Earlier this month, I shared some age-old superstitions for luck in the home buying/selling process. As an experienced and successful real estate agent in the Chicago and now Saint Louis area, I can tell you that you can make your own luck! I want to share my advice on what I have learned over the years to really push your home over the edge and make it appeal to buyers. Get lucky with the following tips and tricks…
Make a Good First Impression:
The exterior of your home is the first thing potential buyers will see so make sure you have spent some time on your home’s “curb appeal”. This means trimming down overgrown shrubbery, mulch any flowerbeds with fresh mulch (plant some flowers if it is the right season), put an extra coat of paint on your shutters and doors, and put out a fresh new welcome mat. The welcome mat may seem like a small detail, but potential buyers linger the longest at the front entrance and will notice these details, as well as any dirt, cobwebs or cracked paint. Perhaps the most effective way to spruce up the front entrance is by repairing or replacing the front door itself.
Let There Be Light:
Well-lit homes give off an impression of warmth and comfort, so make sure you are letting in as much natural light as possible by drawing back curtains, or removing dark and heavy drapes entirely. Additionally, when you have showings at your home, be sure to turn on all the lights in every room. This will save an agent time fumbling for switches during a showing. Make sure your home is well-lit from the outside, too. This is especially important in the winter months as potential buyers may drive past your home on their way home from work when it will most likely be darker. You also want your home to be a comfortable temperature. In the cooler months, consider lighting a fire in your fireplace if you have one. Not only does it highlight that feature, but it always plays up the warm, comforting feel of your home.
Keep it Fresh:
Smell plays a huge factor in a home’s appeal, but it can be tricky to master. Artificial candles and scent burners may turn people with sensitive noses and allergies off. Warm bread in the oven can be a very inviting smell. In all honesty, the best way to go is to keep your home clean and fresh. Eliminating pet odors and keeping your home clean will not only show potential buyers that you have taken good care of the property, but will leave a fresh clean smell that will appeal to everyone. So bust out the elbow grease and steam-clean carpets, wash windows, dust blinds and wipe down walls and baseboards. Don’t forget the to clean the inside of the oven (and microwave if it is built in), as serious buyers will often inspect these appliances.
A costly home renovation project is mostly likely not in your budget (it might even be the reason you want to sell), but you can make small inexpensive upgrades to your home to make it more appealing to new buyers. A few upgrades here and there can really make the difference in selling your home fast. A fresh coat of paint is the easiest and most inexpensive way to freshen up your home for prospective buyers. You’ll want to choose a neutral color, as it will appeal to a wider range of people. Small projects, like new cabinet hardware or light fixtures, can freshen things up and help set your home apart from others on the market. A top item on just about every buyer’s wish list is an updated kitchen. You can spruce up an old kitchen by updating older cabinets with new doors or a new paint job with new doorknobs and pulls. If your budget allows, consider updating an appliance or two to really be the star in your kitchen.
Set the Stage:
You want potential buyers to be able to imagine themselves living in your home. That means they need to be able to see their own furniture and belongings in your space. Make it easier for them to imagine this by truly clearing things out of your home. Remove as many personal items as possible; your aim is to clear away about 50 percent of your belongings. You may need to invest in a storage unit to hold your things while you are showing your home. A cluttered home can be perceived as lacking efficient storage space, so put away small appliances like toasters; clear makeup and other personal items in the bathroom; trinkets, knickknacks and personal collections should also be hidden from view. You may even need to clear out some larger furniture. A clutter-free home will seem larger, and make it easier for potential buyers to see themselves living there. You may even want to consider removing artwork and personal photos from walls and setting the dining room table with nice dishes. Staging your home to appeal to buyers is a surefire way to help sell your home more quickly.