So you’re thinking of selling a house. Whether you want to sell within a few weeks, or sometime next year, it pays (literally – you’ll make more money if your home is well prepped for a sale) to plan ahead and put your home through a minor workout. Staging is just part of the plan. Read on for tips to help you prepare for selling success before the sign goes up in the yard…
1. Scale back on furniture because square footage = $$$. If your modest 1400 square foot home is packed to the gills with overscale furniture, your home will feel cramped and buyers will be less willing to pay what you are asking for the home. Keep what you need and what makes sense, sell or store what you no longer need or can live without during a sale.
2. Take yard work seriously to boost curb appeal. If your flowerbeds are hosting weeds and the grass really is greener on the other side of the fence, invest now in professional yard maintenance. If you have the time and knowledge to bring your yard up to snuff, go for it. If you are planning a spring sale, now is the time to take care of your lawn so it will pay dividends on a home sale next year. Curb appeal matters to buyers, and a schlumpy lawn could mean a lower sale price.
3. Ask a forthcoming friend to complete a walk through of your home. This is not the same as working with a professional home stager, but hearing an honest opinion from a friend or neighbor about the state of clutter or sale-readiness can be a good first step. Take notes, and ask your pal to be brutal. You won’t get every ounce of feedback from buyers who see your home, and hearing an outsider’s opinion before you go on the market can be invaluable.
4. Clean areas you might normally ignore. Martha Stewart may not be viewing your home, but most buyers are more stringent in their critique of a home for sale then they are of their own cleaning standards. Clean door knobs. Clean the doors themselves, including the top of doors and door frames where dust may collect. Clean baseboards. Clean light switches and switch plates. Clean the microwave & oven. Clean the fridge – like it or not, they’ll look in there. If your home is not spic-n-span clean, buyers may wonder what other dingy surprises are waiting for them.
5. Have your windows professionally cleaned. Many people never hire a professional window cleaner while they are living in a home, but you are remiss in denying yourself the brightness and clarity of sparkling clean windows. A professional will remove the screens to clean the windows inside and out, and also clean the tracks. If your home will be on the market soon, you may consider leaving the screens off the windows after cleaning, at least on the main level. Shiny windows with no screens let in even more light and enhance the view, and this can really help your house look alive for showings.
6. Tackle the garage now, while there’s still time. Not every buyer cares whether you could eat off the garage floor in a prospective home, but you will potentially sway a buyer on the fence if your garage is as move-in-ready as the rest of the house. Clean and declutter this space as ruthlessly as you do the rest of your home, and consider moving longer term storage out of the garage and into a rented storage unit while your home is on the market to give the garage a more spacious feel. Add wall and ceiling mounted storage to take bikes and yard tools off the floor, and if possible, leave the garage empty during showings. The fact that you can just barely squeeze a suburban into your single car garage won’t impress buyers, it will just make them wonder whether their own SUV will fit in the space.
Whether you want to sell your property as soon as possible or you’re considering a move down the road, it pays to plan ahead. Call me or drop a line – I’m happy to help you plan for the future – whether that’s next month or next year.
The Meyers Group