• Michelle McDowell

Getting your home ready to sell

Living in a house is like dating. You meet someone, you fall in love and you give the relationship you’re your time and energy until you realize it’s not the one anymore. Maybe it’s because you’re changing jobs or maybe it’s because you want to move closer to your mother but whatever the reason you want to get top dollar for your home. There are a few things you can do to make buyers imagine themselves living in your house.

If you have the money neutral paint and some quick fixes can go a long way. If not there’s still some things that are nearly cost free that will give your home a fresh look.

First, is it spotless? Sometimes we don’t see the cob webs or dirty window sills after we’ve been in our homes for a while. It might be a good idea to hire someone to come in and clean or, at the very least, get a friend or your agent to come in and look at your house with a fresh set of eyes and point out the things you may have missed.

When I was young my mom said take one piece of jewelry off before leaving the house, so you don’t go out wearing too much. Well, the same is true for your rooms. I’d, however, look at 10 – 20 things. Start with removing all the personal photos. People don’t want to see your family in the house. They want to see themselves there. Shelves should be almost empty and the things you leave should make sense in the room. That statue little Johnny made you in 3rd grade holds sentimental value of course but other people just view it as clutter. Take appliances off the counters, put away the family albums and tuck away the dog bowls. Clear toilet bowl brushes, shampoos and soaps. If there are cords hanging from things pull them and tuck them up and out of the way.

Now, take those bare rooms and add pops of colors and a few vignettes that make people see themselves curling up with a cup of coffee or reading a book. A throw strategically tossed over the arm of a chair with an antique book gives a cozy feel. If all of the counters and cupboards are white, bring in a pop of color with a floral arrangement. It can add something without looking messy. Put a bed tray on the bed with a pretty tea cup and place setting on it. Place a bottle of wine and a few glasses by the hot tub.

Open the curtains and turn on every light. Every light. This isn’t the time to worry about saving electricity. If your house is light and bright it looks cleaner and feels more open.

Pay attention to smells. Gone are the days when people walk into a house and are glad it smells like Pine Sol. A batch of fresh baked cookies is enough. Avoid the heavy flowery smells or people will wonder what you’re covering up. Instead, opt for placing fresh flowers in the house or use a wax melter to add a more natural cinnamon or pumpkin pie smell. With scents, a little goes a long way.

Take a good look at your furniture. If some pieces are over-sized or blocking the smooth flow from room to room remove them. When you do this keep your photographer in mind. They are going to want a clear shot of beautiful views out the windows and relationships between rooms.

Pack away some of your clothing. Overstuffed closets make it look as though you don’t have enough room for storage.

Finally, go stand in front of your house. Add a few plants to the porch. Mow your lawn, weed the gardens and sweep your walk. Curb appeal is your buyer’s first impression and can set the mood for the entire visit.

The balance says a well-staged home can bring a 7 to 10 percent higher price. That means, if your selling a $400,000 home, you could have an extra $28,000 to $40,000 in your pocket. Now it’s time to list your home!

Next week is one for the agents out there. Now that the home looks picture perfect, how do we get you looking your best for your cards and your web site?


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Phone: 206.383.9226

Email: michellemcdowell@comcast.net