Below are crucial steps to ensure your home draws the highest price!
It is vital that your house stand out to buyers. Understand that they are comparing your house to ALL the similarly priced houses in your area (YOUR COMPETITION). Buyers often see 6 or more properties at a time. They are often overwhelmed by the number of decisions they have to make. People cope with the overload of information by first deciding what they can ignore. Finding reasons to rule out most of the houses they are seeing is the first logical step. Don’t give Buyers reasons to rule your house out! The trick is to start with the simplest and least expensive items first, and work your way up from there. After a gazillion showings, I have noticed several common, INEXPENSIVE items that stick out like a sore thumb when sellers skip them.
As obvious as this first step sounds, any real estate agent will tell you that this important first step to presenting a property, is ignored unbelievably often. Whether you haven’t cleaned your house since 1988, or you cleaned it yesterday, it is time to do an extensive, all-out deep cleaning! This includes YARD WORK and EXTERIOR CLEAN UP as well. Cleaning costs you virtually nothing except time, but when done extensively, it will give you the biggest return for the money/effort. The more you show potential buyers and their real estate agent how much YOU care about the property, the higher the perceived value. If you don’t care about your property, why should they?
Have a thrift sale, get a dumpster, sell stuff on Craigslist and Facebook and call Hope Gospel Mission for large items to be hauled away for free. Get in the mindset that you ARE moving soon. Get a storage shed for everything else you want to keep but doesn’t fit neatly into a hidden spot in the house. Store everything you don’t use on a monthly basis that won’t specifically contribute to staging the property. This will also give you a tremendous head start for moving since you will have to pack up and move everything anyway. Use the few bucks you make selling items to put toward the next few suggestions…
Replace all the burned out light bulbs and make sure all the bulbs in every multiple-bulb fixture match in size & color. Fix or replace the doorbell button, door handles and locks, loose railings, patio bricks, chipped paint, squeaky drawers, doors that stick, large and small holes in the walls or sheetrock, light switch covers, new shower curtain, garbage cans, etc. Replace your mailbox if it is old. Since I also work as a Buyer Agent, I see gazillions of Listed homes. It is just as important to impress the Buyer’s Agent as it is to impress the Buyer. The biggest red flag to me is when there are lots of little things in a house that are broken. If the homeowner doesn’t care about the inexpensive, easy to fix stuff that everyone can see, why should we assume the sellers have taken care of the important home maintenance items that may cost my buyers big down the road? Here is how small and inexpensive the red flags are to fix:
This is usually a couple hundred dollars. The stains and smells you’ve become used to will stand out like flashing neon lights to buyers. You shouldn’t consider this optional if you have pets!
A fresh coat of paint in every room will make your house look like new. If you aren’t great at painting, hire a professional to give it a professional look. Fix all the holes and imperfections in the walls and ceiling. Use neutral colors. Sloppy work is a waste of time and energy since it doesn’t give you much advantage over not painting in the first place. Paint all the trim on the exterior, railings, patios, doors, basement floors and walls.
Usually this is the basement or utility room. If you don’t have a finished basement, a fresh coat of Battleship Gray colored paint on the cement walls and floor go a long way. This doesn’t have to be an expensive or overwhelming project, but CLEAN YOUR BASEMENT, even if it is meant for utilities only. Get rid of the cobwebs and secure & cover loose wires, exposed pipes and other eye soars (keep accessible for inspector & new homeowners). Replace light bulbs and add more lighting if necessary. If the laundry is downstairs, make the area leading up to and around the washer and dryer as comfortable as you can. Fresh paint in the laundry room, as well as large, nice looking rugs are a good start. If you currently describe your basement as a “dungeon” but can be prepped it so a teenage girl won’t describe it as “scary” or “ew,” it will put you ahead of many competing properties.
THESE ARE THE MOST IMPORTANT ITEMS AS FAR AS EFFECTIVENESS VS COST.