11 Tips To Sell Your Home For Top Dollar
What do sellers need to know or do before putting their home on the market?
Buyers buy on emotion, not logic, so sellers must do the things that appeal to buyers’ emotions, not their logic.
Many times, sellers put their money in the wrong places when selling their home. They often spend money on things like replacing the furnace, windows or a roof. This is not necessarily bad but this is appealing to a buyer’s logic and not their emotions. When working with married couples, a lot of times the wife makes more of the decision than the husband. I've never once seen a wife come in and say, "Honey, they have a ninety-five percent efficient furnace! This is great!" A lot of times people do want to do the things that appeal to logic, so we want to stay away from that as long as your furnace and air are working properly. As long as your windows don't have cracks in them, the only time we would say do something like that is if, driving by your roof looks really bad, the shingles are curled, then we would say yeah, replace your roof. But that's about it when it comes to appealing to a buyer’s logic.
- Deep cleaning
It is very important to deep clean your home before putting it on the market. This is extra cleaning that you may not do on a weekly or monthly basis. Some examples would be: cleaning the inside and outside of cabinets and closets, moving furniture and vacuuming underneath, deep cleaning appliances, moving appliances and cleaning under them, cleaning inside and outside of windows, having flooring professionally cleaned if needed including tile and grout if applicable, cleaning inside of showers and making sure there is no evidence of mold anywhere in bathrooms etc etc.
The more stuff you have in your home, the smaller it makes your house feel. The less stuff, the better. You may need to rent a storage facility if needed.
Take down all personal photos. Many sellers don’t want to do this but when you're selling your house, you do want to de-personalize it as much as possible. You want people to focus on your home, not your pictures.
- Paint/Remove wallpaper
Most of the time, wallpaper should be removed. It really dates a home. If something needs to be painted, paint it. Painting is the best return on investment when selling your home. Neutral paints are generally the best and plain white is not usually recommended.
If your flooring is dirty, worn or dated, replace it or have it professionally cleaned. It has to look good. It is always best to replace flooring before listing your home for sale. Many sellers would rather give the buyers an allowance but allowances do not work because most buyers don't have vision. They cannot see what it will look like with new carpet. They simply judge your home by the way it looks like today. Some buyers do have vision and can see very clearly how the home will look with new flooring but most buyers cannot. An average grade neutral carpeting is usually recommended.
There is nothing that will kill a sale faster than if people walk in and the house smells. We're talking about odors from pets, smoke, musty laundry and any other odors that could be offensive. Just make sure your house has a nice smell to it. You may need someone to come in and check that for you because most people are so used to the smell of their home that they are not a good judge to determine if the home smells or not. Ask a few people for their honest advice about how your home smells. Most people will not want to tell you that your home has an unpleasant smell so it’s important you tell them to be honest and that you need to know so you can eliminate any odors before putting your home on the market.
- Light and Bright
This is more for before showings. You want to make your house look as light and bright as it can. Open up all blinds, drapes etc. and let the sun in. Put high wattage bulbs in, unless you're trying to set a mood like in a dining room. Make sure there's no broken light bulbs.
Temperature is very important. This is more for vacant homes than anything. You really want to make your house comfortable. In the winter time, if your home is cold, the only thing they're thinking about is getting out of your home and back into the warm car. In the summertime, if it's really hot, people want to get back into the air conditioned car. You really want to make your home feel comfortable. Remember, buyer’s buy on emotion. How does a cold home make you feel? It's not homey.
Treat your bathroom like you're at a very nice hotel. When you walk in to a nice hotel, you don't see wet towels hanging up, mold in the shower, a lot of stuff on the counter top, etc.
You do not want buyers to see any evidence that there is a water problem. If you've had a water problem, get the water problem corrected. Once corrected, painting foundation walls and sometimes even floors make a basement look really clean and nice. We do not recommend trying to hide or mask a current water issue. Any current water issues will need to be disclosed. Any previous water issue that has been corrected is not required to be disclosed.
Buyers are going to be driving by your home, so you want the exterior look as good as it can. Here are just a few ideas: All vehicles in garage, trim bushes and trees, fertilize, water and keep yard mowed so it looks its best, remove any weeds from landscaping beds, make sure all exterior lights working, garbage cans out of site, paint any decking if needed, power wash exterior of home if needed and a fresh layer of mulch also looks great!