You get one chance to make a first impression on a potential home buyer. When I take a prospective buyer to look at a home on the market, I look for two reactions. The first reaction is seen on their face when we pull into the driveway. The second reaction is seen when we walk through the front door. If they are not impressed at those two points, even the best Realtor will have a hard time making the sale. Here are a five tips that will help you increase the odds of selling your home.
Clean Up the Face of Your Property
The average person does not have the ability to imagine what a home might look like with a little elbow grease. And honestly, they do not want to buy a home and immediately have to do a lot of maintenance work that the previous owner should have been doing. When I drive up to a home with buyers, the look on their faces when they see the home for the first time gives me a great indication of their opinion of the home. That is usually why I drive my buyer by several homes before we even make appointments to see the inside. You do not know how many times a person sees a home on the internet, and as soon as we pull up in the driveway, they say, “Nope.” Clean up the landscaping. Trim the shrubs. Put down new mulch. Set out a few flowers. Trim any shrubs. Give the front door a new coat of paint. Sweep the driveway and porches. If your home looks unkempt on the outside, the buyer is thinking, “How bad is this place going to look on the inside where the public cannot see the mess?”
Ditch the Pets
Even potential buyers who have indoor pets of their own do not want to think about messes your pet may have made. Even at best, there are lingering pet odors. We tend to get used to the odors of our own pets. Put the pets out the night before showings and spray some clean scent Febreze throughout the home. I like the Gain scent because it smells clean.
Clean the Kitchen
The kitchen area is another area that potential buyers see dirt that we may ignore. Take everything off the kitchen counters and tables, even if you have to stuff it in the cabinets. Remove anything on the front or top of the refrigerator and wipe off any dirty marks or fingerprints. Make the kitchen sink shine. Fill it up with hot water and a cup of bleach and let it sit for an hour. Drain it and clean all the cracks and crevices with Windex. Your sink and faucet should look clean and new.
Clean the Bathroom
There should be nothing on the sink, toilet, or bathtub. I recommend putting everything in a milk crate that you can use daily then store away during the showing. The bathroom area is another place where there can be hidden odors that you cannot smell because you have gotten used to the odor. Keep some Clorox wipes on hand to wipe down any chrome surfaces and remove any dirt, film, or hair from the other surfaces. Also watch out for the sour shower curtain. You need a clean, white, linen shower curtain that you can easily remove every week or so to bleach and wash.
Let the Light In and Crack Some Windows
You need as much natural light as possible. Raise the blinds. Remove the curtains if you have too. You want the buyer to be able to see the view through any window when they enter the room. This step alone can dramatically improve the looks of in the inside of your home while making it appear much larger. It is not a bad idea to crack a window or two in order to get in some fresh air. Turn your central unit fan on and leave it on. It will pull in some fresh air and give the air in your home a nice, clean feeling.
All of these things need to be done before every showing. So you need to make sure these items are in tip top shape every morning before you leave for work so that you are ready for any last minute showings. It may sound like a lot of work, but selling a home is hard work. There are so many homes on the market, you have to work hard to make sure yours stand out from the rest. You do not have to do these things, but if you do not, do not be complaining to your Realtor that none of the buyers are making offers. The problem may not be the Realtor. You may not be doing your part to make sure your home shows well. Ask your Realtor to be brutally honest about what you need to do to sell your home. They are not there to be your friend. They are your business partner in getting your home sold quickly and for the maximum dollar.