Karen Lawley's Blog
If you're getting ready to put your home on the market, the thought of organizing, cleaning, and arranging it may seem like an overwhelming project!
Knowing where to begin and how much money to spend on home staging and decorating are among the many questions that may be flooding your mind, right now.
The key to success is to make as much of an impact as possible, without spending more money than necessary.
One way to avoid "spinning your wheels" when it comes to maximizing the appearance of your home is to work with an experienced real estate agent. A good agent will quickly notice aspects of your home that need attention and advise you on the most cost-effective ways to improve its marketability. If they've shown dozens (or more) houses in their career, they'll be very familiar with all the things that attract buyers, as well as what repels them.
Although everyone has different tastes and expectations, many house hunters are attracted to gleaming hardwood floors, energy efficient windows, and stainless steel appliances. While it may not be cost effective to have new floors, appliances, and windows installed to sell your house faster, you can make the best possible impression by making sure the windows are crystal clear, hardwood floors are polished, and appliances are clean and shiny.
Since many house hunters pay close attention to the kitchen, it's especially important to win their approval on appearance and cleanliness. Because food is prepared and often consumed in the kitchen, it's going to be one of the more challenging rooms to keep clean -- especially if you have children. However, if a prospective buyer is wavering between two houses for sale, you can be reasonably sure that the one with the clean kitchen and bathrooms will be their preferred choice.
There are a lot of other ways you can make your kitchen appealing to buyers, too. By minimizing clutter on counter tops and displaying fresh flowers and a colorful bowl of fruit, you can make your kitchen look much more inviting. Prospective buyers will also respond favorably to appealing fragrances, such as freshly baked bread, cookies, cinnamon buns, or coffee. Clean windows, attractive curtains, and plenty of natural light will also add to the ambiance of your kitchen.
The ideal reaction from potential buyers touring your home would be something to the effect of "I can imagine us preparing dinner, entertaining guests, and sitting around the breakfast table in this house!" Setting the table so that it looks like the family is just about to sit down for a meal together is one way to help convey that image. The encouraging news is that when someone expresses sincere appreciation for the comforts and features of your home, there's a good chance they'll find a place for it on their short list of possibilities!
Putting your home on the market is a life-changing decision and, for some people, it may involve conflicting feelings.
Ideally, all members of your family should be on board with the decision to sell. If you, your spouse, or your kids are ambivalent or even against the idea of moving, it could send a negative message to prospective buyers, estate agents, and others. Helping your family stay positive and motivated can ensure that everyone is pulling in the same direction.
A common stumbling block for many sellers is the inclination to attach too much sentimental value to their home. While you may associate your home with fond family memories, years of hard work, and thousands of dollars in home improvements, your actual selling price should be a reflection of market conditions and the price comparable houses in your neighborhood recently sold for.
Based on a comparative analysis, your real estate agent can help you come up with a realistic asking price that will reflect both its market value and major improvements you've made in recent years. Although remodeling your kitchen or bathrooms will not provide you with a dollar-for-dollar return on investment (ROI) when it comes time to sell, prospective buyers will be much more attracted to a home that's been updated and well maintained.
When selling your home, perhaps the most important principle to keep in mind is that "You don't get a second chance to make a great first impression." By minimizing the negatives and making the most of your home's attributes, you'll be increasing the probability of selling your house within the shortest period of time
Keeping your home meticulously clean for every showing can often be a challenge, but it's a goal worth striving for. Other ways to make a favorable impression on potential buyers is to focus on maximizing your home's curb appeal and minimizing clutter -- both inside and out. While it may seem like a tall order to declutter your home, keep your lawn looking manicured, and apply fresh coats of paint where needed, you'd be surprised at how much you can accomplish by setting your mind to it. One simple but effective strategy for getting things done is to create checklists of priorities, projects, and important tasks that need to be completed. When you commit goals to writing and review your priority list every day, you'll tend to be much more organized, action oriented, and focused.
Although a lot of people take a sense of humble pride in saying that their home is "a work in progress," once it's on the market, you need to have as many of those rough edges smoothed out, as possible! Putting your best foot forward for every showing could make the difference between a fast sale and a house which lingers on the market for months!
Putting your home on the market is not for the faint-hearted! As many people discover along the way, the road to selling a home can be rather bumpy -- especially if you attempt to sell it on your own.
Fortunately, there are several things you can do, right away, to make the journey shorter, smoother, and more rewarding. Here are three strategies that will greatly increase your chances of success.
Find a seasoned real estate agent. An experienced real estate agent will not only help you navigate state and federal regulations, negotiate with buyers, and get a handle on paperwork, but they'll also schedule showings of your home and provide continuous marketing help.
Enhance your curb appeal: When it comes to finding prospective buyers and setting up appointments, your real estate agent will do the lion's share of the work. However, it's mostly up to you to make sure your house looks its best and that the appearance of your property catches the eye of house hunters.
Once your home is listed online and a "for sale" sign is planted in your front yard, potential buyers are going to immediately take notice of how your house looks from the outside. Sometimes people browse listed houses from their cars, so it can really pay to make a great first impression from the street.
Some of the things that matter the most are a meticulous-looking yard, a clutter-free property, and a house that looks like it's well maintained. Adding a fresh coat of paint, displaying some colorful potted flowers, and taking care of unsightly weeds and overgrown bushes are a few things you can do to make your property look a lot more inviting.
Stage your home's interior: Once you've cleared the first big hurdle (curb appeal), your next priority -- or perhaps a simultaneous priority -- is to make the interior of your home look inviting and appealing. As is the case with boosting curb appeal, your real estate agent can provide you with cost-effective advice on how to get the most mileage from your efforts.
Some of the tried-and-proven methods of staging a home include reducing clutter, arranging living room furniture in "conversational groups" to depict a cozy, intimate environment, and letting plenty of natural light stream in to make your home appear as cheerful and bright as possible.
Fresh coats of neutral-colored paint should be applied to walls and ceilings on an as-needed basis, and all floors, tables, and counter tops should be kept immaculate. Home staging consultants often recommend removing (or toning down) certain decorating themes -- such as sports, religion, or even too many family photographs -- which may alienate some potential buyers.
The overall objective is to make it easy for house hunters to imagine themselves owning and living in your home. If there's anything about the appearance, decor, or smell of your home that makes people feel in any way uncomfortable, that could make it more difficult to find a committed buyer -- which, of course, is your ultimate goal!