Making Your Home Stand Out In A Buyers Market

sellhomeIn a buyer’s market, besides pricing your home right, you need to do whatever you can to make buyers like your house more than the others.

It’s never fun to put a lot of money into a house you are selling – especially when you feel like you lost out on the big boom –  but there are many affordable ways to improve your chances of attracting serious offers and getting the best price possible: 

  • Paint the interior. Fresh paint can do wonders. This is the perfect time to change those kid-decorated rooms to more neutral colors. You can do it yourself unless you don’t feel comfortable about the quality of your work or are pressed for time.
  • Repair cracks and holes. Repainting gives you a good excuse to patch holes left from hanging pictures, and to fill any small settlement cracks that may have formed over the years. Remember to check kitchen and bathroom areas that might need recaulking, too. 
  • Clean or replace carpeting. If your carpeting is in good shape, free from stains, you might try renting a carpet cleaner. This can give new life to your carpeting. But if your carpet is stained, odiferous,or just plain old, your best option may be to replace it. A dirty or ugly carpet will not impress buyers.
  • Clean or paint the exterior. Curb appeal is everything (well, except for location-location-location), and no matter how great the interior of your house looks, a dirty exterior can make buyers flee before they get inside. A good power washing can brighten it up considerably – but if you have faded siding or peeling paint, you should strongly consider a fresh coat.
  • Pay attention to the driveway. If you have a paved driveway, fill in any significant cracks. Clean up any rust marks or oil stains too.
  • Clean the windows. It will improve the brightness and curb appeal. Don’t forget the window sills and tracks – dirt and mildew accumulates there, and can be a real turnoff. 
  • Make your landscaping stand out. Again, curb appeal is very important, and your landscaping will make a difference. Make sure you keep your lawn mowed and neat. If you have existing decorative landscape plants, take care that they are in pleasing shape. Make sure you have fresh looking mulch, and remove any dead or dying plants. If you have some empty space, consider putting in a few showy plants. If you have a front porch, adding some planters or hanging baskets of flowers is a nice touch.
  • Remove exterior clutter. Get rid of that old grill that you no longer use, and if you have kids, organize or remove some of their toys from the yard. Keep it simple – no pink flamingoes or other items that may not appeal to everyone.
  • Clean up your clutter inside. What may not seem like clutter to you may be instantly perceived as clutter by someone else. This includes jam-packed closets, the stack of mail or newspapers on the counter, and the handy but unsightly treasures stuck to your refrigerator. While these things may not seem to take up space, they give the impression of crowdedness.
  • Clean out the attic, basement, garage, and other storage spaces. Most buyers will be interested in storage space. This space can be the difference when the buyers decide to make an offer. If you currently use those storage spaces yourself, at least organize them and make it look like there is plenty more storage. Consider clearing some of the stuff out – after all, you’ll be moving soon anyway!
  • Create more open space. Remove unnecessary furniture and personal items that take up space. Maybe you have a coffee table that collects magazines and dust, or a treadmill/clothes hanger in your bedroom. When you open up more space in your rooms, the buyers will have a better visual image of how their own furniture might fit into the house.
  • Clean the kitchen and bathrooms like never before. These are the real selling points, and they have to shine. You want every inch of the bathroom to look as if you could eat off of it, and you want your appliances and counters in the kitchen to look like new. If you have a problem with ants or some other pest, make sure you take every possible step to eradicate them – and don’t leave your traps or bug spray in sight.
  • Update your lighting. Replace any burnt-out bulbs, and make sure the bulbs in a multi-bulb fixture all match. If you have windows that provide a lot of light from the outside, keep the blinds or shades open and working properly to let this light in. Most buyers love rooms that receive a lot of outside light, so if you’ve got it, flaunt it.
  • Finally, deal with odors. Every home has its distinct odors – favorite foods, plants, that special air freshener you can only get in Guam – but prospective buyers will zero in on smoke and pet odors. You can try to minimize these odors, but they are almost impossible to hide without changing all the carpeting, curtains and upholstery in the home. Cheap cover-up sprays can just make things worse. Try quality scented candles or potpourri – don’t go overboard! – or better yet, do some baking before you are expecting to show the house. Try to refrain from cooking strong smelling foods like fish or sauerkraut on weekends or when you otherwise expect you might have visitors.
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