Making that final decision to put your home on the market and then meeting with your Realtor to establish the listing price, the date, and the marketing plan establishes “the clock”. In other words, the time frame for prepping has been determined and that usually means “as soon as possible”. First will come the photographer and then hopefully several days later, potential buyers. Prepping a home to show doesn’t mean new floors and countertops. For this conversation, we are talking about taking what we already have and preparing it to show it at its best. This can seem simple, and it really is, but sometimes a seller’s personal investment in their home can interfere with their objectivity when it comes to a photograph or the ability to see through the lens of a perspective buyer. We strongly encourage you to use us and our experience to provide that objective lens.
CURB APPEAL: First Impressions for homebuyers happen twice. The first is at “the curb”. Curb appeal is critical because you do want your prospective buyer to “actually” get out of their car and come inside. Depending on your type of home, options for presentation may be somewhat limiting, but regardless, neatly trimmed landscaping and lawns and clean walkways are critical. If Suzy’s bicycle is in the driveway, take a moment to put it away, and then be sure to close the garage door.
ENTRY: The second opportunity to maximize a first impression is at the entry or the foyer of your home. In this era of real estate, there is only a small chance your prospective buyer hasn’t seen pictures of the home online. So, if they are here, they saw something they liked, and the assessment/comparison starts immediately. Does this first impression produce the same sense or feeling that motivated them to take this next step? Stand in your entry way and take a moment to try to see what they see. Better yet, have your realtor stand there with you. Draw on that experience and objectivity. One common mistake that we have seen sellers make is too much clutter. Those personal items on the mantle that make the home yours, may not make it theirs. It is always best to keep it warm and inviting but keep it minimal. If the first impression can complement that initial sense that brought them, then let the home continue to invite them into the living room, dining room, kitchen, etc. by using those same concepts. By the time they make it to the secondary bedrooms they have probably already made up their minds about the house being worth the price, and whether they are interested enough to consider making an offer.
KITCHENS: No place in the home should the idea of ‘minimal’ be more important than the kitchen. Though Buyers are assessing the quality of the countertops and cabinets, they are also thinking about workspace and storage. A bit of accessorizing is good, but sellers should minimize countertop clutter, to create the feeling of spaciousness. And one last tip here. Make sure the appliances are clean and free of fingerprints.
BATHROOMS: Sometime bathrooms need updating and sometimes they don’t. But to help sell the home, they always need to be neat and clean. If you are not updating, then be sure there are no mold/mildew or water stains. And no dirty tubs. Remember, your best hope is that the potential buyer is seeing your home as their home and these things can be a real deal breaker. New white towels are always a good idea but again clean and neatly hung is critical. If you are living in the home while you are selling, it is usually a good idea to have a set of personal towels and then a set of showing towels on hand at all times.
All of this is really pretty simple and yet it takes a practiced eye to get it done right. Sometimes, if buyer is on the fence, the little things that can make the biggest difference.