So you've decided to make a move and sell your house. I’m sure you have a to-do list of minor repairs and updates to get your home ready, and be the “Shiny Penny” on the market. In addition to your to-do list, it's also important to know what not to do. I’ve listed a couple of tips to help you.
1. Don't over-improve.
As you are preparing to put your home on the market, look at it with what I call “Buyer’s Eyes”. What will the buyer see when they drive up, enter the home, and take a look around? Updating the appliances, adding a fresh coat of paint or replacing the worn or dated carpet is always a good idea. However, it's important not to over-improve, or make improvements that are to your taste, but not necessarily to the taste’s of others. A good example would be totally re-finishing a basement when a moderate update would do. Your specific taste may not meet their needs, and may look to them like a huge project to un-do. Make any needed fixes to your space, but don't go overboard. Keep it simple.
2. Don’t over-decorate.
The key word here would be “neutral”. I, personally, love a lot of color and my home is very bright and cheery, however it is certainly not to everyone’s taste. When getting your home ready to sell, the best thing to do is tone down the color scheme and remove some of the decor. Not only will this make it more neutral and photogenic, but it will also help to overcome the objection of buyers having to spend time and money to repaint. Don’t worry that the buyers won’t get to see all of your favorite treasured pieces-they are there to see the home and imagine how their things will fit in the space.
3. Don't hang around.
When you get the call that your home is going to be shown, be sure to make arrangements for you and your pets to leave. I love my two kittens, but not everyone feels the same. Buyers want to imagine themselves in your space, not be followed around by you or the pets. If they have questions, their agent will ask your agent. It's very uncomfortable for the prospective buyers to look around while someone else is there. Leave the house and take your pets with you. If for whatever reason it is impossible for you to leave, stay out of the way and let the buyers and their agent look at their leisure.
4. Don't take things personal.
Real estate is a business, but buying and selling homes is an emotional experience. When selling your home, don’t take it personally or be offended if a buyer makes an offer you don’t like. Buyers often like to make low offers or ask for some improvements to be made. Remember, if they’ve taken the time to sit down and put an offer on paper, they are interested. No matter what the offer, it is best to make a counter offer and not flat out reject it.
5. Don’t presume a buyer can look past the clutter.
You may still be occupying the home, but you need to take some time to prepare your home and put it “in showing” condition. One of the easiest things I have had clients do is keep a tote handy and when they have an appointment they can put all of their everyday items in the tote and take it with them. A couple of other points to remember: empty the trash cans, clean up after the dog and clean out the litter box. If the home is vacant, don’t try to save a few dollars by keeping the heat down, the AC off, leaving the sidewalks and driveway covered in snow or not tending to the lawn.