This time of year is known for its influx of houses to sell on the market. A time of change, and for some that means expanding the family, starting anew in a different area or buying a new smaller or larger home.
I’ve sold the houses we have been living in a few times now, and each time we’ve done it in less than a week, and for over the asking price. Some of this will of course be because we bought well, and the market conditions at the time, however I think I have some great tips and ideas that will help anyone when looking to sell their home quickly and for a good price.
Step one : Be objective.
This is before you have hired an estate agent or real estate broker if you are in the US. As I think when you get ready to put your house on the market and find out its worth you should show your home in its absolute best light.
So step back and look at your home objectively. When you are being objective and making changes to your home it’s not that you should be throwing money at you home, most of the things that you will do at this stage, will cost you no more than a can of paint, some plants for the kerb appeal and lots of hard work. It is however imperative that you look at your home as a buyer would.
I don’t believe that you should make your home feel sterile, and take the personality out of it, as this is actually the thing that will sell it in my opinion. It should most importantly be these three things.
1. Clean and tidy: It’s what my very good friend calls ‘bottoming something out’ and it means not just surface cleaning, but taking a room at a time and carefully cleaning the room, making a note in each room of any areas that need repainting or any repairs that need doing. Look high and low, everywhere as your buyers certainly will!
2. Decluttered : It might be that we find it convenient to have a spare bed in an already crowded bedroom, or a third sofa just in case we have family around. You need to ensure that when showing your home, each room feels airy and uncluttered. Make sure the room has furniture in, that is fit for purpose, taking away any that isn’t. Toys, magazines, and general clutter should be stored away, of course you need to live there, but think about this as a business project, and the easier it will be to achieve your goal if you get these stages right!
3. Fully Dressed : Buy new bed linen if your budget will allow, and dress your bed to look inviting, add decorative cushions and a throw and layer up for the luxurious feeling. Add new cushions and throws to the sofas too. Soft furnishing can be a good way to add this seasons colour and patterns to a room, and you can pick them up with a little research very cheaply. You hallway should be uncluttered now of any extra shoes and coats, but go one step further and make sure and add something to this room to really make you stand out and be positively remembered. A gorgeous round mirror, an unusual stand out plant or art work, you can check out my Pinterest board on hallways which has some fantastic ideas on.
Kitchens and bathrooms are among the most important rooms to a prospective buyer, as these are usually the most expensive ones to renew. So if you have the budget I would advise these being the rooms that you spend the time dressing or overhauling. It could mean a new back splash, hardware on the doors, towels, freshening up paintwork or new lighting but definitely give both of these rooms your most attention.
Included in this is the overall first impression of your home – ‘kerb appeal‘ and it really counts in my book. Paint your front door, wash down all of the paintwork and clean your windows. Make the entrance to your home inviting! I always try to budget to buy new plants and have at least two planters, placed either side of my doorway. Cram them full of flowering plants, over fill really a tip I learnt from my gardening Dad. He advised me that you can always thin them out later, but be bold so that they make an amazing first impression.
Step Two : Advice
When you ask the estate agent to visit, treat it as if a potential home buyer were coming. So your home should look at its very best. Then as part of your discussion with them (before you decide whether to use them or not) ask them if there is anything you think that you should do before putting the house on the market. It really is a bit of a fail safe for step one of my plan, and sometimes they might see something that was so glaringly obvious, but you’d missed. It’s also a good indicator I think how good they are at their job.
Of course many people are using an online estate agents now, so how about inviting a friend that you know and trust for ideas and an objective eye.
Step Three : Showing your home.
Now of course by this point you home will be looking tip-top, but I would go a little further on the days that you have people looking around your home, of course people look with their eyes, so fresh bed linen, plumped up cushions and flowers will really help, but aroma is also important. Hopefully all that hard work and deep cleaning would have gotten rid of any unpleasant smells, but lighting candles and the old trick of baking bread, or making coffee for me are oldies but goodies! Another simple trick is to let them enter a room before you (psychologically it will place them living there, and also make the room appear larger) and if the room is particularly small let them enter and you stay outside.
Finally and honestly it can make all the difference, decide who is going to show your home. If you have children, I would say one parent take them out, whilst the other shows the home. In our case, my husband is much better at this stage as me, as he finds it easy to quickly build a rapport, whereas I find myself feeling awkward. Play to your strengths, and that means both you and the house!
This is a collaborative post.