Plan ahead and consult your Realtor to avoid potentially expen$ive mistakes during your home sale. This article is Part II in my series on Avoiding Pitfalls when Selling your Home.
1. Clean = Green.
A tidy home will impact the final sales price; so will a cluttered or dirty home. If your aim is top dollar, talk to your agent about staging or consider consulting a professional stager. Leaving all your tchotchkes and doodads out for potential buyers to trip over – physically or visually – means leaving dollars on the table, too. Clear away clutter, have carpets and windows cleaned, and depersonalize your space. A small investment of time and dollars on the front end will impact the sales price of your home.
2. Buyers want to Envision Themselves in “Their” New Home – so get out of their way!
All things Broncos. The color red. Vintage paintings of clowns. Angel figurines. Commemorative plates. Fake flowers. Oh – the things we love to collect! While you are decluttering your space, consider how much of your personality is infused in your home. You’ve loved your home, and really, truly lived in it. The memories are wonderful – and you may have to live with those for awhile and let go of that Jimi Hendrix poster. When Buyers walk into your home, they aren’t looking at “your” home – they are seeing what their lives will be like in this home – and you aren’t part of the picture. Don’t let your personality, family pictures, sports memorabilia, religious paraphernalia or taste in color turn away Buyers. Again, your Realtor and/or a professional home staging professional will be able to guide your choices in this department.
3. Selling a Home is not about Convenience
Know why you are selling your property, and cling to that motivation when things get hairy. You will be interrupted by a showing in the middle of dinner. You may have to wake earlier than usual to vacate the premises for showings. Your dog/cat/scorpion will probably be in the way and have to be moved when potential Buyer’s are dropping by. Bathrooms will need to be kept clean, the sink free of dishes and beds made. Consider how you would keep your home if royalty was visiting today – then behave that way. The person(s) who buy your house are King and Queen for a day; in fact, for the entirety of the transaction. You’ll need to be on alert and keep the house ready (or close to it) throughout the showing process, and often beyond. Remember – there is a reason you are selling this home. Remind yourself of this often.
4. Onerous Odors Can Stink Up Your Sale
Do you smoke? Have pets? Cook spicy foods? Light highly scented floral candles? You adore Fluffy and Fido (and that cigarette after dinner!), but scent evokes powerful emotion – especially in a potential Buyer about to plunk down a large investment on a home purchase. When cleaning your home, include carpets, drapes, furniture, bedding – anything likely to soak up potentially unpleasant scents. Invest in plug-in air filters, move the litter box to an out-of-the-way spot if possible, smoke outside only for a month + in advance of listing your home, and hold off on cooking foods that will leave strong odors behind. And PLEASE – don’t light stinky candles in every room to cover up less pleasant smells. Stink + Phony Flowers still stinks. *A lightly scented vanilla, citrus or cinnamon candle in the kitchen or a small bathroom (if seasonally appropriate) can be a nice touch, but covering up stinky problems with overpowering perfume is not a solution – it simply draws more attention to the problem. *Be sure to practice safety and common sense whenever using lit candles at home.
5. Little Undone Projects could Cost You BIG TIME
Deferred maintenance becomes a costlier problem once a potential Buyer catches wind of it. Repairs can be red flags in the Buyer’s mind, causing him/her to wonder what else you have left undone. At Inspection Objection time, the Buyer is likely to pad the amount requested to cover repairs to account for the concern that it may be a costlier repair than anticipated, or because they are worried they’ll uncover other issues once they move in. Save yourself the headache – and the cost – by taking care of necessary repairs before you list your home. There are exceptions (talk this over with your Realtor), but most maintenance issues will be a drain on the sale of your home and should be tackled before your Listing goes live.
Stay tuned for Part III of this series, and drop me a line with your questions about Buying, Selling or Investing in Real Estate.