FIRST IMPRESSIONS MATTER - GETTING HOUSE READY TO SHOW AND SELL
I tell potential sellers that a house doesn't need to be in show shape on my first visit, as I'll often point out things that the homeowner has overlooked. Most often, a simple coat of paint is all that's needed to change 'blah' to 'wow'. And sometimes, everything is perfect except for an abundance of 'stuff.'
It's my job to get the buyers into the house by taking photos that are rich and memorable as to content, as buyers decide most often which house to visit based upon what they see on the internet. Before I can do that though, what's most often needed is a 'De-clutter' to get rid of stuff that's been accumulating for years. I walked into a master bathroom today with Post-It notes surrounding every corner of a bathroom mirror with the bathroom counter also loaded up with medicine bottles and all types of other health and beauty bottles. 'Imagine how that would look in a photo' is all I had to say to get my point across. The same applies to the kitchen. I recommend placing most everything on the counters out of sight and removing all the magnets and photos from the refrigerator. Not only does it help with making the photos look better, it makes the home not feel like someone else's.
As to personal frames photos of family and friends, keep it to a minimum. It's important to make the potential buyers feel like they are home, and that's sometimes hard to do when they're looking at photos of the family who calls it home. I've learned this by observation when showing a home.
The homeowner, prior to listing, should get out of the car and approach the front door exactly as a potential buyer will. Most often, the homeowner pulls into the garage without a thought to the front door where the agent and potential buyers will enter. It's important this area be clean and free of dust and cobwebs. A fresh coat of paint, stain, or polyurethane on the door will do wonders. Also, make sure the door hardware doesn't look worn and tired. A brand new door hardware set can be bought for between $75 and $150 and makes a huge difference as a first impression while the agent is standing there opening the lockbox to get the key. During this time, the potential buyer is forming a first impression, and it's important that everything look as good as possible. A pot or two of flowers around the door or entryway always helps set a well kept impression.
In addition to this, fresh mulch should always be out with shrubbery, bushes and trees trimmed back. Pressure washing is sometimes needed not only on the house, but brick, stone and concrete steps can need washing to remove stains and mildew.
Lastly, all window blinds should be pulled and shutters opened to allow as much light in as possible. All lights and/or lamps should be on, even the closets, basement and attic. You don't want the showing agent fumbling for light switches. Also, having music playing that's relaxing helps to set the mood as serene and peaceful. Smell is important as well. I would caution you to not overdo it though, as many find scented candles and incense offensive. The goal is to make the showing stand out and be memorable to the buyer prospect, as the buyer will most likely be seeing several other homes as well.
If you're considering selling, it's an opportune time with the market appreciating and home inventory down. Contact me for a listing consultation through my website KimWaters.com or call me.
Take a look at this lovely front porch and entry. It belongs to a friend who works constantly at making her home feel warm and welcoming. And you can see it shows at the front door. Doesn't it make you want to sit a spell?