It is important to help sellers understand that you live in your home and sell your house. This seems like a very small distinction but it is extremely difficult to separate the emotional ties we have to our homes, after all, they often become the nexus of our fondest memories. However, it is critical to view your real estate transactions the same as any other business transaction. This is especially important during the contract negotiation phase and is where your agent can provide you with sound rational advice.
Converting your Home to a House
It is imperative that the prospective buyers that tour your house have the opportunity to see themselves living there. The best way to accomplish this is by removing those items of your décor which (you guessed it) made it your home. This includes such things as personal photos, the art galleries we’ve created for our children or grandchildren on our refrigerators, and personal collections. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been with buyers that get preoccupied with the owner’s personal touches rather than focusing their appreciation and attention on the house.
Less is More
While you’re removing those items of a personal nature, you might as well follow through and remove all of the clutter. Whether we want to believe it or not every home has energy. Cluttered homes speak volumes to the subconscious of prospective buyers. Cluttered pantries, countertops, garages, or closets indicate a lack of storage. So be a true optimist and start your packing early.
The Big Clean
Inside and out, go through every nook and cranny and clean it all. It has been said that buyers know within the first fifteen seconds whether or not they have a genuine interest in the house. One of the biggest challenges is living in a house you are trying to sell as it can completely throw off your daily routine. Whenever you leave the home do a quick walk-through to make sure it is ready to show.
Why is it we take care of all those little deferred maintenance issues as we are getting ready to sell? Once you’ve de-cluttered and cleaned, grab a notepad and do a complete walk-through and note those little items that need attention. By this time you may be ready for photos so ask your agent to help you with this step as they shoot each room. As agents, we can often spot repairs that you may have walked past so many times they become invisible. If a buyer notices too many small issues they may start to get concerned with the overall condition of the home.
Creating Curb Appeal
We have been primarily focused on the interior of the house up to this point, but the exterior is what prospective buyers will see first and also need attention in the sales process. Clean the exterior with either a power washer or even a garden hose pay particular attention to the windows and their tracks. Trim or remove overgrown plant material from the planting beds and unless you have rock, a new bed of bark really spruces up the planting beds.