Prepping your house for sale means letting go of your treasured memories—memories that make it difficult for you to make a single change to the home. It means thinking in terms of what your buyers want and not in terms of what worked best for your architects in Maine.
When my husband and I put our first house up for sale,Prepping Your House For Sale Articles the real estate agent asked me to repaint a very special wall. The wall had been hand painted by myself and my, then, 6 year old son and two year old daughter. In my eyes, it contained beautiful artwork and had received many compliments from both adults and children. But it was also something potential buyers had a problem with—would the artwork disappear with a fresh coat of paint or would they have to re-panel the wall?—and it was costing us potential sales. When I finally took the real estate agent’s advice and painted the wall, the house sold!
De-Clutter Your Home.
The more spacious and open your house appears, the more your potential buyers can visualize what their stuff will look like in your house. And that’s a good thing. You want buyers to think of your house as their home.
De-cluttering means going through your house, one room at a time, and removing excessive knick-knacks, making sure stray items are put back where they belong, straightening up bookshelves, putting kitchen items in storage instead of having them clutter the countertops, and making sure your cabinets and shelves aren’t overstuffed. Remember, the more open and spacious something looks, the bigger it looks.
I am known for placing kitchen appliances on our countertops—within easy reach. But potential buyers kept commenting about how little counter space our home had. The minute I packed up the kitchen appliances was the minute we began hearing more positive comments—comments which showed real interest.
Potential buyers need to be able to move around your home with ease. They need to be able to see every nook and cranny of your home, and once again, they need to visualize where their belonging will go. But more importantly, they need to understand the purpose of each room. If you have a formal dining room, it needs to look like a dining room—not a child’s play area, not a home office, not a craft room. If your potential buyers have to squeeze past furniture to walk down your hallway or maneuver throughout your house, you need to put some of your furniture into storage.
When we were looking for our first home, we ran into many homes that looked both cluttered and small. They were so jam-packed with furniture and personal items that we, as buyers, couldn’t get a good feel for the structure and design of the house. This was often a turn off for my wife who needed a home that was open and spacious to feel content and happy.
Fix What’s Broken.
Nothing turns a potential buyer off more than discovering you want top dollar for a house in need of dire repairs. It doesn’t matter if your house needs 100 tiny repairs, or one major repair, buyers are looking for move-in ready homes—unless you’re willing to price your home under market value.