TEN STEPS TO PREPARING YOUR HOME FOR ITS FIRST OPEN HOUSE
When you have decided to put your house on the market, it’s important to remember it takes preparation to get your property for the market. You are selling a product at the end of the day and you need your product to be attractive to the mass market. The more buyers that can visualize themselves living in your home the greater the chance of high priced sale. Here are ten steps to prepare any home for its first debut on the open market:
- Clear out everything (if you are not living there) or “de-clutter” (if you plan to live there during showings. If you are going to live in the house while your agent does open houses and showings, put anything personal in storage. When buyers walk into a home they are looking to buy for themselves they do not want to see you family photos and evidence of you. They want to envision themselves bringing their toothbrush and calling it home.
- Have your contractor freshen up the home. No matter how well you take care of your home, there is always normal wear and tear on a lived in property. Have your contractor or handyman do touch ups to the house such as changing light-bulbs, fixing dings in the walls, fixing that leaky faucet, etc. People want to move into a problem free home, not a project they have to work on after they spent their life savings.
- Repaint the entire house/re-carpet if you have carpet. Most people believe this is for the next owner to do since they will put their “personal touch” on this house, and this is true. However, the value of your house will be higher with fresh painted walls and new carpet, even it is cheap and plain white. The new owner will probably re-do it anyway, but you will most likely get a higher offer just from these simple fixes.
- Stage the house. If you are not living there, or have the ability to put your belongings in storage – it is always a great idea to stage the home. Yes, staging costs money but the results will put your property in top-notch marketing condition. Staging by a designer is the best way to let buyers visualize the home as a place of their own. It’s like walking into a hotel room, you forget other people have been living there and you believe it is a space just for you.
- Make the home more marketable. Do you have art in the house that screams you? Store art, furniture, or any items that may make the mass market remember that this is YOUR house. As stated before, the goal here is to let anyone who walks into the home the ability to visualize themselves living there. You do not want your property to look like a museum of you.
- Landscape the front and backyard. Curb appeal is a big deal. It is the first impression a home has on a buyer. Just like people, we judge a house in the first 15 seconds – and that is usually from the street. It is a good idea to spend some money or sprucing up the front yard and making the backyard look inviting. You do not have to spend a lot, just enough to make it look clean and fresh. Succulents are great for low-maintenance in Southern California.
- Get a maid. You need a deep clean of the house just before the first showing. After moving items, fixing up house, landscaping, and staging the house will be dirty. Make sure everything is cleaned ceiling to floor especially the windows, sinks, counter-tops, and molding.
- Wash down the driveway and decks. For photos and open houses, wash down all the flat service areas. It makes it look clean and beautiful, and it’s a super easy step.
- Last minute touch ups. Just before the first person walks in make sure to flush all the toilets and put the seat covers down. Go throughout the house and fluff all the pillows so it looks like no one has ever been there. Put on some nice music in the background so it feels warm and inviting in the house, and gives people the feeling they can talk without everyone hearing them gossip about the house.
- The last little touch. Even though you have made the home feel like no one has ever lived there before, buyers still like a little human touch. Light a few candles around the house, especially in the kitchen. Baking scented candles like gingerbread or cookies in the kitchen gives the feeling of home – like someone is baking fresh cookies! Always remember to blow out the candles after the open house and even set up a reminder on your phone so you do not forget.
Now your home is ready!