With house sales still dropping, it is the biggest buyers market we’ve ever seen! That means that there is a lot of stock out there for buyers to choose from. But buyers aren’t making rash decisions, they are taking their time to buy, and being careful not to get themselves into the kind of debt that the buyers of previous years did – the kind of debt that eventually lead us to this market crash we are now crawling out of. That’s smart of them. It means they are only buying houses that they can afford, something we should always do.
What that means if you’re trying to sell is that it might take a long time, and you might not get the offers you were hoping for. But the good news is there are a few things you can do to speed up you sale, and, hopefully, get a little closer to your selling price goal. Research shows that the biggest trend in home selling, home staging, actually works to achieve those two goals, a higher price and a quicker sale. So focus on making your home stand out from the crowd! Here’s a few tips on where to put the most energy.
The first thing a buyer will see of your home is the view from the street. Go out there and have a look for yourself. Be objective. How would it look to a stranger? Do some yard work to make it really look its best. Prune overgrown hedges, mow the lawn, weed the flower beds, water and fertilize everything, just do whatever it takes to make the yard look gorgeous and easy. If you’ve got some projects spread around, finish them up and put them away. And be realistic with yourself. If you think that, given the fact that you are trying to sell your home, you may never get that project finished, get rid of it. Move it out of the way so buyers can see the yard underneath it.
Now, how is the front walk? If your driveway and walkways look like they could use a wash, get a pressure washer and do what needs to be done. It’s cheaper than re-paving but with a similar visual result.
Once the yard is in top shape, look at the house. Do you have front stairs, and if so, are they all safe and looking good? How is the paint on the house? If it is faded or cracking at all, re-painting should be a priority. It has been said that painting the exterior is the one thing that increases the value of a house the most. If you have vinyl siding, consider pressure washing it.
Once inside your house, note how it smells. If you have pets, or have smoked in your house, it is probably time to have your carpets cleaned. While you’re at it, do the drapes or blinds, too. Not only will this help the smell of your home, but it will make it look brighter, and, well, cleaner, which it will be.
Statistics show that people tend to buy houses based on their kitchens and bathrooms. So whatever you can do to improve these two rooms will greatly improve the impression buyers have of your home. Depending on your budget, and the age of your home, you should consider updating the flooring, counter-tops and faucets. Be sure all appliances are in good working order. Clean out the cupboards, and oil any squeaks.
Mentioning cupboards reminds me of closets. These matter to buyers, too, and some will open them up to see what they look like. So when you are cleaning your house, don’t neglect the closets, and by all means, don’t stuff all your junk into them. Assess your possessions and give away or sell everything you no longer need.
This all might seem like a lot of work, but it will most definitely make a difference in buyers perspective of your home. If buyers like what they see, you just might be one of the lucky few who actually sells your home this year!