How To Help Your House Sell . . .

Here are a few ways to make sure you get your house sold:

  1. Make sure it presents well. Is it de-cluttered? Are personal items such as family photos, plaques, trophies, collections, toiletries removed? Are your closets overflowing? Are shoes or worse, laundry, spilling all over the floor? Is there too much furniture in each room, and does furniture block focal points like bay windows, fireplaces, doorways? Are the carpets clean? Is the house repaired and does it look well-maintained?
  2. Is every room set up to ideally show off one purpose only — i.e., guest room OR home office OR dining room OR family room? IF a room has two functions, buyers will either think the house doesn’t have even rooms, or they will be unsure of what they would use the room for.
  3. Are the beds dressed up to look luxurious, with at least two layers of pillows and up-to-date bedding? Nothing sells a bedroom like light and luxury . . . it should look like a haven for relaxation. In line with that, the bathrooms need to look like a place buyers would enjoy spending time in, luxuriating in a long hot shower and bath. Fluffy white towels are always the safest bet, along with totally cleaned off counters and vanities, no plungers or toilet brushes in site (stow under sinks), and dirty clothes or used towels in a lidded hamper preferably tucked away in a neatly organized linen closet. Make sure the shower and bath are clear of all clutter, like razors, shampoos, soap, etc.  A nice touch is a small plant or simple faux flowers like a white orchid or small bouquet of hydrangeas in a clear vase partially filled with stones.
  4. Is the lawn mowed and free of garden debris and toys, hoses, garbage cans, etc.? Garbage cans should be stowed out of sight, behind a privacy fence near the garage or in the garage in a corner. Are bushes trimmed below windows to let in more light?
  5. Is the front door, doormat, doorknob, and mailbox in good condition and updated? Is the front walkway clear and well-maintained with no cracks or loose cement, pavers, etc.? When you’re selling, add a large pot of flowers (or two, if there’s room) on either side of the front door, and on a back patio is well. Shots of color and seasonal flowers — or an evergreen in a pot in winter — make your home look more inviting to buyers.
  6. Are your MLS photos showing off your house in its best light? Since various statistics report between 82% to 90% of buyers start their home search on-line and only contact an agent once they’ve narrowed down their search to attractive properties in their price range, it is crucial your photos look great. If your house or fence is peeling or dirty, this is the time to power-wash it or paint it. No cars in the driveway, no overgrown bushes, no toilet seats should be up, no clutter should be visible, including kitchen dishtowels, food, sponges, soap bottles, etc. Curtains, drapes and shower curtains should be pushed to the side or tied back to show off light, views, and that sparkling clean tub!
  7. The house is overpriced. If you bought near the peak of the market back in ’04, ’05, and ’06, the market has dropped substantially since then. If you also spent money on renovations, they will likely help you sell your home if they were in line with the renovations elsewhere in your neighborhood, but you are likely to be in the hole even more, because it is rare to get back the full amount of a renovation. Your agent will show you comps (comparable properties) on the market, i.e., what houses in your area that are similar to yours have been selling for, or you can do your own research on the internet to see what current prices area. Remember, even if you do need to sell for less than you purchased your house for, you will likely “make it up” on the other end if you are planning to buy another property, since it will be at a lower price now, too.

Curb Appeal More Important in Buyers’ Market

With the 27.2% drop-off in home sales in July and an increase in inventory supply from 7.6 months in June to over 9 months in July, it has become even more critical for sellers to attract buyers through curb appeal. As we head into Fall, keep the lawn mowed, the leaves picked up, the shrubs trimmed — especially if they are blocking any windows — and make sure your house has been power-washed if it needs it. The walkways, steps, and front door should all be in excellent condition, with a fresh coat of paint if needed. A good safe color for the front door is a couple of shades darker than the shutters, or black or dark gray, or a medium-to-dark wood stain. (Works on fiberglass doors, too!)
Even little touches like a new welcome mat that says “Welcome,” new house numbers and mailbox, if your old ones are out-of-date or rusty, can make a big difference in the impression your home makes on buyers. Make sure your outside lights are all in good working order for any night-time appointments, and to make a great impression on potential buyers who spot your home’s For Sale sign at night, which starts to come earlier and earlier in the Fall.
A couple of pumpkins (if they’re real, make sure you replace as they start to rot!) or large pots of mums on the front steps will go a long way towards making your home look welcoming.