Is Your Home Ready for Its Market Debut?

Robin Fenchel February 22, 2012

If you’ve watched Sabrina Soto on HGTV’s “Get It Sold”, you know that she takes a home that’s been languishing on the market, makes some changes, rearranges, spruces it up, stages it, and it sells… Even if you haven’t watched the program, a home that is well presented will sell faster.

Take a good look at your home… Is it ready for its debut–it’s entrance–in our current Buyer’s market? Would you buy it if it was for sale? In today’s market, it needs to stand out among the inventory. If not…

Here are some low-cost ideas:

  • The Brush-Off: Freshly painted interior and exterior walls in neutral colors are appealing, and tell the prospective buyer that your home has been well maintained. Call your Home Owner’s Association (if you have one) for exterior paint brands and colors. There are several “green” paints–low Volatile Organic Compounds or VOC’s available for interior paint.
  • A Place for Everything: Remove clutter from exterior and interior stairways, bedrooms, kitchen and bathroom counters. Observe the one-appliance kitchen rule: just one on the counter, whether it’s your coffeepot, toaster, or food processor. This says there is plenty of cupboard and counter space.
  • Counter Proposal: Your kitchen should sparkle and give the impression of plenty of working space. Be sure the faucets don’t drip, and the built-in appliances work.
  • It Makes Scents: Borrow a friend’s bread maker if you don’t have one. The smell of fresh bread is almost irresistible, and gives a warm welcome. Do not use floral room sprays; they make the buyer wonder what you’re trying to cover up.
  • Take a Powder: Put away shavers, makeup, curling irons, hair dryers, etc. Shine bathroom tubs, sinks, fixtures, and mirrors, and put out fresh towels. The caulking around the tub/shower and grout around tiles should be free of cracks and dirt. A good way to clean the caulk is with a toothbrush and liquid sink cleaner.
  • Plenty of Hang-ups: Neat and orderly closets reveal plenty of storage space is available. Dispose of unwanted or unneeded clothing to a favorite charity. Store boxes of files, holiday decorations, etc. in the garage or at a storage facility.
  • Beauty by the Yard: Make a great first impression by having the lawn neatly mowed and edged, flowers planted (especially fragrant ones), bushes trimmed, and the yard of free of garden tools and toys (swing sets excepted).
  • Doing your Homework: You will rarely recoup the dollars invested in major home improvements just prior to selling your home. Exceptions: upgraded kitchens and baths.
  • Take a Good Look at Yourself: Would you buy your home if it was for sale? If not, use these low cost investments that will return greater dividends.

The key to selling your home in a reasonable time frame and maximizing your sales price, especially in today’s market where there are many homes from which to choose, is to prepare your home for sale before its debut. Remove the clutter, the personal effects and paint the walls in neutral colors. Create an environment that can suit many buyer’s tastes. By depersonalizing your home, buyers will visualize your home as their home, and it will be as good as sold.

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