David Howell, executive vice president and chief information officer at McEnearney Associates, writes in the Washinton Post, “Almost every major indicator (in the Washington area’s real estate market) is down compared to last year — there are fewer new contracts, homes are taking a bit longer to sell and they aren’t selling as close to list price as last year. Regionally, there has been a significant increase in the number of homes on the market, and that means that would-be buyers who were hard-pressed to find their home of choice in last year’s exceptionally tight market are finding many more choices now.
Seller’s market, buyers’ markets anybody’s guess. If you want to sell your house even this fall before the snow flies, you must make your home stand out? Before you actually put your home up for sale, go to some open houses in your neighborhood. I suspect, after just a few visits to homes on the market, you’ll see a range of differences in houses are prepared for sale. Selling your house is not about you, but getting the prospective home buyer to picture their stuff in your space. How do you do that? Here are 10 tips to sell your home.
- Make their first visit to your home a lasting impression. The lawn should be mowed and edged, dead stuff taken away or raked, plants trimmed. Wash the siding and windows. You are going for curb appeal.
- Freshly paint the front door. This is the welcome mat to your home. And while you are at it, make sure the doorbell and porch light work.
- Make it smell good when they walk in. Have you been to a vacation resort lately? When you enter their lobby, you a greeted by a clean, tropical smell that makes you want to linger. Have a friend walk into your home and give it the smell test. There should be no pet or garbage odors. Make your home as inviting as that vacation spa.
- Declutter every room. “Get rid of the family pictures,” says, Staci Byers, home stager. “Get out of your house!” You want them to imagine their belongings, pictures, art, books in “their” new home.” Get them to thinking it’s their house from the time they walk in the door.
- You’ve de-cluttered the house. Is it clean? Nothing will turn off the buyer more than filth. If they feel unclean walking through your house, you’ve failed to make a sale. Remember “Poltergeist” and the little lady who rid the house of ghosts? She dusted off her hands and said, “This house is clean!”
- Clean out the closets, the medicine cabinet, and the tops of dressers. The buyer doesn’t want to see any of that.
- Make sure the bathroom is clean and all of your grooming gear is gone. Let me repeat: Make sure the bathroom is clean and all of your grooming gear is gone. You are going to move, so get out of the house.
- Paint! Take down the pictures from the walls, spackle the nail holes, and paint. Stick to neutral colors. You may love that purple wall, but it doesn’t work when you are showing your house.
- Decorate tables with flowers. If you have room for al fresco dining, set the table with napkins. Let them picture themselves dining outside, enjoying the conversation over candlelight.
- Stage your home for sale or hire a home stager. Your home will be clean, sleek, no distractive décor, and your chances will be great for a quick sale. Homes that have been staged sell quicker, and for a higher price. Since much of the initial shopping for a home is online, photos of a staged house draw more buyers to an open house.