Most of us have settled for practicality over having a home that looks as though it belongs on television or in a magazine, and that’s fine. We’re perfectly content with our clutter and strange arrangement of items. There may even be a reason why we keep things the way we do aside from just simple laziness. But try explaining that to potential buyers. What they want to see is a neat and clean home that is tastefully painted and furnished – one that they would be excited to live in immediately. That is why serious sellers should take the time to clean, declutter, lightly renovate, and rearrange their house to get it ready to be shown to potential buyers at any time.
My last post mentioned this, but it is such an important step that it requires a more elaborate explanation. A good listing agent will be able to give you recommendations on how to maximize the appeal and value of your property. However, for those who would like to do a little research of their own to find additional tips and tricks, I’ve compiled some of the advice that my own listing agent gave me. Considering how quickly I was able to find a buyer for my Fayetteville, Arkansas home (in fact, I had multiple bidders), I would say that advice was pretty good. Take it or leave it, but if you want to effectively generate buyer interest for your property then get ready to put in some work.
- Clean everything. I mean everything – every nook and cranny and crevice of your home needs to be free of dust, dirt, stains, grime, and mildew. Don’t forget the grout of tiled surfaces in your kitchen and bathroom. Launder the linens, dust the curtains, and wipe down the light fixtures. It may be a good idea to contact a professional house cleaning service to assist you. If you would prefer to save money, be prepared to set aside plenty of time to get your home clean from top to bottom. Anything that cannot be adequately may need to be replaced. Carpets and flooring are some of the best investments sellers can make to improve the value of their property. Ideally, you will want to clean the exterior of your home as well. Scrub the doors and shutters, wash the siding, rake those leaves up and hose down the driveway.
- Declutter your home. Clutter can make your home look small and cramped, which is not what most buyers are looking for. Move some of your belongings into storage or relocate them to a safe place that is out of sight, such as the garage. The counter surfaces in your home should be kept clear except for minimal décor. Store small kitchen appliances into the cupboard.
- Paint your home a neutral color. Those bold colors you’ve chosen may be appealing to you, but they may turn a potential buyer off. It is best repaint your house a neutral color for mass appeal.
- Consider some minor renovations. A major overhaul will rarely pay off but some small repairs and touch ups can make your home more presentable. Replace old door knobs, cupboard handles, or plumbing fixtures with new, chic counterparts to make your home look newer overall. Don’t forget to change out burnt light bulbs.
Once you have made the decision to sell, there are several important things to consider before proceeding. For me, many of those considerations were not applicable because I was selling my worldly possessions to be able to get out of Fayetteville, Arkansas and fulfill my dream of traveling the world. For most people, this isn’t the case. They need to plan ahead for the future, which can mean taking a few extra steps when preparing to sell their home.
Here are a few things you should do once you have decided it is time to sell:
- Enlist the help of a qualified real estate agent. You want someone who is not only professional and competent, but also personable. Throughout the listing and selling process, you will have to spend a fair bit of time with your listing agent. It’s important that you feel comfortable with whoever you choose, and are confident in their ability to help you sell your house. Select an agent who has experience selling homes similar to yours or in your neighborhood. While one agent may be fantastic at selling million-dollar homes, that doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll understand the market for a $200,000 home.
- Emotionally detach yourself from your home and start looking at it as a house. You won’t be able to make sound decisions if your logic is clouded by sentimental attachment.
- Make arrangements for your next home. Once your house sells, you need a new place to live. Whether you are planning to purchase a different home, rent an apartment, or move in with someone else, it is important have everything sorted out first to avoid last minute complications.
- Get a pre-listing inspection. This isn’t required and many sellers do not get a pre-inspection before listing their home for sale, but it can be an extremely valuable asset. Knowing of any problems in advance will give you the time to address them before buyers come into the picture. You will also be better prepared to field questions and concerns from potential buyers, and can avoid unexpected last-minute problems.
You’ve found a trustworthy agent and you’re ready to list? Then proceed with the next steps:
- Get your home ready to show at any time. This deserves its own blog post, as there are many things that you will need to do to get your home looking its best for potential buyers. Unless you have been maintaining your home in perfect, magazine-worthy condition – which, let’s be honest, almost none of us do – then you will need to start cleaning, decluttering, and redecorating. Curb appeal is very important, so don’t forget to spruce up the exterior of your home as well.
- Take plenty of high quality pictures. The key to selling your home quickly is marketing it properly. People love to browse pictures before even committing their time to a showing. Having clear, well-lit pictures of different rooms at various angles will attract more potential buyers to your listing.
The time has come to say goodbye to my old house here in Northwest Arkansas and start off on a nomadic journey back to a place I have not seen since I was three years old – India. It has always been my dream to visit the land where my parents came from; to see the surroundings they grew up in, to walk the streets that they walked for many years. Finally I am going to be able to realize that dream.
The date is drawing closer. Once the transfer of ownership of my house has been completed, I’ll be free to start off on my adventure. It is the last thing tying me to any single location. And while I’m sad to leave all this behind, I’m excited for what lays ahead. The days of buying calling cards to talk to my family in India are over. Soon, I will get to hold a conversation with them face to face for the first time ever, and that, to me, is worth any sacrifices I am making.
My plan is to slowly make my way to India, stopping in several other countries along the way. I fully intend on going with the flow so my destinations will be spontaneous. It’s a little bit scary not having everything figured out yet because I’m a control freak by nature, but I think it’ll be nice to set out without any expectations and let myself be surprised for once.
Selling my house has taught me that not having full control isn’t always a bad thing. There are many aspects of selling a home that require adaptation and compromise, but overall the process was smooth and efficient thanks to my amazing listing agent. I’m not sure how some people manage to sell their homes without help from a real estate broker. I’d imagine it would be immensely more difficult and complicated. I had considered going that route, but I’m glad I didn’t. It was a pleasure working with my listing agent and I feel he earned every penny of his commission and more.
On my blog, I will be sharing the details of my experience selling my house and preparing for my travels. To be honest, it’s mostly a way for me to stay focused and pass the time until I can get on a plane and start my adventure. I feel as though I am going to go crazy just from the anticipation of everything that will be unfolding not long from now. I find myself spending way too much time just counting down the days, and I would rather do something productive in the meantime. I’ll have a nice long break soon so why not contribute a bit more before I go? Keep reading for tips on marketing and selling your home like a pro!