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Your house typically never looks better than when you are going to sell it. Selling a home is not based on luck. In order to sell your home more quickly for top dollar you should prep and stage your house. Careful planning and “know how” to professionally spruce up your home is the best way to have home buyers scurrying for their checkbooks. Here is how to prep a house and turn it into an irresistible and marketable home.
Now it is a commodity - Disassociate Yourself From Your Home.
It is now a product to be sold not your “home.” What does John Q Public want to buy? Focus on what most buyers want in order to sell your house.
You need to take the emotions out of the process - “let go” and focus on the task at hand which is maximizing the value of the house.
Visualize selling your home and handing over the keys and all the manuals to the new owner.
Look toward the future.
Make it look like a HOTEL - No Personal Items
You want the potential buyers to be able to visualize their own belongings in the house. In order to most effectively do this you should pack up those personal photographs and family heirlooms. Buyers have a hard time seeing past your personal items, artifacts, sport memorabilia, collections of figurines or dolls. You don't want them to be distracted. You want buyers to say, "I can see myself living here." You don't want to make any buyer ask, "I wonder what kind of people live here?"
Have you used it in a year? - No More Clutter!
Truly examine the items in your home. People collect an amazing quantity of junk. Consider this: if you haven't used it in over a year, you probably don't need it. Think of this as the purge prior to the packing process which will occur when your house sells. This will help you in the long run when you are packing up.
Consider donating any items you do not need or throw it away.
Book shelves should hold a few non-personal items but be mostly empty. Remove all books from bookcases.
Remove anything that is personal, is a knickknack, or would indicate any affiliations. People remember book titles they see on your shelves to learn about you.
Remove everything from the kitchen counters.
Any essential items used daily should be put in a small box that can be stored in a closet when not in use.
Perception is Reality - It Is So Much Bigger
Buyers are nosy, they will snoop and open closet and cabinet doors. Rearrange bedroom closets and kitchen cabinets to be neat and orderly. If buyer’s see neat and orderly closets they tend to think the house has been taken well care of. As well, houses tend to look larger when everything is tidy and free of junk. This means:
Categorize spice jars - alphabetically or by sweet vs. savory
Stack dishes neatly.
Cup handles should all face the same way
In the closets - hang like items together - all shirts buttoned and facing the same direction, all pants, suits, jeans folded neatly, etc…
Shoes should be neat and orderly.
Traffic Pattern – You Should Store it.
The key is to make a home feel roomy. Rent a storage unit and store pieces of furniture that block or hinder paths and walkways. All the books you removed from the bookcases can be stored in the unit as well. The dining room table should have no leaves in it to make the room appear larger. You should be able to tell the purpose of each room. Stage it with just enough furniture to showcase it . You want plenty of room to move around.
Remove/Replace Favorite Items.
Any items you want to keep - built in appliances, window coverings, or fixtures - remove them now. If the front hall chandelier is a family heirloom it is best to take it down now. Telling a buyer they cannot have an item could lose the deal. Find a replacement chandelier at the local home store and this will not be an issue. Again, you are packing for the future move.
We live with things we wouldn’t dream of letting someone buying our house live with!
Make the minor repairs that will really make a difference
Replace cracked floor or counter tiles.
Make sure your front door lock works smoothly and easily!
Remove or replace worn carpets
Patch holes in walls.
Fix all leaky faucets.
Replace cracked counter tops or floor tiles
Fix drawers and doors that don't close properly and kitchen drawers that jam.
Consider painting your walls neutral colors, especially if you have grown accustomed to purple or pink walls.
(Don't give buyers any reason to remember your home as "the house with the orange bathroom.") Antique white walls with semi-gloss white trim looks clean, bright, open and fresh
Buyers wont’ buy what they can’t see. Replace ALL burned-out light bulbs.
If you've considered replacing a worn bedspread, do so now!
Make the House Really Shine and Sparkle!
Wash windows inside and out.
Rent a pressure washer and spray down sidewalks and exterior.
Clean all baseboards
Clean out cobwebs.
Re-caulk tubs, showers and sinks.
Polish chrome faucets and mirrors.
Clean out the refrigerator.
Dust furniture, ceiling fan blades and light fixtures.
Bleach dingy grout.
Replace worn rugs.
Hang up fresh towels.
Bathroom towels look great fastened with ribbon and bows.
Clean and air out any musty smelling areas. Odors are a no-no.
Run a de-humidifier in the basement to cut down on moisture
See What the Buyer Sees - Scrutinize.
Go outside and open your front door. Stand there. Do you want to go inside? Does the house welcome you?
Linger in the doorway of every single room and imagine how your house will look to a buyer. Is it open and inviting?
Examine carefully how furniture is arranged and move pieces around until it makes sense. Less is typically better.
Make sure window coverings hang level.
Tune in to the room's statement and its emotional pull. Does it have impact and pizzazz?
Does it look like nobody lives in this house? You're almost finished.
Check Curb Appeal.
If a buyer won't get out of her agent's car because she doesn't like the exterior of your home, you'll never get her inside.
Keep the sidewalks cleared.
Make sure all gates open smoothly
Edge all sidewalks
Mow the lawn.
Paint faded window trim.
Plant yellow flowers or group flower pots together. Yellow evokes a buying emotion. Marigolds are inexpensive.
Trim your bushes.
Make sure visitors can clearly read your house number.