Helping Your House Make its Best First Impression Home buyers today look at hundreds of home online before they decide which ones to see in person. If they like what they see online they must also like what they see when they drive up and if they come inside you want them to feel at home. Here are some suggestions that may help you get the best value and the quickest sale for your home.
Designer Most of us think of a designer when we are building a new home, however, hiring a designer may be the first step you want to take when you decide to sell. A good designer can look at your home and give suggestions within your budget to maximize your selling power. I have used Tina Foss, http://www.fossbydesign.com/. She looked at the color of the shingles and siding to choose a color for the front door that was appealing and in style. She takes into account the direction the windows in a room face, existing flooring, size and function of rooms when deciding colors. Sometimes the slightest change makes a huge impact.
Staging The first moment inside your home a buyer makes a judgement. The rest of the tour will be to support that first impression. The main point of staging is to make your home feel welcoming and appealing to potential buyers. A stager will help you eliminate distractors in your home. Distractors are that wall of bowling trophies you are so proud of, your collection of 2,500 salt and pepper sets or the unique color you painted the bath. Make your home memorable for the right reasons.
Photos Your online photos are giving the first impression of your home so be sure they highlight some of the reasons you love your home. Whether you hire or do the photos yourself, there are some things that are not as obvious as one would think. Be sure toilet seats are down, chairs are pushed in, counters are clear, bedding is straight. Look for shoes, boxes or purses on the floor. It is a good idea to clear out a room then take a laundry basket and clear it some more. Then move it to storage. Stand outside the room you are photographing to maximize the space but be sure not to get the door frames in the picture.
Curb Appeal Your online pictures get someone to your home and the outside appearance decides if they come in or drive on by. Fresh flowers, a bench and a clean new mat are all welcoming. Show pride of ownership with a freshly sealed driveway, updated exterior lights and doorbell.
Cost A seller must weigh the cost of preparing a home for sale vs. dropping the price till it sells. Ask for costs upfront. Minimal advice from a designer, a stager who gives you suggestions on how to rearrange and use what you have and a photographer will most likely cost far less than the average price drop of $10,000.
The Star Tribune recently had an article about the Twin Cities home prices - based on the increase, it's currently 9th highest, so it's a great time to sell!
"Annual home prices nationwide, including distressed sales, increased 11 percent in December 2013 compared to December 2012, according to a year-end report from CoreLogic. That was the 22nd consecutive monthly year-over-year increase in home prices, though on a month-to-month basis, U.S. home prices fell slightly, decling 0.1 percent from November to December 2013.
"Mark Fleming, chief economist for CoreLogic, which uses recent sale data for its monthly Home Price Index (HPI), said the the 11-percent annual increase was the highest rate since 2005 and that 10 states and the District of Columbia reached new all-time price peak."
Here are some staging starting points, in order of priority:
Begin with cleaning and maintenance. This includes repairs such as leaky faucets, cracked windows, torn screens, and so on. These are the basics of preparing the home for sale.
Next, de-clutter and de-personalize. Ask the sellers if they would be willing to remove some of the excess furniture and personal items from an over-crowded room, or if they would re-arrange pieces, moving them from one room into another for a better distribution and traffic flow.
Touch up interior and exterior paint, or re-paint with neutral colors if the color is too bold, and remove dated or worn wallpaper.
Shop for a few new accessories such as candles, art, or replacement shower curtains or towels. (Decide on a budget ahead of time with the sellers.)
Replace window coverings and bedding, if those items are dated.
Replace outdated or tarnished light fixtures.
Polish, or even refinish, hardwood flooring. Clean carpeting, or cover worn flooring with a new surface material.
Buyers are looking for usable outdoor spaces so it may be beneficial for a seller to hire a landscaper to help create spaces in the backyard that are warm and inviting spaces to spend time with family and friends.
Buzz Feed has put out some do-it-yourself ideas. Some may be too kitschy for a house you are selling but here are my favorites: #1 hanging a chandelier in an outdoor area using solar lights. #3 Adding a diaper to the bottom of plants to help retain the moisture. #13 creating a splash pad is still a fun activity for the kids without the expense and liability of a pool. There are some great planting ideas. My favorite is #19, spray planters with glow-in-the-dark paint for instant outdoor evening lighting.