The sentiment “don’t judge a book by its cover” can be applied to many situations. When it comes to selling their homes, homeowners should remember this adage as they prepare their homes for prospective buyers.
Statista indicates that there were 560,000 houses sold in the United States in 2016. The Canadian Real Estate Association said a record 536,118 residential properties changed hands in 2016, marking a 6.3 percent increase from 2015.
Homeowners who want to make their properties stand out can take the following steps.
De-personalize the home.
Homeowners fill their spaces with family photos, heirlooms, personal interests and other conversation pieces. Prospective buyers might not be able to see past personal belongings and even might be distracted by them. For example, buyers who have strong beliefs about animal welfare might not buy a home displaying hunting trophies. Remove personalized items where possible, replacing them with generic items.
Improve the exterior.
HGTV says that curb appeal is crucial to making a strong first impression. A messy or lackluster landscape can turn buyers away even before they reach the front door. Mow the lawn and make sure shrubbery has been trimmed. Seasonal potted flowers and plants can help make the house look polished. Repair cracks or damaged walkways, and consider a fresh coat of paint on trim around windows and doors. Pressure-wash siding if necessary.
Put things in storage.
Use a storage unit to house items that can make a home appear cluttered. Clean out closets and cabinets, so that when buyers “snoop” during appointments or open houses, they see orderly storage areas. If closets are brimming with stuff, buyers might assume the house doesn’t have enough storage space and move on.
Make it light and bright.
Open up all of the drapes and blinds, and turn on overhead lights so the house is well-lit. Add table lamps or other fixtures to especially dim rooms.
Create a hotel experience.
Forbes suggests making bathrooms look like a spa. Stack a few pretty washcloths tied with ribbon, add some scented candles and faux plants and buy bath mats and towels in coordinating tones.
Remove extraneous items from kitchen counters and replace them with vases of flowers. In addition, set up dining spaces as if one were sitting down to a meal, and ensure appliances are sparkling clean.
Use common “scents.”
Skip the fish, bacon or other aromatic meals for a few days, as such foods can leave lingering aromas. Baked goods, vanilla and cinnamon might make for more appealing scents.
Making a home sell fast involves preparation and the knowledge that buyers are often greatly influenced by their first impressions.