Let’s face it – selling your home can be a lot more difficult than it seems at first. When your home first goes on the market, you may be filled with hope and looking forward to the next step of your life to begin…..just as soon as the house sells. But then, maybe it doesn’t sell for a few weeks, then maybe months. This can be an excruciating waiting game. For some people, it can be very baffling as to why their home sits on the market while other homes seem to be selling. Others are scratching their heads at why there has been so little traffic through their home when it is a perfectly good house on sale for a perfectly fair price.
The truth is that sellers are at a real disadvantage when it comes to seeing their own homes objectively and following some tips on selling your home can make a real difference in how buyers see your home.
Firstly, if you are selling your home through a realtor, they are the first ones you should seek an opinion from. Ask them if there is anything you can do to make the home more attractive to buyers. They may be hoping you’ll ask them just this question as there may be some fairly simple and obvious (to them) things that would make a big difference. Maybe a small repair here or a cleanup job there might really change the atmosphere of the place. If you are selling your home on your own, then you will have to make this call on your own so try very hard to look at your home with new eyes.
Here are the most useful tips on selling your home:
- De-clutter. While your home may be perfectly acceptable to you and you don’t think you can live without every single picture of every single niece and nephew stuck to your refrigerator door, the fact is that your personal effects are very distracting and unattractive to other people. These are the things that may make it “home” for you but the very same things that make it “someone else’s home” when buyers take a look. You want them to be able to imagine making this house into their home, so leave them a little room to imagine their own photos and mementos on the shelves.
- Pare down. Even if you have to move some furniture and personal items to storage, it is important to eliminate as much as you can from the house. If you have some exceptionally shabby furniture, it’s not doing you any favours by sitting there waiting for moving day to eventually come. Get it out now! Keep the basics and make your home seem as open as possible. If you have to take most of your clothes out of your overflowing closet and pack them up, then do it. Buyers who see overflowing closets are more inclined to think the closets are too small than they are to be impressed by your extensive wardrobe.
- Freshen up the exterior. While the same old dented mailbox you’ve had for the last 10 years may indeed be quite functional, it’s not exactly attractive. Take a look at your home from the street and be honest with yourself about what you see. Does it look tired and stale? Some of the simplest things can make a huge difference. A little paint on some trim, freshen up the front entrance with some potted flowers and replace your old door mat with something fresh. This can really make the front door look more welcoming. If you are flying a flag on the front porch, is it tattered and torn? Replace it.
- Stage your photos. Whether you or a realtor will be taking the pictures used to market your home, make sure that you do your best to make the pictures show a clean, uncluttered, welcoming home. If you have to clear your entire kitchen counter top off to get a good picture, then do it. You can put your personal things back afterwards. If you have to move all your vehicles, bicycles and toys before taking the outside pictures, then get moving them! Remember you want buyers to be able to imagine that this home has room for them and their things – not just be overwhelmed with you and your stuff.
It may seem as though these tips on selling your home are too simple. That’s usually because of the lack of objectivity sellers have. If it’s possible, bring back some of your objectivity by visiting some other comparable houses that are on the market. Be brutally honest with yourself about what you like when you see those houses and how your own home stacks up in comparison. Take note of how the houses are staged, how they smell, and how available they seem – can you see yourself moving in there? Ask yourself what it is that makes you feel that way.
There’s no question that selling your home can be a long and sometimes frustrating process. It’s important for you to stay focused on what you can do within your own budget and time frame to make your home seem as attractive as possible. With some objectivity, some cleaning, editing and staging, you could very well be getting a lot closer to the finish line and out of that house!