One of the biggest challenges in getting your home ready for sale is trying to see it through a Buyer’s eyes. We all get used to our surroundings and have made our homes work for the way we want to live. But if you’re trying to sell your house, you don’t want to tell the world how you live – you want to show them how they can live in your space. So before that For Sale sign gets nailed on your lawn, consider doing the following:
Stage every room for it’s natural purpose. OK, I admit, we NEVER eat at our kitchen table and we recently Craigslisted it. But when it’s time to list our home for sale, we will absolutely 100% put a table where one is meant to be. I want potential Buyers to picture themselves feeding their kids breakfast on that table (even if their kids end up on the couch like we do). If you’ve converted the 2nd bedroom into a den, or the den into a yoga room, make the effort to convert those rooms to the way that most people will use them. Asking Buyers to use their imaginations rarely works.
Have a trusted friend walk through your house and pretend she’s a Buyer. Nothing beats a friend walking through your home and pointing out all the weird things you’ve got going on. For example: we keep a watering can in the living room so we don’t forget to water the flowers out front; our kitchen cupboard organization doesn’t make sense to the average person (though is, in my defense, organized exactly like my mother’s kitchen); we have shoes and coats at every exit of the house (even though we only use one); and we have way more wine on display than any normal couple should have.
Clean the places you don’t normally clean. Admit it – you probably haven’t cleaned your baseboards in a long time and you probably haven’t removed the dead bugs in your light fixtures since last year. Few of us live in pristine conditions and it’s easy to overlook the dirt you see every day. Consider bringing in professional cleaners before listing your home (we love the boys CondoFresh).
Get rid of the smells As I write, this, my two dogs are lying just a few feet from me and they smell like they’ve been rolling in dead squirrels all morning. I know this to be true because someone told me. You see, I barely notice it anymore – but a Buyer will absolutely notice it. So take the time to Febreeze your couch, wash the curtains, get the carpets cleaned, send the dogs to the spa, change out that kitty litter and commit to not cooking curry (or cabbage) for the time your home is listed for sale.
Get rid of personal photos and mementos I know, these are likely the things that make your home feel like home – and that’s exactly why you need to get rid of them. Take down your wedding photos, your random vacation souvenirs and your shot glass collection – they’ll soon have a new home anyhow. Let potential Buyers see their own things in your home vs getting distracted by your elephant figurine collection.
Remember the importance of lighting While you may have gotten used to the fact that the under-mount lighting in your kitchen has been busted for the last year and that your bedroom is dark, the truth is that everything looks better with proper lighting. Change out old burnt lightbulbs and upgrade the wattage of existing lamps for maximum impact.
Intimidated yet? Don’t be. Remember that good real estate agents see hundreds of homes every month and have learned to see homes through a Buyer’s eyes. Don’t be afraid to ask your agent for specific guidance on how to prepare your home for sale.