Here are 20 tricks to selling your home:
1. Make room. Clear out as much furniture as you can. Clean, clear and clutter free! Hallways and doorways, in particular, need to be clear and open.
2. Use counter intelligence. Go through the house and clear off all the horizontal surfaces like kitchen and bathroom countertops. Old magazines? Toss 'em. Knick-knacks? Pack 'em. Counters needto be clear and clean.
3. Follow your nose. A home should smell good. That means no noticeable odor -- no pet scent, no stale cooking smells and no cigarette smoke. No stale clothing or old shoes in the closet either. Consider placing a couple of fabric softener sheets on the shelves. People just don't realize how much odor plays into this. The people who smoke or have pets become so accustomed to the smell, they don't notice it. If you just go through with Lysol before a showing, that won't help. Instead, get rid of scent problems at the source: scrub the house, have the air vents cleaned, replace old, smelly carpeting and smoke outside. Just keep the house cleaned regularly!
4. Remember, the next buyer DOES NOT WANT TO DO ANY WORK! If the property needs work -- dated wallpaper, ratty carpet -- have it replaced now so that all buyers have to picture is moving day. The more changes buyers calculate they'll have to make in the home, "the more concerned they get. Oftentimes a $30.00 can of paint can turn into thousands in your pocket.
5. Do the baby test. Does your potential market include families with young kids? If so, ask yourself, "Would I put my child down on this floor to crawl around the room. If not, you know what you have to fix. Likewise, if your walls sport grimy smudges or handprints, it might be worth it to paint.
6. Deep-six the cigarettes. "Buyers are much more sensitive to [cigarette smells, cigar etc], If somebody's a smoker, they may not smell it.Having a smoker in the house also eliminates a lot of potential buyers. Many shoppers won't even want to tour a home if the owner is a smoker.
7. Make your home ageless. There's a difference between an old house and a classic home. If the house looks 40 years old with 40-year-old paint, 40-year-old appliances and 40-year-old carpet, that's a hard sell, Keep everything fresh and up-to-date (read well-maintained) and you have a solid home in an established neighborhood -- a real looker.
8. Let there be light. "People buy space and light.
One dark room is OK, however if the whole house is dark, that's a problem. So open the blinds. Turn on all the lights. Add lights in rooms that are dark. And if Mother Nature isn't cooperating with your marketing efforts, use more flowers and things that suggest sunlight.
9. Get a home inspection. Most buyers will have one done anyway. Do it now -- and make any needed repairs before you put the home on the market. Disclosure issues? Just fix the issues and disclose that you are a homeowner who cares about their home. Depending on where you live, the service will probably run about $400.
10. Learn to love white walls. When it comes to walls, color is popular. The problem is that the next buyer might not like the same colors. Paint is a relatively inexpensive way to make a house look clean and fresh. And if you're going to repaint prior to selling, stick with neutrals. Despite the fact that it's more boring to live in, it's still an easier sale. And remember that white reflects the light best and makes rooms look their largest. Ask me for the current “color” that sells!
11. Take a close look at the carpet. Get the carpet shampooed to get out any stains or smells. If that doesn't work, replace it. Get rid of carpet that looks dirty, soiled, stained, And consider, if you can, hard wood as an alternative.It makes the house look bigger and people love seeing the fact that [a house] has wood floors, Plus it's a lot easier to keep clean.
12. Avoid controversy. If you have a deer head on the wall, you might want to take it down. It will be a turnoff to some buyers. Play it safe with the books, paintings and magazines they display while showing a home. Anything provocative could turn off buyers.
13. Replace deteriorating wallpaper. If wallpaper is peeling -- especially in bathrooms -- remove it and consider replacing it with a coat of paint. Go with a neutral or match the tile. Likewise, if the kids' rooms need a fresh look. That way, buyers are looking at the house, not your decorating skills. And it's easier for them to see their things in the space.
14. Clean your closets. Sellers need to empty the closets of half the things they have in them. Partially empty closets look roomy -- and space sells. Do the same thing with kitchen cabinets. (And if you donate your extra clothes and surplus food to a shelter or food bank, you won't have to worry about moving it to your next home.)
Ask me for local contacts for assistance.
15. Harness flower power. Many use this technique and sell their homes in a few weeks. It gives your home a nice, softer (and homey) feel.
Showing your home on a budget? Go for less expensive bouquets, green plants or seasonal flowers from the yard.
16. Open the windows. "If it's a cool summer day, have the windows open. Conversely, if it's cold and dreary, light a fire in the fireplace.
17. Take everyone's advice with a grain of salt. When Gaylord, a regional vice president with the National Association of Realtors, sold his own condo years ago, one real estate expert told him it would sit on the market because of the emerald green carpet in one of the rooms. But the home "was a showplace," he says, and a buyer quickly snapped it up -- green carpet and all. OK so you never know.
18. Keep it clean. No dust, cobwebs or trash. "People looking to buy a home are extremely observant and meticulous. This is probably the biggest expenditure of their lifetime to date. Who wants dust and dirt included? Forget that “well we have to live in our home” stuff. You are not living in it, you are selling it!
19. Set your house apart. A real estate study in which potential buyers were shown many different houses in similar neighborhoods, was done all with similar features and amenities. Which home stood out? The house with the least amount of work, that also had fresh flowers on the table.You need to give the home a hook. Something that makes it different in a positive way from the other houses. Ask me about “staging” options.
20. Keep it real. You don't have to go to the extreme of one buyer -- who before a showing set up the bedroom to look like the night maid had just been through and pulled down the comforter, fluffed the pillow and placed a book open on the bed. We think the average buyer will see through that!
You don't want it to look so staged that it's artificial. What you want is for them to walk in there and say “'I could put myself here”.
Your home is like a precious piece of artwork and needs to be framed in the best possible light.