There are many lists just like this one all over the internet, but they are out there, because it is very important. Studies have shown that people can make up their minds about someone based on their appearance in less than 10 seconds. A home is no different. More often than not it is the small things that make a difference and make a buyer fall in love and make an offer.
1) Price. This is the most important (and obvious) tip. If your home is priced right, it will sell. Now if you have the chutzpah take off an additional ten to fifteen percent, and you will be inundated with buyers. Often you get a multiple offer situation and get a price that is where you were originally going to list it. And you sell it in half the time!
2) No clutter. I mean nothing. Bare minimum. Closets should be empty or almost empty so the buyer can imagine their stuff in them (and they always look bigger empty.) Basements, garages and storage areas should all be sparsely filled.
3) Let the sun in. The brighter the better. Pull back all curtains, and take down shades or blinds that cover any windows. People love natural light.
4) Hide the pets. A barking or sniffing dog can or a meowing friendly kitty can distract anyone. you do not want buyers to feel like guests. You want them to envision themselves living there. Other people’s pets are a big reminder that they are in someone else’s home. Also pets smell. Any sort of odor is bad. The family pet will forgive being banished for a short time during a showing.
5) Curb appeal. I spoke about it before–the importance of a first impression. Keep the lawn mowed, and the hedges trimmed. Get rid of dead branches and weeds. The brighter and cheerier the exterior of the home looks, the better chance to get someone in that positive frame of mind as they come inside.
6) Hire the right agent. Do they do this full time? You want an agent who can’t pay their mortgage or feed their kids if they don’t sell your house. You don’t want an agent who does this as a hobby. Also what is their marketing strategy? What is their advertising budget? Get a referral from someone you know. Getting a good agent is key to selling you home. Interview at least three agents before making a decision.
7) Paint if you have to. A good neutral color is key. IF your daughter’s room is pink, consider changing the color. Also small things like a shiny new faucet in the kitchen or getting rid of older curtains can really make the difference. I had a listing where the owner bought new area rugs and throw pillows and had two offers the next week, after months on the market? Coincidence? Perhaps, but it certainly can’t hurt.
8) Make your house easy to show. There is an old real estate saying, “If you can’t show it, you can’t sell it.” Having potential sellers tromp through your house is annoying, and an evasion of privacy of sorts. However many showings are last minute. Just remember it won’t last forever. Try to be gracious, and make your home as available as possible.
9) Price. See number one.
10) Do a pre-inspection. I see this more and more, and I recommend it strongly. Hire an inspector before you list. There are a number of reasons for this. First of all, you can fix whatever he finds. Second, you can let prospective sellers know that the home has a clean bill of health. And third, should the buyers find some “hidden” problem, you are armed with your own inspection report to refute this tactic.
Small things can really make a big difference when selling. The key is to avoid the problems before they start.