Over the course of our lives we build and establish important relationships … first as children, then with spouses and our own children, our pets and our friends. We also build relationships with things … our cars, our homes, our hobbies. All combine to make our life rich and fulfilling.
But life changes and as it does, we find ourselves saying goodbye to some of the “things” we value … like our homes. The reasons are many. We may be upgrading and moving to a larger, nicer home. We may be downsizing because the kids have left the nest. We may be moving for a new job. At any rate, we say goodbye to “OUR HOME” filled with memories and move on. Sounds easy. But wait a minute. There are both “easy” and more “challenging” aspects to getting ready to sell your home. Let’s tackle some of the easy ones first.
For the most part, it is easy to do the physical prep to attract buyers.
- Curb appeal is very important. Many of us, even when we are not looking to buy, have driven by a home and commented on how great it looks. Meaning, if I were looking, this place grabs my attention. Much of curb appeal is easy. Make sure that the grass is mowed or the snow is shoveled. Plant flowers to add warmth. Make sure that shrubbery is trimmed and touch up trim paint if it is chipped. Front doors should be inviting and draw your attention. First impressions matter.
- Once inside, prospective buyers tend to be nosey! After all, you are not there and they want to see what the inside of the cupboards look like. Does this bathroom make me want to soak with a candle and relax because it is clean and inviting? Are the towels and linens fresh and unused? To that end, you should clean out cupboards and make sure everything is organized and not overly full. Crowded closets and cabinets give the impression that there isn’t enough storage. You may need to get a rental storage unit to de-clutter the house.
- Make the house shine! It is a bit unsettling to know that there might be a “showing” at any moment and so you have to live ready for that expectation. Dirty floors and windows are a turn off. Your refrigerator, microwave, oven and dishwasher will be opened. I promise. And look at ceiling fans. They are notorious dust catchers and send a bad signal if they are not spotless.
- In making the house shine, re-evaluate placement of furniture. What worked well for you functionally may not give the best impression of the room. Re-arranging and removing some furniture can make the home look and feel bigger. A “big” home is worth more money and seems more livable.
- Remember we suggested that once you put your house on the market, that it no longer belongs to you? All those family pictures and personal belongings will look great in your new home but are distracting when you want to sell. People need to see your home … not your stuff. Remember that storage unit you are renting?
All relatively easy. But there are some challenging things to getting your home ready to sell as well.
- Homebuyers take a deep look at potential property they own and often hire a professional inspector to take that look. Take a look at your heating and air conditioning systems and make sure they are in prime near perfect condition. They should be serviced professionally and in some cases replaced. Though you probably do not want to spend that money, you will do so one way or another … either in a reduced selling price or in fixing it first. Your attention to detail … including the big things will pay off. TALK TO A HVAC PROFESSIONAL.
- Check your basement … check your roof … check your driveway. A prospective buyer will look at these things and one way or another, it will impact their decision. The more you can do to have perfection, the better. Remember, each day on the market is just costing you money.
- And now … drum roll … the final one. You have utilized professionals to help you get the home ready and now … for some of you, is the most difficult task. Say goodbye to your home. Let it go long before it actually sells whether you have something to look forward to or not.
We have a relationship with our home, sometimes love, sometimes hate. But it is a relationship. And relationships matter.