If you’re thinking of selling your home over the next few months, then you will need to make sure it’s ready. Although you can put it up for sale at any time, it certainly pays – literally – to take some time and do some work in it before you commit to putting it on the market. A few hours and for a few dollars spent here and there, will give you a healthy return on your investment when it comes to selling.
This is part of an on-going series of real estate articles by Nick Santoro and Joe Santoro of Personal Property Managers ( www.personalpropertymanagers.com ) who service Pennsylvania and New Jersey and specialize in real estate, home content downsizing, senior transition services, property management and estate sales.
Joe Santoro, co-founder of Personal Property Managers lists 7 quick tips for getting your home ready to sell:
1. Clean Your Windows
Your house could be the cleanest, most lovely, most perfect house in the world, and it could be a real bargain too, but if your windows are dirty (inside or outside) then prospective buyers could be put off before they even step through the door. It takes a lot to change someone’s first impression of a property, which is why you want to make sure it’s a good one for as many people as possible. Consider having your windows professionally cleaned or you can simply take a few hours to do it yourself. Make sure you don’t just focus on the glass, but that you clean the sills and facias too. Not only will washed windows look much nicer, but the effect inside your home is better too, as more natural light can be let in, showing off the rooms as they are meant to be.
2. Make the Outside Welcoming
There may be many elements to the outside of your home that you don’t really notice anymore because you’re so used to them. It’s time to step back, and go across the street if you can to appraise what you can see. If you need to invest in new outdoor lighting, a welcome mat, some flowers, or even a new front door itself (or just paint and maintain the current one) then do it. Making the outside of your house attractive will ensure that more people take a second glance at the realtor’s brochures, or on the webpage your house appears on.
3. Paint It Up
If you’ve lived in a house for a while, there will be signs of life’s wear and tear. There might be scuff marks on the walls, or greasy fingerprints. There could be marks where pictures were hanging, and the sun has bleached around the frames. A freshly painted home (not costing a lot of money) can restore your home’s beauty. Fix everything up for you so that it looks well-kept. This can help you score you points with today’s buyers, and add thousands to the selling price of your property. It’s a job that needs doing, and if you do it rather than the new owners, they will pay for that thoughtfulness.
When you’re showing prospective buyers around your home, lighting can be key. Change your bright white bulbs for something that is much softer and inviting. A more flattering wattage that gives your home a cozy feel and welcomes people into each room will go a long way to helping people make a decision.
5. Stage the Rooms
If you have rooms that aren’t really used for what they were originally designed (a spare bedroom currently being used as a junk room, a dining room being used as a study and so on), when you put your house on the market, turn those rooms back into what they are supposed to be. It’s easier for prospective buyers to see themselves in a property if you dress it right. It may inconvenience you for a short while as you try to sell, but if you make the house look great, that sale shouldn’t be too long in coming. Dress that spare bedroom as a bedroom – you can simply use a cheap bed frame (or borrow from a friend) with an inflatable mattress on, but be sure to dress it with complementing bed linens. Make your home have a dining room by tidying up your paperwork and renting a dining set – or, again, borrowing a table and chairs from someone. It will be worth the effort.
6. Use Smells
We’ve all heard of the idea that baking bread or cookies, or brewing up a pot of coffee before someone comes to view the property as a sure way to promote how homely and cozy the place is. The thing is, it’s not a myth. The sense of smell is the sense that is most closely related to memory and feelings. If you can evoke the feeling of comfort, a memory of childhood or happy times, then the potential buyer will automatically feel right at home, which is exactly the kind of thing that will lead them to buy it. If you’re not a baker, don’t worry; using scented candles can do the same trick.
7. Make the House Appear Bigger
You obviously can’t make your house bigger physically, but you can make it feel that way. You can, for example, lay down a striped rug, which will give the impression of a longer room. You can hang floor to ceiling drapes, which will give the illusion of a room with high ceilings. You can clear away clutter to show more floor space. In the yard, make sure there are no huge toys such as trampolines which take up a lot of space. These can be stored somewhere for the duration of the sale, or just until you have secured an offer. Above all…de-clutter your home. Clean out closets, basements, garages. We know this can be a challenge, especially if you have lived in your home for many years, but this is important, and we can help you with any of your downsizing needs.