Use this step-by-step guide to get your house into selling shape
Buying a home is a decision based on both logic and emotion. And emotion wins. Buying a house is an emotional decision. Buyers are searching for a “home”—a place where they will feel comfortable, secure and happy. Look at your house as a commodity. A buyer’s emotional response is triggered early. “You never get a second chance at a first impression.” Within seconds, buyers have formed an impression. This impression will not only decide whether or not they make an offer, but also the property's value. When homes create an emotional appeal, they sell quickly—and for more money.
- Get any needed repairs done. Even things that you've gotten used to, like a squeaky gate.
- Make sure all your rooms are well lit. You want everything to look bright and spacious. There is a reason that realtors turn on every light available before a showing. Consider putting in brighter bulbs than what you normally use. Remove window coverings that block out sunshine.
- Depersonalize Make your home a blank screen for the buyer's fantasy. Over years, a home becomes cluttered with the owners’ lives, covered with touches that make it special. However buyers need to recognize your home as a property which is their unique place. When a home buyer walks into a room and sees the personal, (photos, trophies, mementos) their ability to picture their own lives in this room is upset. Rent a storage space and keep them there. Do not simply transfer these items to another place in your house as the next step is to minimize clutter, in ALL areas of your house.
- Remove the clutter Purge your house of the excess items that have accumulated over the years. This is hard part for most people. Stand back yourself and see your house as a buyer might. Use a system to help you decide: get rid of all items, for example, you haven’t used in the past five years, and pack up everything that you haven’t used in the past year. Although getting rid of some things might be hard, try to do it without remorse. You’ll be forced to go through this process anyway when you move.
Home buyers will open your drawers and cabinets. It's as if they want to check to see if there will be enough room for their own stuff. Strange as it might seem, if the drawers appear crowded, they'll get the idea there isn't enough room.
- Remove everything from the counters.
- Clean out all the cabinets and drawers. Put aside the dishes, pots and pans that you rarely use and put them in that storage unit you rented.
- If you have a “junk drawer,” clear it out.
- Get rid of the food in the pantry that you don’t use.
- Remove extra cleaning supplies from the shelves beneath the sink. Make sure this area is as empty as possible. Thoroughly clean this spot and check for any water stains that might indicate leaking pipes. Buyers will look in most cabinets, and will notice signs of damage.
- Go through all clothes and shoes. If you don’t wear something get rid of it.
- Go through the closet. Be ruthless. Weed out everything you don’t absolutely need.
- Remove boxes from the back of the closet. Put them in storage. Get everything off the floor. Closets should look as though they have enough room to hold additional items.
Stand back and look at each room. What will you need to remove? Remember, most homes contain too much furniture. These are items you’ve grown comfortable with however, each room should offer a sense of space, so some furniture will need to be put in storage.
Basements, garages, attics, and sheds: are the “junkyard” areas of any home. Determine which of these items you actually need. Can some of it be sent to the dump? Transfer the rest to a rental storage unit. You’ll want to clear the storage areas in your house as much as possible. Buyers want reassurance their own excess belongings will fit in their new home.
One other thing, Put any teenagers or young adults in boarding school or send them off on a foreign vacation... until you have a solid offer :)