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Tips for Selling Your Home
When listing a home, I often am asked by the home owner what they can do to help their home sell. Below is a list of what you can do before your home is on the market as well as tips to follow when your home is being shown to prospective buyers.
Odors- The strongest sense tied to memory is odor. If your home smells like cigarette smoke, pets or mildew, you will most likely have a more difficult time selling.
Pets- Dogs frighten some people and irritate others, particularly if your pet is over-friendly during a showing. Your best bet to avoid this situation is to either remove or crate your pet when you know someone is showing your home. If a buyer can't explore your backyard, garage or laundry room, this may cost you a sale. Be sure to also remove any evidence of pet ownership, especially the litter box, pet toys, or damage caused by pets.
Dirt- A dirty house is an instant turnoff, particularly in kitchens and bathrooms. Scrub them, paint them, and make sure the shower curtain and dish towels aren't dingy. Do what it takes to make your home shine. Take one step further and ensure that all beds are made, the laundry is done, and the trash cans are empty. If your home needs any special maintenance or cleaning, I would be happy to recommend professional services to help prepare your home to show its best.
Personal Collections- When a buyer tours your home they want to be able to see themselves in it. Highly personalized decor such as lots of family photos, religious/ cultural collections or anything else that is specific to your and your family's taste should be taken down and packed up for moving day.
Lighting- Natural light is always preferred, so be sure that your blinds and curtains are open and the windows are clean inside and out. Check that all of your light bulbs are in working order and turn them on when you know someone is coming through your home. Any dim rooms or corners can be brightened with a lamp.
Bugs- Just get rid of them.
Poor Curb Appeal- In a world of instant answers and relatively short attention spans, you have to grab a buyer's attention right away. I have had buyers who refused to go into a house with an unkempt yard or peeling paint. Sometimes you can't afford to paint, but at a minimum you should keep the yard in tip-top shape. If you do decide to paint, I can recommend contractors who can give you bids.
Blocked Gutters- This goes somewhat hand-in-hand with curb appeal. Blocked gutters or other delayed maintenance issues gives the buyer the opportunity to say "What else have they not maintained?" Gutters that do not have an open flow can cause drainage problems as well as damage to the property that will most likely come up on an inspection when the home sells anyhow.
Clutter- If your home is difficult to navigate through, or if the contents of your closet jump out every time the door is opened, some early packing may be in order. The more spacious your home appears, the more appealing it is to buyers.
Leave During Showings- Home buyers feel awkward opening closet doors and lingering for a really good look when the homeowner is present. Also, buyers are reluctant to give their true opinion of the house. This makes it harder for your Realtor to get accurate feedback from the buyer and their agent after the showing. Therefore, your Realtor will have no way of knowing why they may not like the home. It could be as simple as making a minor repair, but because you were there they may worry about offending you.
Also, it's generally best to error on the side of caution and keep your valuables are in a safe place. Do not leave out any jewelry, cash, prescriptive medication or anything else of value to you during a showing.