We’ve all heard the “curb appeal” buzz phrase. Supposedly, curb appeal is what makes buyers stop in their tracks and write up an offer on the spot! But the small touches that really help with selling a house can’t always be seen from the driveway.
When you’re putting a house on the market, there are several things you can do to make your property attractive to buyers—which ideally will lead to a quick and easy sale. Here are some steps you may not have thought of that will show your house off to its best advantage.
Sometimes, looks are everything
Selling a house can be a chaotic process, but it shouldn’t look chaotic if you can help it. Buyers have an easier time visualizing themselves in a home when it is a clean slate. That means you want to take your personal stamp off it as much as possible.
Remember, you’re marketing your house, not yourself. Put your personal items into storage if you can, including any political signs you might have in the yard. The smell of your home should be pleasantly neutral, so opt for a professional carpet cleaning or an inexpensive room shocker instead of relying on loudly scented candles or sprays.
If you have pets, minimize their presence for showings. Crates, litter boxes, and chew toys should be neatly tucked away. Make sure that you open curtains to let in lots of light and close your cabinets and toilet seats when potential buyers are coming over.
Smart advertising goes a long way
Follow your REALTOR®’s lead when it comes to marketing your property. They know what buyers in your area are looking for! Share their social media posts rather than making your own, since they know how to abide by Fair Housing Advertising requirements.
Most importantly, make sure you use good real estate photography for your listing. Your photography will be the first thing most buyers see about the property, so it needs to make a great impression. Don’t rush the photos to get your property on the market faster—it’s better to wait an extra week to get quality listing images than to put out unattractive photos and advertise more quickly. It doesn’t matter if your house looks great in person if people don’t come to see it after looking at the photos!
Fix what needs fixing
It doesn’t sound like any fun to fix up a house you’re about to vacate, but it does make a difference in the selling process. Make smart fixes: throw on a fresh coat of neutral paint or finally stop that leak under the sink you’ve been ignoring for ages. Your agent will be able to tell you which fixes will benefit you and which ones aren’t necessarily worth the spend.
As with staging and showing, it’s important that you fix to sell, not necessarily to please yourself. Go neutral whenever possible and save the personal flare for your next house!
Before you start, look at the requirements for different types of loans your buyers might use. If your house can meet the requirements for several loan types, more buyers will be able to make an offer.
Price competitively, but keep it realistic
It’s easy to get caught up in the emotion of selling a house you’ve made into a home. You may even have put money into renovations over time, and want to see a return on those investments.
This is where using a REALTOR® will make a big difference over trying to sell your home alone. Your REALTOR® will look for similar properties that have sold recently (called comps) to find a reasonable listing price. Although you may have had a different number in your head, remember that a lower price will encourage more bids, which could yield a better offer in the end.
An overpriced listing is a common mistake many sellers make that can cost months of their time and add unnecessary stress to the process. Overpricing with the expectation of a lower offer could cause buyers who are just under the listing price range not to even see your property in their searches. It could also cause your property to sit on the market for longer, leading to decreased interest.
Be wary of any number you see on self-listing sites like Trulia or Zillow. Those prices don’t take into account many of the things your REALTOR® will.
Practice good home showing etiquette
Showings are a time for buyers to ask questions of their agents and picture themselves as the homeowners of the property. Having the seller on-site can stifle the magic to a certain extent, which is why most agents recommend that sellers leave the house during a showing.
You can prepare your home—and yourself—for great showings in a few ways:
- Prepare for a busy showing schedule. Get the staging done as much as possible before you put your house on the market so you won’t be scrambling to deep clean at the last minute.
- Make a plan for last-minute showings. Know where you’ll go and which areas of your home should get a quick touch-up on your way out the door.
- Consider temporarily removing or turning off your security cameras. There may be laws against recording without permission in your area, and buyers expect a certain amount of privacy to talk with their agent.
Although you definitely want the “wow factor” when buyers drive up to your home, sometimes the subtler touches are the ones that win them over. Your agent will be a great resource as you decide which repairs to take on and what price to list at.
Buyers will remember how they felt in the house just as much as what it looked like, so focus on making your home look, smell, and feel like a clean slate. If your buyer can picture him or herself living in the house, you’ve done your job!