Getting your home ready for listing can be a stressful and confusing process. Should you show your home just how it is, or should you remove screws and empty it out and let prospective buyers imagine what it could look like for themselves? When it comes to real estate, there’s never one easy answer, but we do have 5 tips to keep in mind when preparing your house for sale. These will give you the best chance of getting the right price for your home. Whether you’re showing your house through pictures or in-person, these tips will go a long way to making that sell a cinch.
A picture is worth a thousand words, and that’s no cliche. Potential home buyers love pictures, and most of the time when looking at a listing, that’s what they focus most of their attention on. As nice as your iPhone’s camera might be, our advice to you is to hire somebody who really knows what they’re doing.
Professional photographers know how to do more than just take pictures. They know how to set up shots. They know how to make a 10×12 room look enormous with the right lighting and the right angles. They can make an old kitchen look brand new, and on a sunny day with a clear sky they can make your house look ready for a movie-shoot.
We really cannot stress enough just how important pictures are. Sometimes it can be a pain to find the best day to bring a photographer in, as they are picky people when it comes to the weather and the right lighting. Nevertheless, having twenty top-of-the-line photos of your home might save you weeks and thousands of dollars while you’re trying to sell your house.
Believe it or not, there is a middle ground between living fully in your home and turning it into a model exhibition. You’re trying to show homebuyers the potential of their future home. Give them as much open space as possible for them to fill in with their imagination. This might sound a little too hypothetical, so let’s go through an example of what we mean here.
Go to your living room and take away all the clutter, all the details. Take the books off the shelf, the lamps of the bathroom and end tables, the rugs off the floor, and the family photos off the mantle. You can leave the big furniture if you want, but everything that can be carried should be removed. This leaves plenty of open space for buyers to “fill in the blanks” as they walk through the house.
What you’re really looking for is true neutrality. Leave as much open floor space as possible, as well as wall space. Let the natural structure and design of your house shine as much as you can. This goes for the exterior of your home as well as the interior. Let your home’s exterior speak for itself, so take down what decorations you might have and let the potential buyer wonder what they might put up instead.
If you’re expecting multiple in-person tours of your home during the listing time, don’t break your back redecorating your house several times a month. Go ahead and pack up as much as you can and get ready for the move to your new home. You can rent a storage locker and save yourself the hassle of trying to shove all of your belongings into closets and attics while people tour your house.
This is also a great opportunity to donate unwanted items and find a new home for all the random articles in your house that build up over the years. Not only that, it will make cleaning between tours a whole lot easier. The more you can get out of your house, the better. It might be a bit of a hassle to live on a curtailed wardrobe and kitchenware, but when your potential buyers see wide open closets and a clean kitchen ready to be filled with their pots and pans, it will all be worth the trouble.
This might seem self explanatory, and you might have already been planning to do a thorough dusting and sweeping of your home before taking listing photos, but we advise you go a few steps further.
A new coat of paint, a carpet cleaning, floor waxing, and a trim yard can do wonders for your home. Make your house the best it’s ever looked and notice how much time and money you’ll win back for your trouble. You don’t have to completely remodel your home of course, but if you have broken light fixtures, wobbly door knobs, or a rattling ceiling fan, it can only help you to get it all fixed.
If you’re expecting a tour, clean ahead of time. Make sure the windows are crystal clear and that the house is always in top condition. If you have a yard, it might also be worth it to give it a once over with a rake or leaf blower every other day, just to make sure that the green grass is always on full display.
Selling your home might not seem like the most exciting thing in the world, but you can still have some fun in the process. If you’re expecting several home-tours in a weekend, take a trip with the family and go camping in the country, or spend some time with the in-laws. Get out of the house and let your agent do the hard work for you.
But of course, it’s not always that simple, and you might have to be home the same day when you’re expecting a tour. Our number one piece of advice is just don’t let your prospective buyers feel pressured by your presence. Work with your agent and try to be out of the house on errands or making a trip out of town during the hour or two of the tour. You want to neutralize your home as much as you can, and make it feel as untouched and new as possible for anyone walking through.