As the new year arrives, so should a flurry of homes that have been waiting out the traditionally slow holiday season. If your home is one of them, I hope you took advantage of the last thirty days to get your home ready for the real real estate market.
But if you are just now starting to plan to put your home on the market, then bank-in thirty days to get it ready for a fickle marketplace where picky buyers are looking for a well priced, well appointed and cared-for home. Here are some tips that I have given some Vienna Virginia home sellers over the past thirty days.
Here are some ideas to help get you started…
- Start thinking like a Home Shopper: Take a look at homes for sale in your community (or where you would really like to live) using the Internet, and carefully take the time to look at the photos. Compare one house to another and consider which one you would buy, if you were buying. Maybe you should see what apps home shoppers are using right now, click here.
- Put together a list of projects: Project lists are never final but you should be able to list ten things that need changing, finishing, or well cleaned.
- The Big Purge: You are not alone in you accumulation of “stuff”, but Home Shoppers don’t want to see the stuff that you haven’t used in the past six months. Box it up, sell it on Craig’s List, rent a storage space or donate it to charity – but let it go.
- Walls and Carpets: Painting may be a priority because 99% of your target market isn’t going to like that tangerine living room or royal blue kitchen. Don’t go with the school of painting everything white… pick up a catalog or magazine and examine how those rooms are painted for current color ideas, and call a professional painter. Wall to wall carpets need to be professionally cleaned or replaced after painting has been done.
- Update your light fixtures: After you have done this project, you might kick yourself for not doing it a long time ago. Entry foyers, walk-in closets, hallways, bathrooms should all be considered. More on this topic…
- Clean Hardwood Floors: Some hardwood floors may need professional attention, but you should start with cleaning/restoring conditioner found at Lowes or Home Depot.
- Go to the Bathroom: Okay, take a look at your bathrooms. These need to be spotless (free of your stuff) and ultimately look like a mini spa with fresh towels etc. Consider new faucets, shower heads, toilet seats and light fixtures.
- Focus on your Kitchen:
You can’t go wrong improving your kitchen and sometimes a remodel is the only option, but start with an examination of your existing appliances, clean out the fridge (sorry, no old Chinese food containers), and eliminate items on the counters and in the cabinets.
- Light Bulbs: Having the proper bulb in a fixture is essential, so you need to see what is working and replace with the appropriate bulb. Please know that recessed light fixtures need recessed light bulbs called indoor flood lights (no traditional 60 watters or CFL’s).
- Plan for Curb Appeal: You will need to adjust for the season, but remember that first impressions are made quickly and if there are old newspapers in the driveway, pumpkins in February, or signs that state “No Trespassin’” then know that you have one strike against you.
- Consult a Real Estate Agent: It is best if you have already signed a listing agreement because the agent will be able to give you many recommendations and then a consultation with a Home Stager for staging ideas. In my business, I like to put together a to-do list first for client’s to complete, and then call in my Home Stager. I do it that way so she can focus on the design element rather than your piles of laundry.
Understanding how real estate is marketed to today’s home buyers is essential because they start their searching online 90% of the time. In fact, home buyers have probably been watching the market for the last three months and know more about it than you. If you want to read more about how I work with clients in those critical 30 days and how I sell real estate in Northern Virginia to appeal to the limited number of home buyers in the market, to help my clients actually sell their homes.
- Understanding inventory pressure (dougfrancis.com)