Less is More –– De-Clutter, De-Personalize & Stow Away: One reason why buyers often think they want new construction is because they like the idea of a clean-slate. We all collect an amazing amount of stuff; getting rid of it now will make your move easier. Think of a furniture showroom and try to minimize your personal effects. Buyers have a hard time seeing past personal photographs and heirlooms and often are distracted by them. Almost every home shows better with less furniture. Leave just enough furniture in each room to show its purpose and plenty of room for buyers to move around. Remove extra leaves from your dining room table to make the room appear larger. A friend of mine used to say to sellers “every trip to the dump is another $1,000 in your pocket.”
Check for Open Construction Permits: All open permits will need to be closed to convey title to your buyers. This is a relatively new regulation; even if you haven’t taken any permits out, the previous owners may have. Go to your Town Hall or let me check for open permits on your behalf.
Underground Oil Tanks: If oil was ever used to heat your home, you may have an underground oil tank on your property. In the not-so-distant past, it was the norm to “properly abandon” tanks by filling them with sand and leaving them in the ground. Abandoned tanks are no longer accepted by buyers (and their attorneys) and sellers should be prepared have any tanks on their property removed. If you have a working oil tank to heat your home, buyers will be testing it to make sure it is not leaking. Make sure to have tank insurance with your oil provider just in case there is an issue. Many oil companies will pay to have in-ground tanks moved to your basement as part of their policy.
Know Your Mortgage Balances: This includes any home equity lines of credit, too. Upon closing, all liens tied to the property will have to be paid off. If you have questions, ask me, your mortgage lender or financial advisor.
Staging – A Must In Today’s Market: Web appeal is the new curb appeal – you don’t want buyers to think, “I wonder who lives here?” You want buyers to say: “I can see myself living here.” I am happy to offer my staging advice. In many circumstances, my professional stagers will do a complimentary consultation to help your home make the right statement. These staging pictures show the difference––which home would you want to see?
If you are looking to get started a little early, I recommend hiring a painter to patch and touch-up areas. Consider painting your walls neutral colors, especially if you have busy wallpaper or brightly colored rooms.
Worn bedspreads and towels are best replaced––this is a win-win. Once you have sold your current house, you’ll have fresh linens for your new home and buyers will have “bought them for you” by bidding more on your current property than they would have if it had been filled with dated possessions.
Replace Items You Intend to Keep: If you want to take certain items with you, remove them now. If your dining room chandelier means something special to you––take it down and put up a different one. Once you tell a buyer they can’t have a particular piece, they may covet it. Pack up those beloved items and I can help you replace them, if necessary.
Make Minor Repairs: Don’t try to change too much without consulting me, but fixing obvious items ahead of time like leaking faucets will avoid buyers trying to negotiate the price based on minor Home Inspection issues. We don’t want buyers to remember your home as “the house with the broken railing.”
Let’s Make Your House Sparkle! If you don’t have a cleaning service, I can provide a number of great ones. Professionally washed windows also make a huge difference. Buyers will notice cobwebs in your home, even if they don’t in their own homes. Re-caulk tubs, showers and sinks and polish chrome faucets. Clean and air out any musty areas––think how you react to homes that have a strong scent. Buyers are often skeptics and may suspect mold issues. A good airing-out goes a long way!
Make it BRIGHT: What a difference a few extra lights make and, be sure all lights are ON during showings. Yes, your electric bill will suffer in the short-run, but if you keep your home lit up, your showing period be over quickly and offers will be higher than if seen in low-light.
Professional Photography: If you are thinking about selling in the winter months, let’s plan ahead –– my photographer can take some shots of your home when the trees are all leafed out. These greener pictures will both appeal to buyers and make your house stand apart from the competition. If you didn’t plan ahead, fear not –– you will be in good company. I can have great professional pictures taken in any season.
Actual Curb Appeal: While the internet is now your “first showing,” pictures can be, and often are, touched up. If a buyer does’t like the exterior of your home, they won’t buy it. Go outside and see if the house looks welcoming to you? Painting faded window and door trim makes a difference. Examine the front path and steps. In Winter, keep sidewalks and paths shoveled. In Spring, plant flowers or group flower pots together –– yellow has been rumored to evoke a buying emotion.
My pre-listing consultations are free of charge and no obligation. The busy selling season runs from January through mid-August, so if you are even thinking about moving, it’s not too early to meet to and strategize.
Contact Elizabeth Winterbottom Team to Start Your Selling Process