Are you considering selling your Townhome or Patio Home?
Selling a property in a tough market brings many new challenges. Buyers these days have a large inventory of properties from which to choose. They are very picky. Because of this, it is paramount to consider the best ways to improve appearance and show (the) quality of your home if you want to get the best results.
Remember, items that can be improved upon, without spending too much money or time.
Things to consider when selling:
Finish Those Unfinished Improvements or Home Projects –
Buyers rarely can see through unfinished projects, even if they have cost you a lot of money thus far. If there is a repair project or upgrade that you have started but haven’t yet finished, it is important to complete this job. Such an unfinished project can give the impression of lack of overall maintenance of a property. These can make a home look dirty, sloppy or not well cared for. Furthermore, uncompleted projects may be considered a major liablity to a buyer, who may not have the time, skills or money to finish the job.
Upgrade Old, Dark and Dated Looking Properties–
In this day in age, modern finishes, new appliances, and fancy upgrades are becoming more common. Because of the amount of homes on the market, buyers have become more picky and have higher expectations for homes. Unless the buyer is getting a considerable discount for a property with a dated condition, buyers are rarely able to appreciate a “diamond in the rough”. Dark color paint, old paint, and old dingy carpet are very difficult for buyers to look past. If money is tight, the single best bang f your buck when trying to brighten a property is new carpet and paint. This will also help remove undesirable smells that may be lingering in the home. When picking paint colors, neutral light colors are the safe option. A neutral lighter color will appeal to more buyers and it will make rooms appear bigger.
Do the Bells and Whistles–
Again, with the amount of inventory that is out there, buyers expect the best. The homes that truly stand out over others have those bells and whistles. These are what set your property over the top when competing with large amounts of market inventory. Upgrading kitchens and baths with higher-end finishes such as granite counters, new upscale tile work, new wood style cabinets or stainless appliances can really give you an edge over the competition. Dated or low-end quality finishes such as old vinyl, older styled tile work, damaged and dingy Formica counters, dated colors on bathroom fixtures, damaged or weathered cabinets, or old style hardware and lighting materials can really turn today’s buyer away. Remember that first impressions are everything! Buyers LOVE those bells and whistles! Those extra finishes really go a long way.
Appeal to the Masses–
Stay away from personal preferences. While you may love a certain style or color, you may be limiting the buyers that will appreciate your home. It is very important to stay neutral with everything you do. If you go with the personal preferences for styles or colors you happen to love, remember that these may not appeal to the general masses. By focusing only on your taste, you risk doing more harm than good. While you might think something looks great, remember that you are selling the home and will not be living there anymore. Your goal should be to help your home appeal to as many buyers as possible. The last thing you want to do is spend a lot of time or money on something that might actually hurt your ability to sell.
Match the Level of Improvement to the Level of House–
Over improving is fine, if you want to risk losing some money- but never under-improve!
Do not upgrade something unless you are truly upgrading to a better product. Do not buy new products or items if the materials are now dated. Make sure you match the level of upgrade to the level of home. If you over-improve a home, you may not get the full money back out of it, but you will probably still help it sell faster than it’s completion. Consider the price range and market of the home before upgrading.
Never under-improve a property. If a home is a higher valued home, do not go with low quality finishes. The home will not match or exceed its competitive counterparts. A home that has been remodeled with lower-end finishes can be seen as a liablity to a buyer. This is because this buyer will now have to “un-do” what you have done to bring the home to standards. The new buyer will not appreciate what you have remodeled, and the time and money you have spent will go to waste.
Repair Maintenance Issues and Remove Signs of Past Property Damage Once Repaired–
Buyers see EVERYTHING! Sometimes buyers notice issues that you did not even know about.
Remember that a seller must disclose material defects in a property that the seller has knowledge of. If you know of a needed repair, it is in your best interest to fix it up front. It will soon be revealed by inspections as well. If you have any evidence of past issues that have already been remedied, but still show signs of damage, you should repair everything in its entirety. Evidence of water damage such as stains, can really spook a buyer with concerns of mold, further damage or issues with leaks. If you have gone to the trouble of repairing the water problem, why draw concern to something that is fixed? Fix everything you can completely and properly.
Do Those Household Chores You Hate–
Don’t skimp on cleanliness! The house must look good, and smell good. There are many different degrees of “cleanliness” amongst people. Go overboard! Buyers usually think the home shows a dirtier than the seller thinks it shows. Again, buyers see everything and are very critical. Make sure the home has all the clutter removed.The more cluttered a home is the smaller it will look. Beds should be made and dishes should not be left in the sink. It is also not enough to simply have everything picked up. The home should be dusted, the windows should be cleaned and the carpets must be vacuumed. Take out the trash! Sweep that garage. Mow that lawn!!! Make sure your front door is in great condition with no cobwebs or old peeling paint. How ever clean you “think” it may be, make it CLEANER!
Hire Professionals To Do Work–
Do not attempt to do projects or improvements unless you truly have the skills to do so. There is nothing worse and more dissapointing to a buyer, than a home that has been improved with wonderful quality upgrades, but terrible poor quality of work. Bad workmanship can negate any benefit an improvement can have. Homes upgraded improperly, are also seen as a liablity in the eyes of a buyer. Now the buyer will have to come up with a way to fix the bad workmanship, which often involves a lot of time and money. Even if you use very high-end products when remodeling, these will all go to waste, and money will be lost if you do not install them correctly. Also, do not try to finish a basement without permits, and without truly having the skill set. A bad unprofessionally finished basement is a major liablity to a buyer.
Don’t Overlook the Power of Smells–
Smells can make or break a sale and they often make a very strong first impression from the moment a buyer walks through the door. Remember, do not go overboard on masking any smells. A strong candle or air freshener odor permeating through the home, can be worse than some other smells or no smell at all. It also gives the impression that the seller is covering up another smell or trying to hide something. Unpleasant smells can make a buyer uncomfortable enough in a home to walk in and walk-out, regardless of how nice it may look. This really is an important thing to consider. Again, smoke smells, food smells or pet smells are very hard for most buyers to get past. You may need to consider new carpet (with sealed floorboards) or paint, just to remove a smell. This really can be the difference between being able to sell your property or not.
No buyer can imagine living in a home they are not comfortable standing in for 10 minutes due to a bad smell.
Depersonalize The Home–
Now is the time for the buyer to see this as their home, not yours!
Remove items that personalize your home. This includes all the nick knacks and extraneous objects that may be laying around the home. You may consider these type of items decorative, however they will always distract a buyer from seeing themselves and their personal style in the home. If the home feels too much like “you” to that buyer, it is hard to imagine “them” living there. Again, clutter also only makes things look dirtier and smaller. This includes pictures, candles, excessive plants and books. Remember, buyers can also be very judgemental. Let them focus on the house, not your personal taste or lifestyle.
Consider Staging or Redecorating–
Staging a home properly can really make a difference. Professional stagers can help rooms look bigger, and homes feel more inviting. Buyers can have a difficult time envisioning furniture in vacant homes. Remember, connecting to a home is an emotional decision for a buyer. Vacant homes can have a “sad feeling”. Vacant homes also draw attention to every little defect because they are so easy to see. Lastly, a vacant home can also give a buyer the impression that the seller may be more motivated to sell. This can impact that buyer’s offer in a negative way.
Do Not Attend Showings and Remove Pets When Possible–
As stated before, the key element to buyers feeling that emotional connection to your home, is that they are actually able to see themselves living there-not you. They need to be alone so they can feel comfortable to look at everything. They need to be relaxed and take the time to truly see themselves living there. Remove pets when you can. Some buyers will either be scared or distracted by pets. Also, if you are home, the buyer may be tempted to start asking you a lot of questions. This always leads to forced answers by you, that might reveal motivating factors about your move. If a buyer has an opportunity to now know something specific about your key motivating factors for the move, this could again impact their offer. Lastly, buyers are constantly extrapolating impressions of you and your life in that home. These impressions can also effect what offer they make or it can distract them from the home. Again, let them focus on the house, rather than their personal impressions of you.
Do not jump into things without seeking professional help from someone who knows what the current trends are, and what the market might expect. It is a great idea to contact a real estate agent before jumping into large scale projects.