Are you considering buying or selling a home? We are sure that you have lots of experts offering all kinds of advice. The experts offering you advice may come from a variety of sources such as the post office or your car wash attendant or your cousin or brother or trainer in the gym; right? Sound familiar? When it comes to real estate it seems that everyone is an expert. But take a moment to really think about it. You have the largest single asset that you will buy or sell and we often listen to people that are the least qualified to give you advice. I am sure that all have good intentions but what is really being offered is just their opinion, so treat it as such.
Sell you home quick with these 7 Staging Tips
If you are planning on selling your home remember that first impressions are lasting impressions. Things like inviting curb appeal, elimination of odors or clutter and personal items are very important. Sellers are often too busy or unaware or are just used to things being how they have been in their house for years and do not look at things through the eyes of a buyer. Often times sellers do not even know where to begin, so we’ve put together a list of the top 7 tips that you can do to quickly stage your home for sale.
This is part of a continuing series of articles by Nick Santoro and Joe Santoro of Personal Property Managers, who service Pennsylvania and New Jersey and specialize in real estate, property management, home content downsizing and estate sale services.
Sprucing up and staging your home can make it more appealing to prospective buyers. Often relatively little effort can yield big results. So if you plan to sell your home it’s time for you to get serious. Here are some ways to make your home more marketable.
1. Eliminate the personal effects
Joe Santoro points out that we live in a home one way and it becomes very personal, but when you put it on the market it becomes a product. You want to de-personalize it so that it is no longer your home, but a place where buyers can envision themselves living.
That’s hard to do if it’s filled with family photos,
kids’ artwork, family heirlooms and collectibles that likely
won’t matter to the new people who will live there.
“When we live there it is for our comfort and convenience,” Joe says. When you put it on the market, you want to dress it to sell and that means taking the personal touches out of the equation.
2. Open up the space and eliminate clutter
Let’s face it: clutter is one of those things that bothers most of us in our own homes. We constantly vow to get on top of it. So you don’t want to see the same thing in a potential future home that you are trying to escape in yours.
According to Joe Santoro, “When you are selling your property you want to give buyers the space to see themselves and their lifestyle in that setting — on the walls, the tabletops, the floors.”
That means keeping surfaces clear of piles, editing and straightening up items on shelves and opening up living spaces to add room to breathe.
Often two to three pieces of furniture can be removed from every room in the house in order to show its features and square footage to the best advantage. So find some place to store the stuff if you want to keep it, or donate it so someone else can appreciate it. At Personal Property Managers, we offer full home downsizing, de-cluttering and clean-out services. Sellers often simply do not have the time or energy to conduct such a huge undertaking. With our one-stop market ready services, we can make life just a little easier for you making the focus on getting seller the best possible price for their home and selling it in the shortest amount of time possible.
Nick Santoro says: “Paring down can be very liberating, and a way of starting the packing and sorting process. And there’s always someone who needs it more.”
3. Reconsider color.
Selecting colors of ones home is a very personal thing. However, some colors are too style-specific. Sellers should always evaluate their property as if they were a new buyer. Take a good hard look at your colors and consider changing to a more market neutral color whenever possible.
Among all of the changes you can make to help sell your house, paint is among the least expensive.
A fresh coat of a neutral paint color and a little sweat equity can go a long way, the Santoro’s say.
4. First impressions - curb appeal.
We’ve heard it time and time again: You never get a second chance to make a first impression. That’s why it’s important for your house to look its best every step of the way, even before buyers walk through the front door.
A Zillow survey asked real estate agents the most valuable home improvements for a quick sale. The No. 1 answer was “improving curb appeal.”
Nick Santoro points out that this may mean power-washing the front steps, touching up chipped paint, edging the sidewalk, painting the front door, adding a seasonal wreath or putting matching potted trees on either side of the door.
If the grass is brown and the bushes aren’t neatly trimmed, it says the property hasn’t been cared for. That’s not a good first impression and sellers are encouraged to look at things through the eyes of ones buyers. Joe Santoro points out that he has had a number of buyers pull up in front of a house that they had selected to preview and change their mind without ever getting out of the car because of an unfavorable first impression and poor curb appeal.
5. Clean, clean, clean.
There are some things people can’t get past, and a dirty home is one of them,” says Joe Santoro. People will assume that a dirty house hasn’t been well-maintained. Smells matter too. If a buyer smells a odd or off odor or the scent of pets, that’s a problem that may cause a buyer to move on to the next house.
We recommend a good scrubbing, which includes window sills, baseboards, tops of ceiling fan blades, sticky switch plates and more. Have carpeting professionally cleaned and make your windows sparkle.
6. Investment spend now to make more money later.
It’s not easy living in a house when it’s on the market. It must be kept tidy at all times because you never know when a showing will be scheduled. And it’s difficult to make plans when your life is on hold.
Everyone’s goal is to sell a home quickly at the highest purchase price possible. Joe Santoro points out that recently, interest rates have been rising and that means buyers may not be able to spend as much on a house because their principal and interest payments increase as rates rise.
Most lenders won’t provide extra money as part of the loan, so buyers are wondering where they will find the extra money if a house needs improvements, so seller are encouraged to do what it takes to get their house market ready for new owners.
Time also is a factor.
The Santoro’s point out that our work hours are longer and we have obligations to our kids, our parents, to volunteer causes we believe in. There are only 24 hours in a day and if a house needs work, buyers ask themselves ‘where will I find the time to have the floors redone or get bids for a new roof. That’s why the homes that are updated and in the best shape have the edge.
Updating may include replacing kitchen and bathroom cabinets or brass light fixtures; replacing kitchen countertops with granite, which has come down in price, or even quartz; installing a decorative backsplash or possibly painting wood-toned cabinets.
The houses that sell most quickly are the ones that meet, or exceed, those expectations. The money you spend now to put your house in tip-top shape may save money in the long run.
If a house doesn’t sell quickly, you may be looking at price reductions, which are usually in increments of $5,000 to $10,000. If you spend some of that money up front, you might not have to make reductions later.
7. 5 quick fixes that make a difference for home sellers
Here are some easy projects that can be accomplished in a few hours, a day or a weekend that make a difference when it’s time to sell your home.
1. Paint a bathroom, change out the mirror, hardware, light fixture
Clean out the medicine chest, too, because like it or not, buyers will be checking it out.
2. Paint the front door, add new house numbers and a welcome mat,
and replace the outside light fixtures.
The big box stores have wonderfully updated lighting at a very reasonable cost.
3. Clean your garage. That means getting rid of old tools, sporting gear, yard equipment and junk you should have donated long ago. Prove that your two-car garage really holds two cars.
4. Go around the house and make those repairs you have been putting
Tighten the cabinet hinges, fix a ripped screen, fix a drippy faucet or install a new shower rod or toilet seat to show pride of ownership.
5. Clean out and straighten up your closets.
Take the opportunity to get rid of clothes and shoes you no longer wear, and arrange what remains in a way that shows there is adequate space. That means hangers should face the same way, clothes should be arranged by height or color, and folded items should be neatly straightened on the shelves.