Preparing to sell your home can be a stressful time. What do you need to do? Where do you start? Let’s start out with the basics. In this series we will address what to look for outside, how to declutter main living spaces and what to pack up and keep neatly stored in the basement or off-site. For Part 1 of this series lets start off with what to look for outside the home.
Home staging is one of the most powerful ways to make buyers want to buy your home. Don’t panic! These are relatively simple things you can do yourself or with the family. It can be as simple as decluttering and repainting! (Or it can require a major clean out that involves storing belongings neatly in-house or off-site as well as redecorating, repainting and in some cases renting furniture and art to help give the space a certain je ne sais quoi. This week we are focusing on curb appeal!
A lot of buyers scope out homes before they meet with a Realtor. They do a drive-by, walk around and “see what they can see” before deciding if your home makes the cut. Consider what your home looks like for the everyday passersby. If you drove by your home, would you want to see inside (and be honest with yourself)? Here are a few things to check out and add to the check-list before you list your home:
- Repaint your front door (if necessary) in a color that compliments the color of your house. The classic choice: red- but do your research. You don’t want to hurt your curb appeal by getting adventurous! Stick to the classics, you can’t go wrong. (see our post on the best colors and the ones to avoid when repainting front doors as well as exteriors/interiors)
- If the front door (door knocker, knob and other hardware) is worn, replace it STAT! If they are turned off at the front door, they are less likely to overlook little items inside.
- Make your front porch, stoop etc. inviting. Use tasteful seasonal decorations but be mindful not to over do it. The goal here is to make your home feel warm and welcoming. Do this by using muted, classic decorations like a tree that glows with soft white lighting, a carved pumpkin or a door wreath with seasonal blooms . (TIP: add sprigs of eucalyptus to your wreath, it adds a fresh scent to the experience as they walk through the door!) Check out this Youtube tutorial for a quick how to.
- If you have wood railing or pavers leading up to the front door, make sure everything is in good shape. Sand and paint where needed and add extra sand to the pavers to make sure they are fresh and sturdy. You want to avoid literally knocking their socks off!
The view from inside the house can frame the best attributes of your yard.
Here’s what to look for:
What is the view from key windows in the house? Look out the window above the sink or through the big windows in the dining or living room, what can you see? It will serve you well to create an outside focal point to draw buyers’ attention to landscaping. For example, plant colorful flowers in the yard in the direct eye-line from those vantage points. Hanging a hummingbird feeder from the window in front of the kitchen sink is always a great way to add a whimsical touch! Imagine a potential buyer is stopped at the kitchen sink as a hummingbird hovers close by, (thank you, showing Gods!!) A few other tips I found while scouring the internet for great ideas:
- Fix fences and gates. Try to remember, for every peeling spec of paint or broken gate hardware, your offer gets lower and lower from a potential buyer. They are looking for reasons to low ball you, don’t give them any that are easily fixable. That $50 lock will cost you $300 at the negotiation table. Fix it and save yourself the headache (and the insult).
- Make sure all walk ways, patios and decks are free of clutter and other eye sores. We want the yard to make potential buyers envision bbq’s and other get-togethers with friends and family. A messy yard just makes them think there isn’t enough room to store those items or that the yard isn’t what they are looking for. Just clean it up.
- Always keep gardens tidy (this means well-watered plants so they look healthy, weed free and colorful) and the lawn mowed at all times. If this is hard to manage for you because of work, kids etc., hire landscapers for a short time. You will see a return on the back-end!
TIP: Plant full-size, bright annuals for immediate color. Don’t buy small starter plants; they will look scrawny and won’t bring any color to your landscape. Aim for a robust, full garden that implies there is no work for buyers to do, at least in the short run!
The point here is to make potential buyers “oooooh and aaaaah”, envision good times in your home and feel like there is little to no work to be done. This will also give your Realtor primo listing photographs which will help create interest and get potential buyers to add your home to their list. I’m sure I will be saying this over and over throughout this series so be prepared… the process of selling your home is business, not personal! Yes, this is a high emotions game (on both sides) but to achieve your bottom line and bring in great offers you need to look at this from a business standpoint. As you drive around your neighborhood take time to notice which outdoor features really draw you in. There’s no shame in taking ideas from neighbors!
Part 2 of this series will tackle the “whats and hows” of decluttering all your living spaces to ensure each room looks open and spacious. Be sure to subscribe to receive new posts in your inbox. I hope you enjoyed your time here, come back again soon!