The objective is to sell your house within your time frame AND to maximize cash to you at closing. We recommend the following:
Clean Everything Thoroughly
Everyone has a different definition of “clean”. When you’re listing your house for sale, you need to get Mr. Clean clean! Pretend that you’re selling your house to a germaphobe. If you can afford it, hire a professional cleaning crew to spend a whole day doing a deep clean. It’s well worth the money! When a house is unkept, it can be hard for buyers to emotionally attach to it, even if they are not clean people themselves. It’s an interesting irony that many home buyers expect the house they buy to be cleaner than the one they currently reside in. This is a reality that must be accounted for. A clean house gives the impression that the property has been well maintained and is easy to move into. Move-in ready is the key phrase.
Remove evidence of pets.
To sell your home quickly and for the most money, you want to appeal to every possible buyer. Not everyone is a fan of pets. Your house may be the perfect layout, price, and design but if it smells like animals you may have just lost your buyer(s). Some potential buyers are so sensitive to pet dander that when shown homes they won’t even finish walking through the entire house if there is evidence of animals. Sometimes they will rule out a house simply based on seeing litter boxes in the property photos. And don’t forget the fact that you can never experience your home as a buyer would because you live there and are used to it’s unique smell.
Every property is different and will have unique and specific areas to address. Experienced Realtors look at dozens of homes with home buyers every day. When we walk through your house at a listing appointment, we have buyer’s voices in our heads calling out objections. We know what buyers want because they tell us every day. Every market is different and there are different tactics for each area. An experienced Realtor will point out all of the objections that you can expect to hear from your potential buyers. There will always be sellers that don’t want to hear it, but this is extremely valuable information, so be sure to take advantage of it early on in the listing process. Please do not be sensitive to suggestions.
Freshen Up your landscaping.
Statistically, landscaping is the biggest bang for your buck when listing your house for sale. Curb appeal is extremely important. In real state and in many areas you rarely get a second chance to make a good first impression.. The fastest way to freshen up your landscaping is new mulch. Spread a layer of it all throughout your landscaped areas. This is inexpensive and requires very little time.
If you’d like to make an even better first impression, plant some colorful flowers which will make your new mulch stand out even more. Trim any over grown plants and bushes and clean up your outdoor spaces to look new again. Everything grows fast (including weeds) on the west coast of Florida so it is important to keep everything trimmed.
If you have any strong colors in your house (purple, burgundy, lime green, etc.), it would be wise to paint over them with a neutral color. We tell clients that they should not have more than 3 neutral colors in their home. The more colors, the more chance you have for objections. You can’t take it personally if someone else does not share your affection for orange. Remember, there are many different types of people and you’re trying to appeal to as many as possible. Neutral colors are the only way to appeal to the greatest amount of buyers. Even those who like strong colors are not always going to like your choices. Then you have to consider that their furnishings and drapes have to match as well. When you look at it this way it’s easy to see that the probability of your strong color choices working for most buyers is quite slim. For this reason, we recommend painting with neutral colors. People will rarely object to buying a home with neutral colors, but will often object to a home with strong colors.
Clean Carpets (or replace) and Tile Grout
Carpets show more damage than almost any part of your home. If you have carpet in your house, it’s probably going to be a problem. If the carpets are not stained and are newer, you can get away with simply getting a deep clean from a professional carpet cleaning company. If cleaning will not restore them, you’ll need to replace them.
Most any Realtor will tell you that a home with worn out dirty carpets is very hard to sell. If you want to sell your house for top dollar you’ll need to tackle this objection right away. Carpets hold a lot of dirt and odor. It’s important that they look and smell clean for your showings. Have your tiles cleaned. The grout between your tiles turn dark from dirt. Have them cleaned professionally and they will sparkle.
Replace The Outdated Fixtures.
This is an easy fix that can have a substantial impact. If you have brass door handles and brass chandeliers, you should replace them. It makes your home look dated. You can buy a contractor pack of brushed nickel door handles for $5 apiece at home improvement stores. If you are appealing to higher end buyers, you may want to go for designer door handles. If you have old outdated light switch covers, replace them all. You’ll be surprised by how much of a difference it will make. Walk through your house and try to identify every fixture that reveals the date of the home. Replace as many of them as possible.
Remove Personal Items
There will be many different types of people looking at your home when it is listed for sale. To encourage the most positive feedback and sell, it’s best to create a neutral environment. The best way to do this is to remove any objects that reflect your personal choices and lifestyle. If a buyer can walk through your house and determine your religious preference, family size, profession, and/or favorite alcoholic beverage, you may have a problem. Some buyers have a hard time emotionally attaching to a home when a sellers lifestyle choices are front and center. This is particularly true when those choices conflict with theirs. Take out all evidence that you even live there and you will be on the right track. It will also help you to emotionally detach from your home and to start thinking of it as someone else’s. When a buyer walks in and asks if someone lives in your home, you have done your job.