When talking with real estate agents, you’ll often find that when they speak to you about buying real estate, they refer to buyer’s purchasing a “home” and the sellers putting their “house” on the market. Why the play on words? The reason is psychological. Buying and selling real estate is one of the most involved and emotional situations a person can ever be in. Unless it’s simply for investment purposes, in which case many of these types never even see the homes they buy to fix and flip, it’s all number crunching for profit (if any) and no emotional ties are present.
In any regard, the Realtor tries to remove some of the emotional value and sentimental feelings about the seller’s home when getting it ready to place on the market. It’s tough at times to think you’ve raised your family in that house and had so many celebrations, birthdays, holidays, and now maybe the kids may have moved on and have families of their own, and you’re experiencing what’s commonly known as the “empty nest syndrome.”
Below are some tips on how to get your home (or house) ready to sell:
The reason you want to de-personalize your home is because you want potential buyers to see themselves in the home as “their home” and not visiting for a short time in someone else’s. Typically, when buyer’s see a lot of family photos on the walls, trophies, and other very personal items, it creates a mental block for them and it becomes harder to see beyond that. They want to envision their own furniture in the living room, and see their own method of setting up the kitchen. Things might look and feel “busy” if you don’t de-clutter.
A good idea is to clear out many of those items and put them in a safe place so you can display them in your new home once you get there. This doesn’t mean you have to take every photo of your children down and live in a “cold museum” while your home is on the market. It’s about simplifying things. It’s inspiring to let the potential buyers know and feel for themselves that this home was, and still is a place to be cherished and welcoming to a new family and their friends! That she’s got a whole lot of life left in her!
This “de-personalizing” stage is often the hardest part for a family because it’s at this time they feel the transition they are about to embark upon becomes very real. All of a sudden, personal items that have been on the walls and in the house for as long as you’ve been there seem to carry a lot more weight than they seemed to have previously. Try not to let that get you down. After all, they’re all still coming with you!
The main objective here of course is to take a step back and try to see your home through the eyes of a buyer looking to live there. Ask your agent for help. Let them show you photos of current trends or color pallets that are helping homes sell faster and maybe even at higher price points. Try not to get defensive. It’s only honest feedback and not demands that they’re offering up to you. Ask friends to come over and give their two cents if you’re more comfortable with that. Go visit some open houses in popular neighborhoods with low average days on market times and see what they have done. Take what you need and apply it to your situation and you’ll find the whole experience more enlightening, and a lot more fun!
The kitchen is a popular place to start getting things organized. First off, remove everything from the counters (yes, even the toaster) and wipe them down good. Find places where you can store the items that you’re still going to use like the coffee maker, and have them easily accessible to you. As stated before, if you find that you’ve collected so many different pots and pans, cookware, glassware, as example, take a true inventory and ask yourself what might be expendable to make room for more important items.
Clean and unencumbered counter space is something that today’s modern buyers are very fixated upon. They love the feeling of clean, organized spaces. Don’t leave a bad impression either. Cleaning under the sinks is a great idea not only cosmetically, but you might just discover a slight leak or some plumbing that could use a little help. Fix it now. Don’t wait for it to be brought to your attention because these buyers won’t tell you. They will just assume that maybe there are other areas of the home that leak too. This is no good.
If you have a junk drawer, organize or get rid of the actual “junk.” If you have large amounts of food stored up, plan some menu’s and use it up before it goes stale and as far as canned goods are concerned, use those often too! They are heavy, and you would ideally like to lessen the load during your up and coming move, right? While were on that topic, DVD’s, CD’s, and books when combined, weigh a ton! Get them over to your favorite Half Price Books location and trade them in for some money instead of moving them around.
Make certain all of the dishes, and canned goods (among other foods) are organized neatly in the kitchen. This includes the refrigerator and freezer. Eliminate any foul odors (if there are any) and pop a fresh box of baking soda in to the ice box. Make sure it looks good too, with clean racks and drawers. Clean up the dishwasher as well. No foul stenches allowed! Buyers are notorious for peeking into dishwashers, and we have not yet figured out why. Until we do, please make sure your kitchen sparkles and looks beautiful! It will go a long way in the eyes of the modern buyer. They will naturally assume that if you keep the kitchen in this amazing condition, the rest of the home should be keep immaculate too, right?
Closest are an amazing thing. They are masters of collecting clutter, though you don’t think of it as such. We’re talking about extra clothing, shoes, and other things you’ve held onto but rarely wear. Maybe you can’t be without them for sentimental reasons like a tuxedo or a wedding dress. No problem! Just safely store them with your other items that are now in your storage unit so they can be brought out later. All of these items, especially large items like blankets, make your closets look like well-fed eating machine. Try your best to let potential buyers see that you DO have a lot of closet space! Smart organization and placement are usually near the top of their list when searching out a new home to purchase, but closet space is a must have. It’s on the top of all their wants lists every single time. Buyer’s endorphins really kick in when they realize that their potential new home has an abundance of clean, accommodating closet space!
In so many cases, people have an abundance of furniture in a certain room maximizing its potential. Perhaps not for your own personal family or lifestyle, but if there is too much, it will rob the room of its space and create an illusion to the buyer that there isn’t any real space for them to work with. Granted, it might be a small room or a den but even those spaces can be staged correctly, and featured as real useable space that seemingly offers a lot more than what you originally had given it credit for.
Tim & Charlie Anderson
We have years and years of experience helping people get their Prescott home ready to sell. If you have questions or need additional input on how to approach the process, give us a call! (928) 308-9595.