Good question and we’re glad you asked! You see, no matter what type of real estate market your area is in, to get the most for your home, it needs to be prepped.
Put on your buyer’s hat and go on this adventure with me...
You’re out looking at homes to buy. You have a certain vision in mind. A beautiful yard. A nice entryway. Light and bright home with lots of light shining in. A living room that will hold your cozy sectional and family dining set for the holiday get-togethers. A kitchen that will hold all your favorite gadgets. A back lanai to watch the Florida sunset and showcase your beautiful plants.
You arrive at the first home on the list. So exciting, you can’t wait! From the car, you see lots of overgrown landscaping. You walk up to the front door, it’s really dirty, this place needs to be cleaned. You see wasp nests and spider webs. Through the front door, there is a very large table there with stuff all over it and pictures of people with their families and vacations, sports memorabilia, all kinds of stuff, so much stuff. The entryway looks small to you. You make your way further into the house, it seems so dark. Ah, there are a few light bulbs out, is that why? You look up and see a dirty air vent. How long has it been since they changed the air filter, you wonder. Now you’re in the living room, it’s packed with big furniture pieces and… more stuff. It seems cramped, will your furniture fit? Is there enough space in here? Wait, what’s that smell? Do they smoke in here? There’s a litter box, oh goodness that stinks. Ok, let’s see the kitchen. Wow, these people have a lot of stuff. Why does it seem so small? This won’t work, you need space to cook and entertain. Let’s see the bedrooms. Nice size, let’s see the closets. You open the door, it falls off.. A lot of honey do’s, that’s not good. We don’t have the time for that, you think. Let’s go out back to see that beautiful lake view. More stuff everywhere, an ashtray full of cigarette butts. It seemed bigger in the pictures. You’re really not sure about this one.
Rewind! Let me tell you how this could all be avoided.
- Curb Appeal, It’s the first thing a buyer sees and it’s what sets the tone before they even enter your home. Clean up the landscaping. Trim the bushes, lay some fresh mulch down, and plant some pretty flowers.
- First Impressions are important. Clean up the entryway of the home. A good power wash will knock those cobwebs, wasp nests, and mud boggers down. Whatever you have stuck around. Spray that dirt and grime off- ah that looks much better!
- Declutter. Depersonalize and pack up your personal belongings and family photos. You want the buyers to focus on the home, the layout, and the finishes. You want them to be able to envision themselves living in the home.
- Light and Bright. Yes make sure all the light bulbs are working AND it looks much better if they match. Is the paint on the walls making the home seem dark? Maybe a light natural color is needed.
- Clean and Freshen Up. Think of it as a spring cleaning. Clean the air vents, and dust the home. Wipe everything down, kitchen, bathrooms. Does the grout need to be cleaned? You want the buyers to feel confident that the home isn’t being neglected.
- Reevaluate the Space. You have been living in your home for quite some time now. Is your furniture too big for the space? Put Grandma's antique pieces in storage for now. Sometimes removing a few things or just rearranging the room can make a big difference. Do you need a home stager? Home staging isn’t just for vacant homes.
- A Home’s Smell can give a buyer an immediate negative reaction. What may be common smells to you may not be for someone else. Last night's curry chicken sure was good but it can leave a lingering odor, unpleasant to some. Fluffy the kitty is your cuddle buddy but her litter box stinks. Keep it clean. Bandit is your best friend but we gotta keep his bedding freshly laundered when you have showings scheduled. Don’t smoke in the house and clean those ashtrays. Some people are super sensitive to cigarette smoke smells and it will be an immediate deal-breaker.
- Clear the Counters. Less is more. Everyone loves their “stuff” but we gotta put it away when we have showings scheduled. Put that big toaster oven away, last week's mail, and the craft project you’ve been working on. Create space. Don’t forget the bathroom counters. Put your fun smelly stuff, toothpaste, toothbrush, razors, and hairspray away. Put it all away. Look at that beautiful counter! Let the buyers see it.
- Call the Handyman and get those little odds and ends taken care of. The last thing a buyer wants to do after buying a home is repair stuff. Repairs also give a buyer the reason to look for a discount. You don't want that.
What’s not to love? To get the most out of your home, it's got to be appealing. The goal is for a buyer to walk in your home and fall in love. So take the time to get your home ready for the market and get the most money possible, in the fastest time. You deserve it!