Getting your DC area home to go on the market may take more time then you realize. It all depends on the current condition of your home. When I tour your home for the first time, I will be taking note of how buyers might perceive it. Then, I will devise a list of tailored recommendations that will increase the marketability of your home. My goal is always to attract the most buyer showings and increase their level of interest.
Here are some basic tips to keep in mind when preparing your home for sale. But please note that each home is different and may require more or less preparation to be open-house ready.
Cleaning and decluttering your home are the most important things you can do to make your home show in its best light. This seems simple enough, but I've learned that "clean" means different things to different people.
Obviously, toys, clothes, and miscellaneous items should be put away or otherwise disposed of. Floors should be cleared of piles. Countertops, dresser tops and sinks should be spotless and bare. Carpets should be shampooed. The entire house should be dusted and disinfected from top to bottom, including baseboards, window blinds, the insides of light fixtures, and especially bathrooms. If you can't imagine doing all of this yourself, you're not alone. I'll be happy to recommend a good cleaning person (or three) to help get your home in sparkling clean shape!
Most people don't realize how much stuff they've accumulated over the years. Buyers won't be able to imagine themselves living in your home if they can't really see your home. Repeat after me, "less is more."
As a general rule, having lots of furniture or extra-large furniture in your home will make it appear smaller. This is not the impression that you want to leave with potential buyers. Any visitor to your home should be able to clearly see its best features. To accomplish this, some furniture and/or other items might have to be put in storage or otherwise removed from your home. I am happy to provide guidance on what should stay and what should go. Arranging for storage of items you want to keep and pick up by a charity or bulk trash dept. is fairly easy to do. You'll be surprised by how light you feel once some of those items are gone.
Now's the time to repair all the things you've been meaning to fix around the house. Check the roof and make any necessary repairs. Clean the gutters. Have the systems cleaned and serviced (furnace, AC). Fix any leaks. Repair or replace non-working appliances. Check seals around doors and windows and caulk where necessary. Regrout bathroom tiles. Replace missing light bulbs and screws in switch plates Make sure everything works that is suppose to. These details seem small, but can have an outsized impact on an interested buyer whose home inspecton results will either make them feel good about moving forward or uneasy.
The standard advice for home sellers has always been "paint the walls beige, and remove all personal photos and items." This is not my philosophy. I think it's great to show a little personality in your home -- but don't go crazy. Today, a neutral color can be beige, blue, green, yellow, or gray. It's all about the intensity and brightness of the color. It's also wise to choose no more than 2 or 3 complimentary colors for the entire home. Bright white window and door trim always looks clean and crisp. Furniture should be fairly sparce, and organized in ways to complement the home's layout and design. Framed art on the walls is a plus -- but stay away from nudes and controversial subjects. A few personal photos on a shelf or night stand is perfectly fine. All of these things give your house the feeling of a home.
Most buyers focus on tangible attributes when looking for a home. 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, check. Parking, check. A front porch and basement, check, check. Sometimes a house has everything a buyer says she is looking for. It's a perfectly fine house, but it doesn't move them. What makes a buyer fall in love with a home is how it makes them feel. Can they picture themselves preparing a meal for family and friends in your kitchen? Does the family room window seat overlooking the backyard look like the perfect place to read the Sunday paper. A few personal touches can help create this feeling for buyers, and I encourage it. The key is moderation.
First impressions are often lasting impressions. I've had buyer clients refuse to get out of my car at a scheduled showing because of the home's lack of curb appeal. Don't underestimate the importance of landscaping when putting your home on the market. Nice, tidy front and rear yards will make your home even more attractive to buyers.
Unless you're got a green thumb and lots of time on your hands, my advice is to keep it simple. In the front and rear yards trim any overgrown bushes or hedges. Mow the lawn and keep it mowed. Plant colorful annuals, mulch heavily, and keep it watered. Add potted or hanging plants in colorful planters to your porch living space. Make needed repairs to your patio or deck. Clean and display outdoor furniture in appropriate weather. Paint and/or repair any fencing and don't forget the garage door. Purchase attractive outdoor mats for each exit of your home. Hang a colorful flag out front that says "Welcome."
Potential buyers will start forming opinions about your home the moment they pull up in front. All of the beautiful work you've done on the inside of your home (see above) should be reflected outside as well. It's all about creating that feeling we talked about.
At the end of this process you may not want to move out! Seriously though, if you do these things, and with the right representation, your home will sell in any market. People always need a place to live and owning your own home is part of the American dream. As a member of your team, my goal is the same as yours; to get the highest price for your property as quickly as possible. If you do your part (see long list above) I'll take care of the rest. Please give me a call (202) 309-0146 or contact me by email (firstname.lastname@example.org) to find out how much your home is worth and what you can specifically do to increase its market value.
I love living, working and playing in the Washington DC area and will be a true advocate for you before, during, and after your home purchase. Whether you are looking at a home, rowhouse or luxury condo anywhere in the Bethesda MD real estate area, you can be sure your needs will be met and your requirements for a home taken as my top priority. It really pays to have someone who knows the area.
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