By Kurt Jacobson
You might love your house for all its little imperfections; however, the person buying your house might find the same to be major deal breakers. The process of putting your house on the market should begin with careful planning on how to highlight its strengths and at the same time, downplay its weaknesses.
- Work on your curb appeal
Invest some money on curb appeal because a good first impression often seals the deal. Some quick steps to floor the buyer include washing your front windows, cleaning your front yard and keeping the grass trimmed, weeded and groomed. You should also replace loose stairs or boards, and fix all cracks and scuff marks. Top that with a new light fixture, an appealing door knocker and voila! You’ve just guaranteed that the buyer enters the house with a smile.
- Depersonalize and neutralize the house
It is easier for a buyer to visualize himself living in a house if there are no personal items to distract him. So put away all your framed photos and your children’s artwork. Hide or remove anything from direct view that reveals a singular taste. If you are selling a furnished house, remove old curtains and chunky, mismatched furniture.
- Keep it clean
Clean the house and keep it clutter-free. Add bright lights and a coat of paint in neutral tones to make it appear warm and inviting. A sparkling clean bathroom is an absolute must when putting up a house for sale. Thoroughly scrub out all the grime on the bathroom walls, shower cubicles and in the corners. The lights and bathroom sink are features that can be replaced without much expense. If the bathroom is small, place a large mirror to create the illusion of space.
A clutter-free vanity is pleasing to the eye. Remove all personal things from view. Towels should be clean and fresh. Add new or clean bars of soap. Adding flowers or a small potted plant along with a mild room freshener gives the bathroom a clean and fresh look and helps in tipping the balance of the sale.
- Focus on the living space
The master bedroom is also equally important. Keep it as neutral as possible when it comes to color and furnishings. Empty out half the things in the closets to create an illusion of space.
Use cost-effective and budget-friendly decorative accessories. New sheets or an extra pillow can add the value of comfort. Manage space by rearranging furniture so that it can meet the needs of potential buyers. Kids’ rooms are meant to look lived in, but that doesn’t mean it should have toys strewn all around. Having an organized, yet fun room is the trick.
Update electrical wiring and make sure that all electrical appliances for sale are in good working condition. The refrigerator, dishwasher and oven are things that any prospective buyer will want to check carefully. So make sure all the kitchen appliances and cabinets are clean and tidy. Replace or repair faulty faucets and door handles, and get some colorful new tea towels. Keep the countertops clean and free of clutter or any big objects. Set your dining table with a clean pretty runner and a vase of fresh flowers.
The fireplace and mantel are also important. Giving the fireplace a thorough cleaning and replacing an old fireguard with a reasonably priced new one is a good idea. Leave the mantel clean with a few simple objects.
Place objects around the house that draws the eye and entices people to look around the house —it can be anything from a few colorful rugs, paintings or artwork to fresh flowers. Let the house speak for itself.
- Keep your pets away
Pet owners need to realize that not everyone is comfortable around animals. So make sure that you find some temporary arrangements to keep your pets away from the house when you expect a showing. Pet odor or pet hair on the sofas and furniture is a big no-no. Steam clean the carpets and store all pet toys away from view.
- Don’t forget the basement and the backyard
The basements of most houses are used to store junk. Throw away or donate things that you don’t need. You should be able to see right up to the back wall of the basement. Try and sort your possessions into boxes. A neat stack of boxes looks more appealing than objects lying around. Make sure that there is no mold or dampness. A good cleaning along with bright lighting helps in taking away the dark and dingy look.
The backyard can be made to look beautiful, irrespective of its size. It can be small with a little garden or huge with a swimming pool and tiled pathways. Do the best you can with what you have to create a harmonious, neat and tidy personal or family space. Same goes for the garage. Nothing much can be done, other than to keep it clean and tidy.
- Get professional help
Consider hiring a professional home Stager. Stagers bring in the objectivity and professionalism homeowners often lack when it comes to their own homes. These experts are trained to identify the “possibilities” in a property and present it in a way that appeals to MORE buyers. They are also aware of the latest trends in the real estate market and may also have access to furniture that can emphasize the best features of your house. Still not convinced? Statistics show that Staged homes spend lesser time on the market and sell for a higher price.
Kurt Jacobson is a writer and vacation rental manager. Knowing what it takes to maintain pristine appearances for customers, he thrives on sharing what he’s learned from his experience. When he’s not managing a property, he writes about home cleaning in Bloomington for Professional Home Cleaning Inc.