Home Selling Tips
Effective Easy Ways to Make Your Home Sell Faster!
*MAKE THOSE MINOR REPAIRS- All those tiny flaws in your otherwise beautifully maintained home will add up to one thing to the observant buyer.
*REGARDLESS OF SEASON, TACKLE SPRING CLEANING- Those hours spent thoroughly cleaning your home will be hours well spent when the results pay off in an early and profitable sale. Clean windows are important! Pay particular attention to your kitchen and bathrooms - they involve personal health and hygiene, and are areas buyers scrutinize closely.
*CREATE THE ILLUSION OF SPACIOUSNESS- Make your living space APPEAR larger by eliminating bulky, unnecessary furniture - rearrange to give the illusion of spaciousness.
*GIVE YOUR ROOMS A LIGHT, BRIGHT LOOK- Most buyers want large, bright, cheerful rooms.
*USE COLOR AND LIGHTING TO DRAW ATTENTION TO YOUR HOME'S BEST SELLING FEATURES- Highlight the graceful bay window with a colorful arrangement of flowers. Color has the power to attract. Lighting should be used for emphasis.
*DISGUISE UNSIGHTLY VIEWS- Disguise that potentially offending view, but always let light into your rooms. Replace heavy curtains with sheer panels. Above all, don't apologize for a poor view.
*ELIMINATE UNPLEASANT ODORS- Remember that some people are more sensitive to odors than others. Smokers rarely notice the odor of tobacco that fills their homes, and pet owners may be oblivious to objectional doggy odor. Use powered products like regularly. Mildew odors are another no-no. Don't allow wet towels to accumulate in hampers, or old laundry to pile up in closets.
*AVOID ECCENTRICITIES- Smart sellers play down individualistic touches that may express perfectly their taste and personality, but, at the same time, appeal to a minority of home buyers. In selling, play the odds. If your rooms are painted purple and beaded curtains hang in every doorway, don't rely on your real estate agent to find the perfect buyer whose taste match yours. The average buyer will have a hard time looking beyond purple walls and eccentric decor. A couple coats of white paint may be the best investment you ever made.
*RECOGNIZE THE FINE LINE BETWEEN CLUTTER AND STERILITY- Notice the small details that make the rooms particularly attractive and appealing - a vase of flowers, a basket of knitting yarns. Accessories can make or break a room, but be on the lookout for distractive clutter.
*DISPLAY PHOTOGRAPHS THAT SHOW YOUR HOME DURING OTHER SEASONS- Go through your photo albums and select pictures of your house and yard during all four seasons. If hung at eye level in a well lighted area, the pictures will speak for themselves and give you yet another selling edge.
FRONT DOOR AND PORCH
*CREATE A WELCOME SPOT OF COLOR- There should be something special that beckons him to your front door, something that sets your home off from the other houses on the block. A bright red milk can, a tub of geraniums, a pot of floppy petunias, or a basket of nasturtiums. Invest in a new doormat that says "welcome."
*OPEN YOUR HOME TO THE OUTSIDE WORLD- A buyer approaches a home with curiosity aroused; he wants to have positive feelings. If all the curtains are drawn and the front door is locked and bolted, your home will seem like a forbidding fortress. If the curtains are open, the windows sparkling clean, and the front door open (in warm weather), your home will radiate a welcome spirit and invite the buyer to enter.
*CAPITALIZE ON A SPACIOUS FRONT PORCH/DECK- Take advantage of the nostalgia it evokes. Set the stage and stimulate imaginations.
*CREATE A DRAMATIC FOCAL POINT- Study your entry hall and ask "what kind of statement" it makes about your home. This area should "greet" and say "Welcome, your house hunting days are over." Dried flowers can make a striking focal point on a hail table any time of the year. Imagine cattails, a bunch of orange Chinese lanterns, an arching spray of bittersweet, or wheat stalks in a glowing copper planter.
*ADD SPACIOUSNESS WITH A MIRROR- Virtually any entry hall, will benefit from a well placed mirror.
*IMPROVE THE FLOOR'S APPEARANCE HERE, IF NOWHERE ELSE- Your entry hail flooring is observed carefully buy the prospective buyer - give them a positive attitude.
*CLEAN OUT YOUR COAT CLOSET- The entry hall closet is the first one inspected - make it appear roomy. Add a few extra hangers. Hang a bag of cedar chips or a potpourri ball to give a pleasant, fresh scent.
LIVING ROOM AND FAMILY ROOM
*TREAT THESE ROOMS AS IF THEY WERE STAGED SETTINGS- Buyers ask themselves, "Can I imagine myself LIVING in this room?" Your job is to make each room project a positive response. What touches make a room look truly inviting? Music is one element. Consider leaning a guitar in the corner of your living room, or opening some sheet music on the piano with a light shinning on it.
*HIGHLIGHT YOUR FIREPLACE- Don't take for granted and expect the buyer to imagine the glow of a roaring fire; light one. Place something colorful on the mantel, but don't overdo!
*IMPROVE TRAFFIC FLOW IN THESE ROOMS- Make rooms visually larger by removing excess furniture. Have easy traffic flow patterns. Be sure that all doors open fully.
DINING ROOM OR DINING AREA
*SET THE SCENE BY SETTING THE TABLE- You can stimulate a buyer's imagination by setting your dining table with pretty china and silver - a warm or welcome site. (Notice the photographs of dining rooms in any home decorating magazine.) Avoid going overboard - any stage setting that you create should reflect the character of your entire home - to be effective.
*VISUALLY ENLARGE A SMALL DINING AREA- If your dining table has one or two leaves take one or two out. Consider placing your dining table against a wall. Remove any extra "company" chairs. Consider putting that looming China cabinet in storage until your house is sold. Aim for a clean and tidy look.
*USE PROPS TO SET A CHEERFUL SCENE- Set the scene with: - An open cookbook - A cooper colander filled with blueberries - A basket of eggs - A bunch of carrots on a wooden cutting board - A ceramic mixing bowl and wire whisk.
*MAKE IT SMELL LIKE GRANDMA'S KITCHEN- "Nothing' says lovin' like something from the over." These aromas are associated with happiness and a sense of well-being.
*EXPAND YOUR SMALL COUNTER SPACE- Clean counters of small appliances. Check the counter top around your sink, and remove any detergent or cleanser, etc., that may be cluttering the area.
*CREATE MORE STORAGE SPACE- If your cabinets, draws, and closets are jammed full, buyers assume that your storage space is inadequate. Weed out all these areas, removing what you don't use, storing seldom-used items elsewhere, and reorganizing shelves. Neat, organized shelves and draws fool the eye by looking larger.
*ACCENT KITCHEN WINDOWS- Large, cheerful kitchen windows are a real plus and should be highlighted as a special feature of your home. Hang a stained glass mobile or some wind chimes in front of your sunny kitchen window. If you hang a bird feeder outside your window, nature will seem to become part of the room.
*HIGHLIGHT AN EAT-IN AREA OF YOUR KITCHEN- Accentuate by setting the table for an informal meal with bright placemats and a generous bowl of fruit as a centerpiece.
*MAKE IT CHEERFUL AND APPEALING- Add a fresh coat of paint! Is it well organized? Piles of dirty laundry can be a real turnoff to the buyer's eye - and nose!
*SET IT UP TO DO DOUBLE DUTY- If there's room for a table and chair, could it be a pleasant sewing area? Set up that old Singer and place a bright colored piece of fabric under the presser foot.
*MAKE THEM SAFE- Stair lighting should be more than adequate, stairs must be clutter free, stair railings tight and secure, and runners or carpeting tacked securely. Cheerfully decorated stairs are positive!
*ADD VISUAL INTEREST TO THE STAIRWELL- A carefully chosen accent might improve the area's visual appeal If you have a wide, gracious staircase, emphasize this feature by hanging a few pictures along the wall. Draw attention to a handsome lighting fixture by polishing the brass and dusting each small light bulb or crystal prism. Any stair landing should also have an attractive focal point, be it a fern on a plant stand, a dramatic poster, a chiming clock, or a special chair on a large stair landing. If the staircase is narrow, fool the eye by minimizing clutter.
*CREATE A MASTER BEDROOM "SUITE" EFFECT- Large master bedrooms are particularly popular among today's home buyers. Make your bedroom larger. Paint the room a light color, remove one of the bureaus if the room is crowded, minimize clutter to maximize spaciousness. Aim for a restful, subdued "look."
A private bathroom off the master bedroom is a real sales plus...decorate to coordinate with the color scheme of your bedroom, create the "suite" effect.
*TACKLE YOUR CLOSETS- Virtually all buyers are looking for a house with plenty of closet space. Try to make what you have appear generous and well planned...
• clear out all but your current seasonal wardrobe.
• a clear floor will make a closet seem more spacious.
• closet shelves should look well organized.
• when prospective buyers open your closet door, they should be greeted with a whiff of fresh-smelling air.
• be sure that every closet in your home has a light so that buyers can easily inspect the interiors.
*DEPERSONALIZE TEENAGER'S ROOMS- Take the time to explain your house-selling goals to your children. Encourage them to participate in preparing your home for showing; particularly the principle of appealing to the widest possible market...store those personal posters until your home is sold.
*CREATE A LOOK- Decorate and personalize - create a pleasing, individual look. Add plants, shells you collected at the beach last summer in an attractive glass bowl or jar, pictures, magazine rack, display fresh towels that coordinate with paint colors, etc.
*CONSIDER COLOR- Remember, appeal to a wide range of buyers. Play down that all-pink look with contrasting dove-gray towels and matching bathroom rug. If your bathroom is mostly white or neutral, add a few cheerful accents of color; use towels in the popular shades. Don't hesitate to buy a few new towels and a rug; you'll be taking them with you to your new home.
*INVEST IN A NEW SHOWER CURTAIN.
*IMPROVE YOUR FLOOR COVERING- Notice the word "improve" not "replace." Scrub and wax the older floor. Cover the largest area you can with a large scatter rug.
*PUT OUT FRESH TOWELS AND SOAP- Prospective buyers are very special guests in your home. Give the VIP treatment with fresh smelling towels and new soap in an attractive dish. Splurge on a box of fancy sculptures and perfumed guest soaps.
*GO EASY ON AIR SPRAYS AND ROOM DEODORIZES- A gentle hint of fragrance in the air is fine, but keep it subtle.
*EASE THAT CREEPY, HAUNTED FEELING- Spruce up your attic space, hide the mousetraps, and install bright lights. If your attic does have windows, be sure to clean off the grime and let in as much light as possible. Clean as needed.
*REARRANGE YOUR STORAGE- Get rid of anything that you don't plan to move to your new home. Remaining stored materials should be neatly contained in boxes and trunks, and position against walls.
*MAKE THE MOST OF YOUR ATTIC'S EXPANSION POTENTIAL- If you have a large, cheerful, windowed attic, you're sitting on a potential gold mine. Don't renovate your attic, just stage to suggest your attic space has potential.
*MAKE IT AS PLEASANT AS POSSIBLE- A dark damp-smelling basement, will have trouble selling. One whiff of mildew and a prospective buyer may begin conjuring up scenes of wading through your flooded basement in rubber hip boots. Clean up mildew stains, throw out any upholstered basement furniture that retains that musty smell, and check the basement walls for high water marks. Many basements are creepy simply because they are too dark. Increase the wattage of your existing light bulbs, and if necessary, install a few more lights.
*SET IT UP AS A GAME ROOM OR TEEN ROOM- Set your ping pong table (with balls and paddles as props), hang some bright posters, dust off the old upright, and you've instantly transformed the place into a teen hangout. Your "stage setting" needn't be complete and shouldn't cost a cent - its only meant to be an imagination jogger that suggests further possibilities to buyers.
*HIGHLIGHT A WORKBENCH AREA- Many dream of having a home workshop for woodworking projects. Clear off that dusty workbench in your basement and draw some attention to it as a sales feature. Clean the surface, set out a few scraps of wood, a box of nails, and a couple of tools, hang a light over the bench, and you've set a scene for an amateur carpenter. Naturally, if someone in your family is REALLY into woodwork, an honest-to-gosh project in progress will stimulate buyers to imagine themselves working in your pleasant basement.
DRIVEWAYS & GARAGES
*FIX UP DRIVEWAYS FOR FIRST-IMPRESSION IMPACT- The driveway is no place for children's toys. Not only are such things dangerous, the clutter is unsightly. The surface of your driveway should be beyond reproach; after all, it's one of the first things a buyer will see when they drive up. Repair cracks and potholes, pull up pesky weeds, or get a new load of gravel.
*ENLARGE AND IMPROVE THE APPEARANCE OF THE GARAGE- A clean, organized garage appears larger. If dark, add more light, if small, one-car garage - remove your car before buyers visit. An empty garage always looks larger. If a two-car garage with very little extra room, remove one of your cars so that the buyer can make their inspection in comfort.
*AVOID AN OVERGROWN, UNKEPT LOOK- Does your yard radiate owners pride? So, drag out the lawnmower, sharpen up those hedge cutters, and shape up your yard:
• Prune bushes, mow your grass, trim trees and hedges, edge along walks and driveways, spray stubborn weeds.
• An inch or two of bark mulch around your foundation shrubs makes an excellent first impression.
*MARK YOUR PROPERTY BOUNDARIES- Paint stakes a bright red or yellow, and stick them in the ground at the corners of your property. This will not only show consideration, it will be an effective sales tool.
*BRIGHTEN UP YOUR PROPERTY WITH SOME FLOWERS- Plop the plants into a well-placed wheelbarrow, and old fashioned washtub, or what have you. Such standbys as nasturtiums, petunias, impatients, and verbena are easy to maintain if you remember to water them regularly. Try a row of sweet smelling alyssum to line a short sidewalk or pop in some perky dwarf marigolds to form a cheerful oasis of color in your yard.
*DRAW ATTENTION TO SPECIAL TREES- Many buyers can't tell an oak from an elm, but they like the notion of having gracious, mature trees on the property they buy. Make sure yours grabs the buyer's immediate attention. Hang a swing from a strong branch, plant some bright, shade tolerant flowers like impatients, or set up your picnic table under the tree's leafy awning.
*PLAY UP FLAT AREAS- Set up your old badminton or volleyball net in that flat area of your yard.
*SET UP A BACKYARD LIVING/DINING AREA- It is important to devote at least one area of your yard to outdoor living. Buyers will still recognize a scene set with picnic table and chairs and respond positively to it. Cover your picnic table with a fringed, red-and-white checked cloth, set out some plastic plates and glasses, bring out the barbecue equipment, and buyers will almost smell the hot dogs cooking!
WHEN YOUR HOME IS SHOWN
*BE WILLING TO SHOW YOUR HOME (PRACTICALLY) ANYTIME- Play the odds. The more people who see your home, the more likely you are to sell it quickly. Yes, it's an inconvenience to show your home at dinner time, but if the people buy your home, isn't it worth reheating the pot roast?
*HAVE A FAMILY "GAME PLAN" FOR LAST-MINUTE SHOWINGS- Prepare for the inevitable, unexpected showings with a family game plan. To be effective, this plan should be worked out by all your family and actually written down so that everyone knows what to do if you sound the alarm. No one is talking about major house cleaning at this point. The kinds of tasks you ought to be concerned with now are simple ones: dust the dining table top, stuff last night's dirty pans in the dishwasher, hide those damp panty hose hanging on the shower rod. Even young children can participate by' "cleaning" their room.
*AIR OUT YOUR HOME HALF AN HOUR BEFORE SHOWING- Any home will smell better if you can open the windows in each room and let in some fresh air. Stale air isn't appealing, particularly in a home with smokers or pets.
*SET YOUR THERMOSTAT AT A COMFORTABLE TEMPERATURE- Yes, we all want to save on our heating costs, but a chilly house can make buyers nervous and set them to wondering if you home is poorly insulated or your furnace is on its last leg.
*TURN ON LIGHTS IN EACH AND EVERY ROOM- You can make home showings smoother for your agent if you turn on lights in every room before prospective buyers arrive. This also gives you an opportunity to select the lighting effects you want for each room. Be sure not to overlook areas like your attic and basement where light switches are often difficult to locate. No area of your home should be dark.
*TURN ON PLEASANT BACKGROUND MUSIC- Music has a subliminal power. Why else would stores bother to pipe in soft background music if not to put customers in a comfortable, relaxed mood for what else - buying. Speaking of sound, every seller should know better than to leave a television blaring away when the home is being shown. This is rude and distracting.
*KEEP OUT OF SIGHT WHEN THE SALESPERSON IS SHOWING YOUR HOME- Once you've answered the door and welcomed the real estate agent and potential buyers, you should take a walk or visit your neighbors or go grocery shopping. The shrewd seller sets the scene so that buyers can walk onto the stage and immediately begin play-acting, pretend the home is already theirs.
*NEVER VOLUNTEER INFORMATION- If you've followed the previous tip, you won't be around to chat with the buyers, but if you are at home, resist the urge to volunteer information about what you consider to be important sales features. It's all too easy to develop seller's foot-in-mouth disease.
*ASSEMBLE HOUSE RECORDS FOR BUYER PERUSAL- In these times of rising energy costs, buyers will most certainly ask what your home heating and electrical costs are. If you are including any appliances in the sale price of your home, you should keep warranties and instruction booklets in this same file.
*TELL EVERYONE YOU MEET THAT YOUR HOUSE IS FOR SALE- Why keep it a secret? Your neighbors across the street may have a friend who has been waiting to move into the neighborhood. Word of mouth is a strong selling aid. If each person you tell that your house is for sale tell two more people, and those people each tell two more people, word can spread quite rapidly.
*REMAIN OPTIMISTIC- The buyer for your home will be knocking soon!