Make a great first impression...
Basically, just use common sense. Remember that everyone has his or her own style. You're not trying to impress with your particular brand of décor. Rather, you're trying to present a simple, clean, attractive home that exudes potential—an empty, yet enticing, palette for your home's next owners.
- Stay on top of your lawn mowing and maintenance and tidy up your front landscaping.
- Plop a new, colorful welcome mat in front of the door.
- Embellish your door area with a nice, big potted plant to the side of the front door.
- Slap a fresh coat of paint on your door.
- Move all the toys, bicycles, and scooters away from the front of the house.
- Clean all your windows until they're sparkling.
- Invest in a new doorknob and lock—this will jazz up your door and provide greater security.
- Make sure your street numerals are polished and in place. Or, invest in a nice new set that stands out among your neighbors' standard numerals.
- Repair any loose shingles—the last thing a potential buyer wants to worry about is the roof.
- Paint, clean, and/or repair your gutters.
- Once the exterior wows your potential buyers, you'll need to continue to make an impact on them when they make their way inside. You can almost think of it as preparing for a formal dinner party. For starters, you can:
- Remove all the clutter - make sure kitchen and bathroom countertops are as clear as possible, try to keep toys organized in closets and shelves, temporarily remove any excess knickknacks or family photos if you tend to have a lot.
- Hang fresh clean towels in the bathrooms.
- Touch up your paint if your walls have a few rough spots. You probably already have the extra paint sitting in your garage.
- Vacuum your floor each morning. You may also want to think about getting your carpets clean before potential buyers view your house.
- Make sure all your faucets are drip-free.
- Replace any nonfunctioning bulbs in your light fixtures and vanities.
- Thoroughly clean all your appliances, including the inside of your oven and microwave.
- Place a beautiful centerpiece in the center of your dining room table.
- Eliminate odors as much as possible—place potpourri in the bathrooms, use air freshener and deodorizer, especially if you have indoor pets or there's a smoker in the house.
- Let the light in—open all your blinds and curtains. If your house's natural light leaves some rooms dark during certain portions of the day, turn on the lights if you know your house may be shown that day. If you have any decorative or track lighting, be sure it is on.
- If you have too much furniture, place some of it in storage.
- Add some final touches, a couple of fresh bouquets of flowers and some nice potted plants in decorative containers can do wonders.
Avoid costly mistakes when selling your home…
Mistake 1: Putting the home on the market before it's ready. Most times this happens because the seller gets impatient or is a procrastinator and has pushed himself up against a moving deadline without getting the pre-sale work done. So it comes on the market with the horrible carpet (that gets replaced during the marketing of the home); or they are painting it while it goes on the market. Presentation is everything -- so get the work done before marketing the property.
Mistake 2: Over improving the home for the neighborhood. This happens with additions, bump outs, and upgrades that make the home stick out from among its competitors so much that it's an anomaly, instead of a nice addition to the community.
Mistake 3: Pricing the home based on what the seller wants to net. This pricing strategy always ends in failure. Sellers can control the "asking" price, but they don't control the "sales" price. The market does. It doesn't matter what the seller wants, the price is determined by the black-and-white, matter-of-fact reality of the market.
Mistake 4: Hiring an agent based on non-business factors. Make sure you're hiring a professional with a proven track record. It might be nice to hand over your largest asset to your nephew who just got his license -- but make sure he has a mentor to keep your deal from going south.
Mistake 5: Getting emotionally involved in the sale of the home. This is one of the biggest challenges home sellers face when putting their house on the market. Once you decide to sell your house, it's no longer a home, but a commodity. It needs to be prepared as a commodity, marketed as a commodity, and priced as a commodity. It doesn't matter what you "want," only what the market can bear on pricing. People are going to come in to kick the tires, so to speak, and you can't get emotional about how they may or may not appreciate the nuances of your home of seven years.
Mistake 6: Trying to cover up problems, or not disclosing them. Florida has a property disclosure/disclaimer form -- use it wisely. Just because you disclaim doesn't mean you cannot be sued later for the leaky plumbing, or dilapidated heating/air system that's discovered 30 days after settlement.
Mistake 7: Not getting your ducks lined up before trying to sell. This would involve financing, reading the fine print on your current mortgage to ensure no pre-payment penalties, not listening to the particulars of your local market, etc. If your local market is dictating lower home prices, schedule realistic, consistent price reductions to remain current with the market values. A timely price reduction will save you money in the long run. If the local market dictates selling your home first, then buying second, do it in that order, or vice versa.
Avoiding these mistakes is not that difficult. There are plenty of resources (like this publication) and professionals, who are there to help you step over the pitfalls. Do the research early, and listen to that voice in your head (it's probably the whispers of the finance, real estate, insurance person who's warning you of a hole you're about to step into). Sell well.
Costly mistakes of sellers prepared by Realty Times.