Getting your House or Condo Ready to Sell – Disconnect Your Emotions
When speaking with real estate agents, you will often find that when they talk to buyers about real estate, they refer to the property as a “home.” Yet if you are the selling your home, they will often refer to it as a “house.” There is a reason for this. Buying real estate is often an emotional decision, but when selling your home, you need to remove emotion from the equation.
You need to think of your house or condo as a marketable commodity. Your goal is to get buyers to see it as their potential home, not yours. If you do not consciously make this decision, you can inadvertently create a situation where it takes longer to sell your property. The first step in getting your home ready to sell is to “de-personalize” it.
Make Your Home “Anonymous”
The reason you want to make your home “anonymous” is because you want buyers to view it as their potential home. When a potential homebuyer sees your family photos hanging on the wall, it puts your own brand on the home and momentarily shatters their illusions about living in the house themselves.
Put away family photos, sports trophies, collectible items, knick-knacks, and souvenirs. Put them in a box and put the box in your storage unit.
This is the hardest thing for most people to do because they are emotionally attached to everything in the house. After years of living in the same home, clutter collects in such a way that may not be evident to the homeowner. However, it does affect the way buyers see the home, even if you do not realize it.
Clutter collects on shelves, counter tops, drawers, and closets. You want as much open clear space as possible, so every extra little thing needs to be cleared away.
Take a step back and pretend you are a buyer. Let a friend help point out areas of clutter, as long as you can accept their views without getting defensive. Let your agent help you, too.
Where to Start When Selling Your Home
The kitchen is a good place to start removing clutter, because it is an easy place to start. First, get everything off the counters; even the toaster. Put the toaster in a cabinet and take it out when you use it. Find a place where you can store everything in cabinets and drawers. Of course, you may notice that you do not have cabinet space to put everything. Clean them out. The dishes, pots and pans that rarely get used? Put them in a box and put that box in storage.
If your kitchen cabinets, pantries, and drawers look jammed full, it sends a negative message to the buyer and does not promote an image of plentiful storage space. The best way to do that is to have as much “empty space” as possible. For that reason, if you have a “junk drawer,” get rid of the junk. If you have a rarely used crock pot, put it in storage. Do this with every cabinet and drawer. Create open space.
If you have a large amount of foodstuffs crammed into the shelves or pantry, begin using them – especially canned goods. Canned goods are heavy and you don’t want to be lugging them to a new house, anyway – or paying a mover to do so. Let what you have on the shelves determine your menus and use up as much as you can.
Beneath the sink is critical also. Make sure the area beneath the sink is as empty as possible, removing all extra cleaning supplies. Scrub the area and check for signs of water leaks. These will come up in the inspection so you want to make sure it is not an active leak.
Ceilings, Walls, and Painting
Check all the ceilings for water stains, whether the leak is caused by plumbing or a faulty roof. If a water stain is left after something you have already repaired, paint the area. You may have to paint anyway, especially if dirt has accumulated in spots or you have an outdated color scheme. Painting makes a home look fresh and new on the inside and never fails to impress. Painting can be your best investment when selling your home. It is not a very expensive operation and often you can do it yourself. Choose colors based what would appeal to the widest possible number of buyers. You should almost always choose an off-white color because white helps your rooms appear bright and spacious.
Carpet and Flooring
Unless your carpet appears old and worn, or it is definitely an outdated style or color, you probably should do nothing more than hire a good carpet cleaner. If you do choose to replace it, do so with something inexpensive in a fairly neutral color. Repair or replace broken floor tiles, but do not spend a lot of money on anything. Remember, you are not fixing up the place for yourself. You want to move. Your goal is simply to have few negative impressions upon those who may want to purchase your property.
Windows and Doors
Check all of your windows to make sure they open and close easily; especially in condos. Make sure there are no cracked or broken windowpanes or torn screens. If there are, replace them before you begin showing and selling your home.
Do the same things with the doors – make sure they open and close properly, without sticking or creaking. For sliding glass doors – DO NOT use WD-40 – use Aluminum Lubricant that doesn’t build up and attract dust.
Smokers, please do what you can to minimize smoking indoors while selling your home. Actually, it is best to move smoking outside. Use sprays that remove odors rather than masking them. Apologies to pet owners, but pets come with odors. You may have become used to them, but they are immediately noticeable to those with more finely tuned olfactory senses and allergies! For those with cats, be sure to empty kitty litter boxes daily and use plenty of baking soda.