyers. Candles and deodorizers can try to mask the smells, but the best solution is removing the source of the odors. Pet smells often come from carpets and fabrics. A professional carpet and fabric cleaner will go a long way to eliminating these odors. If you own cats, the litter boxes must be kept in a discrete location and cleaned daily. Lawns should also be kept free of dog droppings. If mold and mildew smell is an issue, you will need to locate the cause of the moisture problem and eliminate it. Then the scent can be addressed by cleaning and in most cases, paint. If mold is present, especially black mold, it is a good idea to leave the clean up to a professional. Mold can present serious health concerns if not properly handled. For more on proper and safe mold cleanup, read here. Smoke odors typically need an application of paint on walls and ceilings to get rid of the smell. When painting over smoke contaminated walls, it is best to prime the walls with a primer special made sealer for smoke damage. This applies to smoke odor from tobacco smoke as well as cooking and woodfire smoke.
New Paint Job
While we are on the subject of paint, if your home’s paint or the walls are showing signs of wear, it would be a good idea to make the wall repairs and repaint the walls or ceilings as needed. If you have any rooms that have very vibrant colors, you may consider repainting them as well. Another simple fix to attract more buyers would be to remove wallpaper. Wallpaper is no longer in style and makes the home feel dated. Removing the wallpaper and applying a coat of paint will make the home attract more buyers. The walls to your home should be painted in a light neutral color to appeal to the most buyers. Whites are too bright, and any dark colors will make rooms feel small and unwelcoming. While bright or pastel colors well turn off more buyers than they will attract. The best colors are neutral earth tones. Tip: Pick a color by asking the associate at the paint store what colors are currently the most popular. Fixing Minor Issues Take a walk through the home and note anything that is showing signs of wear or damage, things that are broken or missing, or look outdated. Chances are these issues that weren’t a big deal and are likely inexpensive fixes. But they will show buyers how well the home was maintained. Things like window and sliding door screens, chipped tiles, broken, damaged, or outdated door handle or cabinet pulls are not expensive or difficult to replace. Repairing them will go a long way to showing your home a lot better.
Address Minor Issues
If possible, make minor repairs such as replacing chipped tile, broken door handles, and torn window screens. Make these repairs before putting your home on the market. By updating kitchen handles and pulls, it can often make a dated kitchen look newer. The fewer problems your home has, the more attractive it will be to buyers. This will help you to sell your home faster. The one thing I see most often is lights out. Make sure all the lights in the housework. Buyers will notice when a lot of lights are not working, but a home inspector will notice and record every light that does not work. Have The Home Inspected A home inspection may feel like just another task or something else to pay for, but Hampton believes this isn’t a step to skip over. “A home inspection goes a long way and will save you time in the long run. Performing a preliminary home inspection allows you to catch potential issues early. You can fix them before any potential clients step foot inside.” A home in good repair will be more appealing to buyers, but more importantly, it can help achieve a higher listing price.
Get A Home Inspection
It is a good idea to have your house inspected before listing. Buyers will have the home inspected before closing. Issues discovered during the inspection period will often need to be corrected before closing. The pre-listing inspection report will prepare you for the repairs that may need to be addressed. Some more extensive repairs may be negotiated with the buyers.
Many homes are sold through FHA and VA loan programs. Both have inspection requirements for eligibility. Make sure you hire a home inspector that can let you know what improvement or repairs will be needed. If your buyer is purchasing with one of these programs, you will have an idea of the required repairs. Being prepared will cut down on the stress of selling your home and let you be more prepared.
Stepping Up The Curb Appeal
The first in-person impression of your home will be when they pull up to the house. The lawn should be green and freshly cut. Trees and shrubs should be trimmed and well maintained. You don’t need to spend tens of thousands of dollars to make the curb appeal look amazing. But here in southern California, so many people do not water their lawn sufficiently. If your yard is brown, increase the watering a few weeks before listing to help green it up. If there are dead plants around the house, remove them. If the shrubs are overgrown, then trim them back into shape. In the event, you do not know where to start. Talk with a professional gardener, our listing agent, for direction. The professional gardener can take care of the landscaping concerns in short order.
Last But Not Least: Spend an hour with your listing agent
You should speak with your listing agent to help you prepare your home to sell quickly and for top dollar. Your listing agent will be able to help point out some of the necessary repairs to make your home as marketable as possible while preventing you from overspending on items that will not help you increase the home’s marketability.