Listing Prep That Will Get Your Home Sold
Updated: Aug 27, 2019
You've decided that your current home is no longer the place for you. Whatever the reason may be you're ready to put it on the market. Hopefully your first step is hiring an agent (for non biased reasons, of course). Shortly to follow is getting your house prepped and ready to be showcased. Like any other product for sale, we want to make sure yours is shown in its best light possible, literally and figuratively. So, how exactly can you do that? I follow the rule of senses: Sight, Smell, Touch, Sound, Taste.
1. Take the home out of the house.
A home often becomes a very personal, sentimental place. As a result it is decorated with family pictures, heirlooms, and memories. This makes it YOUR home. But when selling, we want a potential buyer to see it as THEIR home. Therefore, an important listing prep step is depersonalizing. Remove all family photos, regalia, and memorabilia. This not only depersonalizes the residence but also protects your privacy.
2. Set the Stage
After this has been accomplished, your agent or stager may suggest how to arrange the furniture in your home to best represent your house. This could mean making it seem more open, rooms bigger, more light, more neutral, updated, etc. There is strong evidence that staging a home greatly impacts sale profit and positive feedback of a house. In a study, over 81% of potential buyers could see themselves living in homes removed of personal items and positively impacted their opinion of the home.
Some agents or stagers may suggest arranging your own furniture or renting furniture to best represent the space. This is called staging. There is overwhelming evidence that staged homes have much greater success than not. It has been noted that staged homes sell 25% faster than homes that are not staged. They also profit 6% higher than homes that are not staged, on average.
Along with personal memorabilia, a home also usually includes personal style or flare. We're talking to you with the plaid wallpaper! One of the biggest things a buyer looks at beyond the bones of the property is the work they will put in to bring their own vision to life. The less work they foresee, typically the better. Help them out by muting those bright colors and funky fixtures. This will also relieve you from work in the future negotiation. Some buyers see these "inconveniences" as negotiation opportunities. A real estate agent favorite is Sherwin-Williams Agreeable Gray for walls (not an ad). Light, neutral colors allow a room to appear larger and brighter.
4. Make a good first impression - Curb Appeal
First impressions are important in so many avenues of life, including real estate. My first suggestion is making sure your home number stands out and is visible from the road. This helps both interested buyers and agents, alike. You want people to be able to find your home to view.
Next, is ensuring your key unlocks the selected entry door with ease. A buyer cannot see your home if they cannot get in. This seems like a silly, unnecessary tip but I am here to tell you it is a common problem sellers make.
Finally, to the actual yard. A maintained and manicured yard has more of an impact than you may realize. Statistics show that homes for sale with well managed yards and landscaping saw a 5.5% to 11.4% increase in profit. At the very least be sure to keep up with regular cuts and edging. For added appearance make sure to pull weeds, rake leaves, mulch beds, and even plant a few flowers. It really will be worth it.
5. Get professional grade photos
Nothing drives me more crazy than poor photos of a listing. Spend the money to get professional grade pictures. Do not rely on a dated camera phone that will cut rooms in half and be unable to pick up any light. Homes for sale that use the right photography sell 32% faster. This can be critical in some sales where you need to get moving. 87% of home buyers who have used online platforms to view homes reported photos being the most important and useful piece of information on a house they were interested in. If you have poor pictures, you may deter quite a few buyers from even coming to view your home.
4. Freshen Up
One of the biggest deal killers is a bad smelling home. Pets and smokers are two of the biggest culprits. In fact, they have been known to decrease a home's value by 29% on average. I am in no way discouraging you from getting a pet, they are the best. However, dander, accidents, and shedding fur can be a recipe for stink. With smoking, not only can it turn your walls yellow and stain your carpets but it can leave a smell that is hard and expensive to remove.
Start by cleaning the home WELL. This includes shampooing carpets, replacing lightbulbs (they hold odors too), and cleaning out the air vents. Make sure there is good airflow throughout the house. If the smell still lingers it's time to pull out the big guns. Removing and replacing flooring and adding fresh coats of paint and rid of the traps that lock in those pesky smells. If that still does not work, rent or buy an ozone generator. Do not try and mask the smell with a dozen candles and plug ins. A soft background smell can be nice but many buyers catch the tip when there is a strong fragrance filling a home.
5. Buyer Hands
Buyer's love touching things. Countertops, cabinets, furniture, etc. Make sure they do not find last night's dinner remnants or the week's dust bunnies. I know it can be difficult to keep the house pristine while still trying to live your life there, especially with children. Do your best. Also be sure to mark any items you do not want touched or messed with.
6. Good Vibes
Some homes are located in a noisier area. Be aware of what sounds may be around your home. If you are near a highway, train, or airplane strip maybe set showing appointments around quieter periods. This is not to be misleading. You can advertise what sounds may affect the home. But this allows for a more pleasant showing experience without the interruption of noise.
Some buyers even enjoy light background music. This is a luxury touch that isn't necessary. But music has been shown to greatly impact the mood or attitude of an individual. For example, studies have shown that fancy music played in shops and boutiques has been reported to make patrons feel fancier and spend likewise.
7. Treat yourself and your potential buyers
I'm sure you have heard the old trick to bake cookies or some sort of treat before buyers come view your home for the smell. What better way to make buyers feel at home than with a little extra hospitality? Leave out a treat or maybe even some water. Buyers usually see quite a few homes in a day. Make your home stand out!