Normally, early Spring is when real estate starts to gear up again but not this year. By late January my phone was ringing off the hook with sellers wanting to get their homes ready and on the market. We met and talked about the fact that supply was low. Most decided they did not want to wait for everyone to start flooding the market with properties for sale so we hurried to get ready.
I have to say, I have been extremely fortunate in regards to my seller clients. Everyone was receptive to a fresh pair of eyes on the property. Some needed to do minimal things to get ready, others did a bit more, with the understanding that a little investment on the front end would pay off in dividends regarding what we could ask for the property, which be the way resulted in multiple offers and being under contract within 48 hours. The fact of the matter is, a lot of buyer clients have trouble seeing past the current owner’s taste/furnishings/color palette etc. So, it’s up the sellers to help the buyers envision the potential and picture themselves in the home.
Here’s some of the things my seller clients did to get their homes ready for the market:
- Apply paint to the walls. Or, if money is tight, just paint a fresh coat of white on all the trim. You’d be surprised how clean this makes a room appear. If you do it yourself, its just the cost of the paint, and your time. If you hire someone, figure $250-350 per room depending on just the walls, or walls, ceiling, and trim, plus based on the size of the room. Or have a pizza and beer painting party and invite friends to help paint.
- Put additional furniture in storage. A lazyboy chair in the bedroom might be great for watching TV or reading at night, but not so much when it’s taking up valuable space. Remember, it’s not about how you really live when selling a house. It’s about showcasing the space of the home and allowing the potential home buyers to visualize their own things in the space.
- Reduce the amount of stuff in their bookcases and staged them (tip: you should choose wisely which books you leave out – people will look at the reading material to try and gain insight into the current homeowners. Ditto for personal pictures on the walls.)
- A simple can of black spray paint can work wonders. One homeowner put a fresh coat on the metal foundation vents covers, as well as his house numbers, both of which had looked faded and old. A quick spray and they looked fresh and new again. The can of spray paint cost under five dollars.
- Stage the countertop with wine, glasses, cookbook etc. Cost? Nothing but a few minutes of your time.
- Use one color as an accent (in an otherwise neutral palette) to give a sense of cohesion throughout the home. Most likely, you will already own various things of the same color as we are drawn to similar stuff over and over again. Just pare down the rest and use one main accent color.
- Steam clean the carpets.
- Remove any fixtures that you don’t want to convey with the home, prior to showings. Fixtures are considered anything that are attached. ( i.e.: curtain rods, mirrors, lighting). You are better off removing and replacing these prior to putting on the market. If buyers see it and like it, they will ask for it. Remove the temptation so no chance of conflict later.
- Replace old, dated, rusted exterior light fixture. First impressions are everything. Thirty to a hundred bucks now, may be worth thousands to you later in offering price. If buyers feel like the place needs work, they won’t offer as much for the home.
- Replace old knobs with brushed nickel knobs on kitchen cabinets. You can buy a contractor pack of 10 knobs cheap at Lowe’s or Home Depot. Cost depending on number of knobs: approx. 15-40 dollars, ballpark.
- Clean and replace air filters. Buyers will look to see if its dirty. If it is, they will wonder what else hasn’t been maintained. Don’t give them a reason to look for imperfections.
- Fresh pine straw/mulch in the yard. Annual flowers for a pop of color when possible. (about 4 bucks a bale, flat of annuals 10-13 dollars)
You want to present a home that feels well cared for, and properly maintained. Putting your best foot forward and spending a little bit of time and money prior to listing, will result in a shorter time on market, quicker “under contract”, less showing times where you will have to keep vacating the property and make your bed, do the dishes, hide any daily clutter etc. Do yourself a favor and take the steps needed on the front end so you have a smoother, quicker path to selling your home.
Would you like to meet and discuss further? Call me at 704-771-9200 and let’s get started.