“It’s time to sell.” These few words can be quite an emotional decision for many homeowners. Sometimes we can be in denial that we are actually moving out of our home or that our lives are going to change. However, before the “For Sale” sign ever goes in the front yard, the preparation for selling needs to start on the inside of YOU and on the inside of the house.
Although you love your house and have worked hard to get it exactly “this way,” other buyers may not have your same style preferences or affiliations. When you are preparing your home to put it on the market, you have to take a more neutral approach and ask yourself, “Would this room appeal to most home buyers?” “Would most buyers like this paint color or these decorations?”
Often times it is hard to have such an unbiased approach to our own homes. If that is the case, I would recommend a third party friend, realtor or stager come into your home and give you advice. However, this comes with a warning: put on your adult pants and prepare yourself. Because that mural you slaved on for hours in your baby’s room probably has to go. And the curtains you love so much, and the bright neon green contrast wall you thought would look great in the game room might have to go as well. However, if you can accept advice from a neutral third party and follow it, you will have much more success in preparing your home to be listed on the market.
Below are 10 suggestions of my suggestions for you to consider as you prepare your home to sell:
1. Paint- Most buyers prefer neutral paint colors throughout the house.
2. Furniture-Only leave enough furniture in the room to make the room functional. However, when in doubt, leave the area empty without furniture and open up more room for walking paths. Empty space makes the room feel bigger and gives the buyer vision for how they could use the space.
3. One-Function Rooms- If you have a multi-purpose room such as an guest room/playroom or a guest room/office, it is better to choose one function and to decorate the room according to that function. For example, if you have a combination office/guestroom, remove the bed and just dress the room up as an office for showing. You want to be as clear as possible when casting vision for a space.
4. Pictures- All personalized pictures, artwork, and drawings need to come off the wall. You are moving anyway; just start packing up early. When these personalized items are left up on the walls, buyers feel like guests in your home rather than people who are themselves in the space.
5. Sports/School Paraphernalia- Just because the whole block knows you are an Aggie fan doesn’t mean your UT alumni buyer needs to know it too. Like it or not, school and sports teams’ paraphernalia hanging on the walls can have a negative psychological effect on people who would root for a different team or graduated from a different school. Again, it makes buyers feel like guests in your house and does not help them see themselves as potential owners of the home.
6. Holiday Decorations-Try to tame down the holiday decorations as much as possible as you prepare to list your house. After all, your buyer may not celebrate the same holiday or may not celebrate it in the same way as you. Your goal is to create a space in which the buyer can envision celebrating his/her next holiday, and that is hard to do if they are in a space that has decorations that are foreign to them. If you have to decorate for a holiday, try to keep your decorations as neutral and widely appealing as possible. Also, I recommend that you store/stack presents in a secure location and do not leave them under a tree or within view of those taking tours of your home during the winter holidays.
7. Jewelry/Medicines- Aside from being a theft risk, leaving jewelry or medicines out is exceptionally personal. Again, it makes buyers feel like they are invading your space, and it limits their ability to envision making it their own.
8. Closets- Open up your spaces as much as possible. Why? Because storage space sells, but only if the buyer can SEE it. If needed, rent an outside storage unit to store furniture, art, and other boxes/containers. Storage space is a huge asset in selling a house unless it is clear by looking into the closet that the home owner is out of room. A cramped storage space will make a potential buyer concerned about the space, not excited about the space.
9. Clean the Exterior of Your Home-Many sellers think through the inside of their home but completely forget to consider what the outside looks like. Curb appeal IS your first impression. Are you making a good one? Are their cobwebs around your front porch or pavers missing on the foot path up to your door? Power wash your sidewalk and driveway, wash your windows, clean out your gutters, wipe down your front door, sweep your porch, and put a fresh door mat out. These ideas can go a long way in tidying up the street appeal of your home.
10. Repairs-Have a sqeaky door that you have never bothered to fix? Is one of the kitchen cabinets missing a pull? Do you have a light fixture that needs to be updated? Some repairs are simple and small, but yield big returns on the sell of a home. Have a neutral party walk through your house and use some of the items in the house. Sometimes we are so accustomed to the problem areas of our home that we don’t see them anymore. With help from a friend, make a list of simple/quick fixes you can do before listing your home on the market.
Remember, once you decide to sell your home, you have already begun the moving process. Your goal now is to create a vision casting space for every buyer that walks through the home you are listing for sale. If the buyer can not envision their own needs being met in the house, it will not sell. So, take pictures of all your favorite corner nooks and cozy artwork, and then clean them all out, and get ready to maximize the sell of your home!