This last week we went out to a listing appointment to tour a home or condo and talk about getting it ready for the market. There were some expected things that came up when listing a home and some that are not typical. This article outlines some things that you can do to get your home ready for the market without spending lots of time and money.
1) Clean, Clean, Clean! Nothing shows better than a clean home that smells fresh. The bathrooms and kitchen should sparkle with clean counters, baths, showers, toilets, floors, sinks, cabinets and freshly laundered towels. Windows and mirrors should be clean and free from any smudges as well. A great way to get these shiny is using a mixture of half water and half rubbing alcohol in a spray bottle and an old t shirt or rag to rub the solution on and off the glass. It works wonders!
2) Fresh paint on walls and trim makes a huge difference in the appearance of your home. This is true for both older and newer homes. It is amazing how far paint can go and adds to the "clean" feeling mentioned above. Choose a nice neutral color in an eggshell finish - any shade of white, off white, light taupe, oyster and light gray are all great choices for walls. Trim looks best in a milky to stark white in a satin to high gloss finish. Painting the inside of the home can be a fun way to have a get together with friends. Play some music, order a pizza and make it a party!
3) Take down any personal photos. This is a big one that often gets missed. It is important for the potential buyers to see themselves in the home. Think about when you go to a friend’s home and there are pictures on the wall, do you take time to look at them? Yes! Buyers will do the same thing and in doing so could miss some of the awesome features of the home or focus too much on you and your stuff.
4) De-clutter! We know that you love your vintage nutcracker collection, but not everybody will. That is what makes you, well you and that is great. When getting your home ready to sell, those quirky fun collections should be displayed in a stylish modern way. Pair it down to maybe 2 or 3 of your items and display them in a cabinet, bookshelf or mantel. Stuff is fun and distracting and just like the personal photos can take away attention from the star of the show, your home. Anything that is not used should be boxed up and stored away; this includes items in the bathrooms and on kitchen counters. It is important for the home to feel spacious and open, eliminating unnecessary items helps with this.
5) Stage the home! Staging can be done with the furniture and belongings you already have or with a vacant home can be added by a professional staging company. We recommend staging areas to look and feel open and spacious and be really easy to distinguish a use. Kitchens look great with fresh fruit in a bowl on the counter, a fancy soap and towel at the sink and minimal items on the counters like a free standing mixer or fancy espresso machine. Bathrooms are also a great place to have yummy soap; towels and a candle- keep it really simple in here, take all the other items off the counter and place them in a vanity or basket. Living areas should be easily walk able with room between furnishings: pillows, throws and coffee table books are great refreshers for this room. Bedrooms should always have a made bed, it doesn't have to be fancy, but it must be made and closets should be somewhat organized. It is important to not leave laundry laying on the floor or anything that could be a potential trip hazard when folks are walking through. Dining rooms are fun to stage with dishes and glassware, just set the table as you would for a dinner party.
6) Refresh the front yard. Make sure that the front yard is inviting, many potential buyers will drive by the home first and make a decision on an interior viewing based on what they see. A quick and easy update is adding color to the front door with paint- warm tones of orange red and chocolate are great choices. Keep the front yard tidy with mowed grass with clean edges and add some seasonal pots to the porch or stair case. It is easy and low maintenance to get some good sized pots – there are many inexpensive resin ones to choose from- and add mums or something green that will last for a few months.
7) Don’t forget to be festive! Having a home on the market during the Holiday Season can leave you wondering if decorating is a good idea. My opinion is seasonally decorating can add warmth and nostalgia. There is a fine balance here, keep it minimal, but comfortable for you and your family. After all it is still your home and there is something very charming about driving by a home with tasteful Holiday lights and décor, especially now that it gets dark at 5pm! If it is a vacant home the need to decorate for the Holidays is not necessary.
It can take some time and money- for paint and accessories- to get your home ready for the market, but it makes a huge difference when your house is being showed. It is worth it to have a clean, open feeling home where buyers can see themselves living that makes a positive impact on the potential new home owners. Some folks have vision and can see beyond stuff, clutter, dirt and other things, but some people cannot. Take the guess work out of it for the buyers; let them see your home in its best light!
Written by Amanda Folkestad and