One of the hardest things for most sellers is to know what should be done to the home to get it sold. I have consulted with many sellers that already started projects that really will not benefit the sale-ability of the home while mistakenly thinking it would. If you are considering putting your home on the market, it is a good idea to consult with a professional about the best things to focus on. It can save you time and money.
I always try to give my sellers a list of things that can be done to make the home more desirable to buyers. Each home is different, what needs to be done on one home, may not need to be done on another but there are some things that every seller should do for a quicker sale in any market.
The most common mistake I see is a lack of knowledge about the common buyer. Just because a seller loves “Electric Lime Green” carpet, does not mean that every buyer is going to love it also. I once heard of a seller that had taken hundreds of carpet sample squares, of all colors, and had hand sewn them together to make a patchwork carpet in his livingroom. He was apparently extremely proud of his accomplishment but when it came time to sell, it was the biggest obstacle to the sale of the home.
My suggestion is when you are planning to stay in your home, do what you want, live in it and enjoy it the way you like it. Maybe think twice about doing unsual things to it that are permanent. If you are planning to sell in the near future, it is time to step back and become objective. The point is to get it sold so it won’t be your home anymore. Neutral colors are always a good idea and “normal” amenities are less likely to turn anyone off.
The next most common mistake is common clutter and dirt. In normal, everyday living it is hard to prevent the clutter from building up. You know what I mean every time you do that “spring cleaning.” We all feel mystified and wonder each time we clean out those clutter piles how they ever got so bad, again, and again, and again. It never ends. It is as though there is a clutter fairy that comes out when we go to bed and magically makes each pile grow while we sleep. It is just one of those things that we have to accept and live with the struggle.
However, when it is time to sell, it is time to become non-human. It is all-important to make a home feel clean and spacious, even if it is only a 500 sq ft cardboard box. If you want it to sell, sell quickly and sell for more money, you must clean and unclutter. Yes! I am suggesting that during the listing period, you must be robots, a mechanical, anti-clutter, cleaning machine. Box up everything that you will not absolutely need during the listing period and store it…somewhere else, not the closets or garage because they need to look clean and spacious too. (you are moving, you need to box everything up anyway) Clean, clean, and clean. I also recommend that you hire someone else to come in and clean a once over for you. After time, we learn to overlook many things that a buyer won’t overlook. Having someone else come in and clean is a good way to find those things that we have learned to turn a blind eye to.
Have you ever been to the Parade of Homes? I have enjoyed going for several years but in the first few years, I found myself feeling blue after each one. I would go into these beautiful homes and feel how wonderful the atmosphere was in each one then wonder why my home did not feel like that. I would try to decorate my home similar to what I had seen but still, it did not feel the same. I realized finally that the reason they looked and felt so wonderful was that NO ONE LIVED IN THEM! They were like a movie set. Everything was staged to look perfect and it worked. They did look perfect but if I were to move into one, I would actually have to put things in the closets besides the lovely folded, perfectly matched towels, displayed in them. Real life means having more than just pretty towels in every closet. I would actually have to cook meals, and lots of them for my family, so the home would eventually start to smell like grilled salmon instead of cinnamon potpourri all the time.
So, incase you are where I was once and feeling bad wondering why your home does not look like a Parade of Homes house, remember that you are real and those homes are not. However, to get the best results when selling your home, remember the houses in the Parade of Homes. The more you can make your home look and feel and don’t forget, smell like them, the better your home will look against all the other homes it is competing against on the market. It may mean acting like a robot for a short time. The better you are at it, the shorter the time you will have to keep up the act.