Times have changed. Not so long ago it wasn’t unheard of for a home seller to have multiple bidders actually upping the price of his listing. Now a seller is lucky if he can get one bidder. Sellers are now having to throw in little perks in order to sell their home, paying closing costs, low down payment, leave the fridge etc. etc. Sometimes even getting your house looked at can be difficult. Here are a few ways to help your house sell faster based on its aethetic appeal.
1. New paint.
You should definite repaint everything, inside and out. You may think those walls are white but years of wear and tear and grime have turned them… well… beige. Don’t forget to paint ceilings and the trim around the windows and the baseboards as well. For the walls the paint can be flat, satin, or semi-gloss. For the trim and baseboards you will want to use a glossy paint. If you’re not sure what those terms mean ask the paint guy at your local hardware store. Buyers like very neutral colors so consider painting your walls a light beige or champagne color and off-setting it with white trim and baseboards. For your exterior paint, I suggest sticking with the color you have (unless it’s pink or lime green or something might attract negative attention) and just touching it up. If you have a paneled, non-brick house, this can be a large task but it’s well worth it. If you have a brick house you may want to spend some time housing down the sides of your house to help get some of the dirt off. Like paint, brink accumulates grime as well. Cleaning your brick a little goes a long way. One last thing, if you have wallpaper… get rid of it! While you may have spent hours picking out, buying, and putting up what you think is the most beautiful wallpaper ever… not every buyer is going to view it that way and will not look foward to having to take it down themselves. It’s a small thing but in today’s market the smallest thing can kill a sale.
If you don’t plan on replacing your carpets you should at least clean them. Unless you are single person or a childless, petless couple, it’s likely that your carpets have also accumlated the grime of years of wear and tear. You can hire someone to steam clean your carpets or you can do it yourself. You can actually buy a carpet cleaner that’s easy to use and relatively cheap (it looks like a big vacuum cleaner). After your carpets have been cleaned (by you or someone else) you should do spot treatment on any particularly nasty areas. Somewhere you might have spilled red wine or just the cat’s favorite place to cough up a fur ball.
3. Curbside appeal.
Many times people spend so much time worrying about the inside of their house that they forget about the outside. Take some time to objectively look at the outside of your house. Do the windows need cleaning? Are those plants looking a little raggedy? You may want to plant some bright colored flowers. It will give your home a cared for look. Spend some time on your lawn getting rid of ant mounds and making sure it’s green and healthy. If you’ve got kids, be sure their bikes are in the garage and not on the front porch. Clear away all the dead bugs and cobwebs from the front porch light. Depending on how far you want to go, you may even consider pressure cleaning your driveway (very powerful water cleaning).
4. Home staging.
The point of home staging is to make someone feel like they are in a comfortable place that they could call home. You want to make your house look like those in Architectural Digest. Well… you may not reach that but you can at least make your home more welcoming and appealing to possible buyers. Make sure that nothing is too cluttered and you don’t have dozens of trinkets laying around. Space your furniture appropriately, neither too crowded, nor too far apart. Be sure that any artwork you have on the walls is universally appealing. Consider some well-placed bouquets of fresh flowers. Be sure that every room is well-lit. Place candles and nicely folded hand towels in all the bathrooms. All the beds should be made. Above all, be sure that everything is clean!
5. Make sure it smells good.
Nothing can deter a buyer more than a funky smell when walking in the door. A strange smell can suggest that a home is not cared for or even worse, there is mold present. Because you live in your home everyday it can be difficult for you to tell when the smell you are used to smells strange. Have a close and honest friend do a scent evaluation of your home. They should walk in and evaluate how your home smells. This smelling test should involve the immediate entry as well as going through all the rooms. If your close and honest friend confides in you that yes, your home does have a rather strange smell, here are a few ways to combat it. Febreeze is a wonderful odor killer. Go for unscented or original, they smell very good without being overpowering. Placing a small box of baking soda wherever it smells strange can help to absorb odors. Consider burning scented candles throughout the day or using a plug-in. My absolute favorite tactic is to bake a fresh batch of chocolate chip cookies. Nothing says home like walking in the door to the smell of freshly baked cookies.