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Make Your Home Stand Out To Buyers
With inventory increasing, buyers will have more options to choose from when searching for their next home. With more options available, buyers can afford to be more selective. While you can’t change everything, like your home’s layout and location, you can make it stand out. Here are some tips to help you do just that, based on our experience and frequent feedback.
First and foremost, deep clean your home! A dirty home never shows well and makes buyers wonder if other maintenance has been neglected. Pay special attention to bathrooms and kitchens, as these areas get extra scrutiny. If you don’t have time, or aren’t the best housekeeper, consider hiring a cleaning service for a deep clean. The $200-500 expense will be well worth it. Have a few honest friends or relatives come by for a “sniff test” as well. Strong food and pet odors can be major buyer turn-offs as well. A thorough cleaning will usually help remove most smells, but you may need to use a fabric refresher and air fresheners as well. Stick to more neutral, fresh scents or vanilla, as these are well tolerated. For smoke residue, however, an ozone treatment and/or nicotine-dissolving cleanser may be necessary.
Tackle minor touch-ups and maintenance. Chipped paint, peeling caulk, etc. can make a home look and feel neglected, even when its been well cared for. These are all inexpensive fixes that can be taken care of prior to listing so that buyers will notice your home’s best features instead of being distracted by the minor concerns. Bonus- they’ll reduce the number of items that are likely to appear on the buyer’s inspection report, too.
Clear the clutter! Buyers want to see all the space they’ll be getting, and your home’s features, not your knick-knacks and personal photos. Reduce the decorations and stored items inside of your home to a minimum, like a model home. (You can even go tour a couple of local model homes for inspiration.) Make sure to show off things like windows, fireplaces, and large rooms, without distracting buyers with your things. You’re moving anyway, so pack them up and store them in the garage (without blocking appliances or breaker boxes) or a storage unit. Edit the furniture in smaller rooms to make them feel larger and keep the décor scheme fresh but neutral. Stage the room with a few key pieces but remember that the goal is to show off the space, not your furniture.
Make a great first impression. Some buyers may cross your home off their list before they ever step inside if it doesn’t look nice on the outside. Keep your yard trimmed and tidy while your home is on the market. Overgrown shrubs and grass can make the home feel abandoned or even creepy, which is not the impression you’d want a potential buyer to have. Plant a few colorful flowers in pots near the front door, and in flower beds, and apply fresh mulch. Keep porches clear of junk or clutter, and regularly pick up any pet waste. If there are bald patches in the lawn, plant grass seed or apply sod patches. Keep the front porch light on after dark so that buyers and their agents can clearly see the entrance and key boxes. Don’t forget to treat for pests, too.
Prepare for availability as much as possible. Showing your home is always a little intrusive but try to accommodate as many requests as possible. Make a list of places you can go when buyers are touring your home- local parks, libraries, etc. and only decline when absolutely necessary. Sure, many buyers can schedule another time to come, but sometimes there are people who come into town for just one day to tour homes. Others may just cross your home off their list and move on. Remember that every missed showing is a potential missed opportunity.
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Scott and Tammy Watson are the Owners and Team Leads for GroupWatson, Keller Williams. With 47 years of combined real estate experience, a "Client First Philosophy" is exemplified by providing excepti....