Buyers decide in the first eight seconds of seeing a home if they are interested in it or not. That is why it is so important to stage it.
You can hire someone to do much of the hard work for you, but some things you can handle yourself:
Spotless is the name of the game.
It is vital to do a thorough, deep cleaning of your home. It works for people selling a car (they get more money) and it will work for you on a bigger scale when selling your home.
For a good deep cleaning, you should do the following:
De-Clutter: Begin with de-cluttering. Here is the standard rule of thumb: go through your home and get rid of 50% of your belongings.
Items like photographs, highly personalized items, out-of-season clothes, random junk and excessive furniture. These all need to go.
Just to be clear, you do not have to throw the stuff out!
Donate it. Sell it at a yard sale. Give it away. Someone can use what you don’t need. Put the precious items (i.e. family photos) into a safe, offsite storage location. Once you de-clutter, you will be amazed how much roomier and nicer your home feels.
The goal is to de-personalize the home so potential buyers can envision themselves living there!
Hardcore Cleaning: Now that the clutter is gone, move on to hardcore cleaning. Be meticulous. Tidy each room from top to bottom.
Make sure you do not forget to:
• Get rid of the cobwebs first. This keeps you from getting dust bunnies all over freshly cleaned floors and furniture.
• Dust ceiling fans and lighting fixtures while you clean out the cobwebs.
• Dust your blinds.
• Wash walls, unless you plan on painting.
• Clean all glass surfaces: mirrors, television screens, patio doors, and windows.
• Polish all wooden surfaces.
• Wipe down any leather furniture.
• Clean out and reorganize the closets and cabinets.
• Attack all appliances with cleaning fervor. Make them shine!
• Sinks, toilets, tubs, showers, faucets, and countertops need to be impeccable. Every room is important, but the kitchen and bathrooms will take you over the top. They need to be eat-off-of-the-floor clean.
• Vacuum rugs, shampoo carpets, and mop as if your life depends on it.
• Side note: Attack these tasks last or you will inevitably have to do them twice.
Fresh paint provides a clean canvas.
If you have not painted your house in the last year, consider doing the entire inside of the home right now.
If you have painted it, you might want to repaint a second time.
When planning to repaint, include everything. Paint the ceilings. Paint the trim and window casings. Paint the doors. Do not forget to paint inside the closets. And, of course, paint the walls.
Just make sure you paint the right way. An artist creates a new painting on a plain, primed canvas.
Through your efforts with painting, you are hand delivering your potential buyers, a clean, primed canvas where they can imagine their family in your home.
Keeping all of this in mind, proceed with your home’s canvas using neutral colors. That does not mean everything must be lifeless or stark white. That can have a negative effect as well.
Rather, you want your colors to be unobtrusive.
Stick with gray, beige, off-white and white colors. Even if you just painted the master bath turquoise and added cute polka dot trim — change it! Remember, a blank canvas opens the imagination to endless possibilities. Polka dots do not.
Kitchen and Bath:
Focus on these high impact areas.
Buyers are most turned off by dirty, grungy bathrooms and kitchens.
Let’s face it. Nobody wants to eat in a place they feel is nasty. Likewise, no one wants to be naked in a disgusting place.
Now that doesn’t mean you can create stunning bathrooms and kitchens, while leaving the rest of the home a mess, and still expect to sell your house for top dollar. Just be sure to address your bathroom and kitchen first.
Keep this in mind: potential buyers might forgive a less than stellar child’s room, but a questionable bathroom or kitchen could cost you a possible sale.
So, let’s get started.
Now, you’ve done a deep clean of the whole house, and you most likely painted it as well — including the bathrooms and kitchen. Now it is time to move on to another important issue: appliances.
This can be a good idea or a money pit. Fortunately, you can follow a few guidelines, to make the big decisions.
Should I Buy New Appliances? It depends on your particular situation. No doubt, new appliances make an impact with buyers.
The National Association of Realtors did a survey of buyers in the market over the past several years and found:
• Buyers were somewhat or very concerned with buying a home that featured new appliances.
• Roughly 17% of the respondents preferred stainless steel.
• The most important factor: appliances were available.
• Most buyers who were unable to get their sought after appliances said they would have been willing to pay, on average, nearly $2,000 more for them.
Potential buyers want appliances included and will pay more for them, especially if they are new, or at least in excellent condition.
If you can afford it, new appliances might be the very act that sets your house apart from the home for sale across the street. If new appliances are a bit out of your reach, offer them your immaculately clean, and fully functioning existing ones.
Updating Hardware. Stop and take a nice, long look at your bathroom and kitchen hardware. You will likely notice they look well used. The truth is they are.
It is not that big of a deal until you put yourself in a buyer’s shoes. They are looking at your old house as their potential new home. Old, worn out fixtures are not going to speak to them the way nice, shiny, new hardware will.
That does not mean you should run out to buy all new fixtures.
Unless your knobs, pulls, handles, and hinges are broken, there is no real reason to replace them.
Get that new look simply by thoroughly washing and repainting them. It can be that simple. There is spray paint made specifically for this reason. The project is incredibly cheap.
Here are some ideas of household hardware you can give an almost new look to with a paint overhaul:
• towel bars
• toilet paper holders
• door handles
• old light fixtures
The goal is to patch your home up nicely with as little cash as possible. This is a great way to do it.
If you do have broken or completely worn out hardware, you had better replace the whole set. Unless you can find matching pieces. You could paint the old and new to match. You could also combine the good parts in one bathroom, and replace all the hardware in the other.
Warning: make sure that if you end up replacing your knobs, you get matching exposed hinges for cabinet doors etc. Consistency is a good thing when selling a home.
Other Excellent and Cheap Update Ideas for the Bath and Kitchen:
• Buy a new toilet seat.
• Refurbish worn out looking cabinets with a faux paint project.
• Replace an old, ugly bathroom sink with a pedestal variety.
• Repair grout in tile backsplashes, floors, and tub surrounds.