The number one, top of the list, numero uno, most important thing you need to get your house ready to sell is this:
A really honest friend who lives close by.
Oh, and some tough skin coupled with the knowledge that what you are doing and what you are hearing will help you make more money on the sale of your house.
Sure, there are other things you’ll need and I’m going to give you the list of quick ideas and inexpensive fixes to help your house be more appealing to buyers, but you’ve got to start from somewhere. A good foundation, so to speak. Hence the reason I suggest bringing in a friend who cares about you and wants what you ultimately want-to make more money on the sale of your house!
Why a friend? Why not a professional? Honestly? Because all you’ll owe them is lunch or a cup of coffee. Home stagers can be very effective and at a later date I may recommend you find a good one. However, their services can be very costly. Rightly so, because they provide a great service, but what you can do on your own initially, will help you make more money on the sale of your house.
Anyone see a pattern forming here?
Anyway, before you bring in the big gun home stager, try the process I suggest: Find a friend who does not spend a lot of time at your house. Tell her you’ll buy her lunch at her favorite restaurant when she’s done. Arrange a time for her to come over during daylight hours for good viewing opportunity, while kids are at school or any time when there won’t be a lot of activity or people at the house. What you’re trying to do is create the environment that will greet your potential buyers when your home is shown by an agent.
Next, clean your home. Now, I use that term loosely because there are vast degrees of “clean.” If you’re a neat freak, you-could-eat-off-my-floor kind of crazy person, then you just do what you always do. In fact, chances are good that you would be better at writing this blog post than me! However, if you’re less clean-obsessed, like the vast majority of people, do your normal level of cleaning, but put a little elbow grease behind it, if you catch my drift.
A day or two before your friend arrives, send him the following list. Make sure he leaves room to make notes between items. Assure him that you want complete honesty; that you’re looking for constructive criticism about items or situations that you may or may not be aware of that he might bring to your attention.
- Exterior: (lawn, landscaping, garden gnomes, koi pond, etc.)
- Front porch: (peeling paint, door color, ease of finding doorbell, broken railings, etc)
- Foyer: (SMELL, wall color, flooring, space, clutter)
- Living/Dining Room: (smell, wall color, flooring, space, clutter, window coverings)
- Kitchen: (SMELL, wall color, flooring, space, clutter)
- Bathroom (SMELL, wall color, flooring, space, clutter)
- Bedrooms and closets (SMELL, wall color, flooring, space, clutter)
- Deck/patio/backyard (smell, space, clutter)
Greet your friend in the driveway or parking lot of your home. Tell her how much you appreciate her help and then leave her in the driveway. It’s important that she begin making notes from the very place your potential buyers will begin making notes about your home, and that’s in the driveway.
After he arrives, try, as much as possible, to let your friend travel through your home without interruption from you. Depending on the friend, this could be very difficult, but the less influenced he is by your explanations and, can I say it, excuses, the better result you will get. Do not offer him a cup of coffee until after he is done. In fact, don’t prepare anything in the kitchen you wouldn’t prepare right before a real estate agent shows your house. Clutter and odors are two of the biggest distractions for potential buyers when they walk through your home, so you’d rather not have the wonderful smell of fresh brewed coffee covering odors that you, yourself don’t notice on a day-to-day basis.
When she’s all through, sit down with your friend and go over her notes. During the conversation, let her comments lead you on a tour through your own house. Remember that she is here to help you, to assist you in seeing your house from a potential buyer’s perspective. Considering the fact that you’re selling your house, I’m going to make the assumption that, in most cases you’re also buying a new one. That makes you a buyer as well as a seller, so try to place your buyer’s hat on as you listen. This is now your TO DO LIST.
Keep your friends notes. Refer back to them. There are some changes to your home that can’t be made for several reasons, most often being cost or time constraints. In the following posts I will address opportunities to work on items your friend has brought up, but for now, know that you are on the journey to get your house on the market and to offer a residence to buyers that allows them to see themselves living there, making it their home. That way, in the end, you make more money on the sale of your house.
Stay tuned and Live Well.