While buyers must shop within their financial qualifications, their decision to make an offer on a home is first, and foremost, an emotional response to the appearance of your home and property. The money and negotiation side to the actual purchase comes later.
In order to maximize the appearance of your property — thus eliciting more excited Buyers about your home, follow these 16 simple preparation tips.
1. Tidy up the grounds, porches and garage.
2. Keep the lawn trimmed and edged.
3. Make sure that your yard is clean.
4. Your front door adds to that first impression—be sure it is scrubbed or repainted if necessary.
5. Wash windows, window ledges and corners, and clean/dust window coverings. Grime is your enemy!
6. If any decorating or painting is needed (especially in the kitchen), do it now! Twenty dollars worth of paint will make a much larger difference in the sales price.
7. Bathrooms help sell homes. Make this room sparkle.
8. Illumination is like a welcome sign. Replace bulbs and turn on the lights.
9. Declutter the closets — pack away the clothes that are out of season during your sale period. Donate those that haven’t been used in a year or two. And don’t forget to also weed out the shoes and purses that are out of style and sitting on shelves or floors!
10. Declutter the kitchen cabinets and pantry areas. If your cereal boxes and chips are crammed into the cupboards, the buyer may think your kitchen is too small, requiring immediate remodeling on their part.
11. Clean up areas where your pets reside — that means making sure their kennels sparkle, the litter box area is neat and tidy (and smells good!).
12. If you have exotic pets like reptiles or even gerbils, mice, or hamsters, consider boarding them with friends during your sale period. Many people are allergic or even fearful! Remember that the idea is for people to concentrate on your house, not concerned about your pets (for whatever reason).
13. Walk around the outside of your house with a critical eye for signs of neglect or decay — this could be dry rot in deck boards, trim boards that should be powerwashed and repainted, roof shingles that are loose, and so on. Once a buyer spots something that strikes them as neglect, they’ll start looking for other signs. You want them to concentrate on the good features, not looking for things to pick apart at the time of the offer.
14. Walk through the inside of your home with that same critical eye. A running toilet, dripping faucet, carpet snags or just stained spots, all lead a buyer to question your upkeep. While homes are priced very low right now for a number of reasons, buyers still want to move into a home that won’t require tedious maintenance issues.
15. Pack away valuables, store extra furniture, knick-knacks, medicines, firearms, and personal information.
16. Pretend you are seeing your home for the first time through a buyer’s eyes. Call me for recommendations on how to stage the property for presentation to prospective buyers.
Finally, although the next two points don’t directly affect the appearance of your home and property, following them will greatly increase your chances of receiving a favorable offer:
- Leave the showing to the agents. A buyer’s agent knows their client’s requirements and wants and can best emphasize the features of your home.
- Don’t discuss anything about the sale with a potential customer. Let your agent discuss price, terms, possession and other items concerning the sale.
Remember that spending a little extra time getting your home ready for sale will result in a much higher selling price. Sometimes dramatically so!!
Added 9/5/10: This morning my Lowe’s newsletter arrived with a similar article, with even more specifics. To read that article, click HERE.