We could go on and on about home staging or inexpensive home improvements or repairs or the newest and greatest marketing tool that will help you sell your house quicker. The biggest tip I can give you though is to price your property correctly if you want to sell it.
There is a tremendous amount of property for sale in the Lakes Region of New Hampshire right now. There are not a lot of buyers. Competition is tough in each and every price range. Whether your home is an average everyday home, a water access property, a vacation retreat, or a luxury Lake Winnipesaukee, waterfront home, buyers are shopping for value. They are taking notes, studying, and comparing many, many properties before deciding on which one to buy. Listen carefully to your REALTOR® about the recommended pricing, look at the comparable New Hampshire and Lakes Region sales, and price your home correctly. After you take this Biggest Tip to heart, here are a few steps that will help move things along.
THE FIRST STEP
The first step that you need to take after you have placed your home in the hands of a competent, licensed, professional Lakes Region REALTOR® is to try and disassociate yourself from your home on a personal level. You have to think of selling you home as a business transaction. Nothing more. You need to think about your home as merchandise that you must sell and think about the things you can do to make it more appealing to Lakes Region buyers. Set aside an hour or so and take an objective look at your property inside and out.
THE SECOND STEP
After you’ve had a chance to step back and look at your property closely, give some real thought as to how it compares with other homes in the Lakes Region, your town, or to homes you see in magazines and on TV. Look at your home through a buyer’s eyes and you may see lots of areas for improving the appeal of your property. Your REALTOR® probably has already made some suggestions on things that he noticed that you can easily do to make your home ready to sell. You will want to make a written list of things that need improvement or repairing.
THE THIRD STEP
It really doesn’t matter whether you start inside or out, but since buyers are going to see the exterior and yard of your home first you could start outside, but get going because you could have a lot inside to do, too. Curb appeal is ever so important for getting people to come inside to see the rest. If it looks like the Beverly Hillbillies on the outside buyers aren’t likely to go inside. Although, you know, Jed’s place was pretty nice.
Here are some things that should be up to snuff on the outside:
- Make sure the lawn is mowed and leaves are raked
- Trim the bushes
- Re-mulch and weed the flower gardens
- Plant a few more flowers to add some more color
- Put some potted plants or bright flowers on the porch or deck
- Pick up all the kids toys (or your toys) & put them in the garage (neatly)
- While you’re in the garage, organize it and clean it. Make sure your garbage cans are neatly stowed away (or at least have their lids on)
- Clean your vinyl siding if necessary
- Paint or touch-up the exterior siding and trim if it needs it
- Make sure the decks or porches are clean and neat. An untreated deck tells a buyer that other home maintenance chores have been left undone as well
- Wash the windows
- Clean your gutters
- Clean the patio furniture
- Consider putting in some inexpensive yard lighting—makes the house look great when your buyer drive by after dark
- Replace worn or tarnished house numbers or lighting
- Put up a new shiny mailbox
- Make sure the snow is removed from walkways, deck, and driveway in the winter
- Get rid of any debris or junk in the yard (including that rusty ’53 Chevrolet pickup truck that you have been planning to fix for years)
THE FOURTH STEP
After completing the tasks you found necessary on the outside you need to tackle the inside in the same manner. First impressions are everything when it comes to buying a home. You must make a good one. Open the front door of your home and look inside and view it as a buyer seeing it for the first time. Is it inviting? Is it cluttered? Is it neat and clean? Is it bright or dark? What would make it look nicer or more appealing? If you want to sell at any price, your home needs to sizzle!
Here’s a list of things you can do to get it cooking:
- Clean, clean, and clean. Everything and everywhere you can and can’t see. Buyers are turned off by dirty houses. And despite what some people think, halfway clean is not clean. Wash your windows, polish the fixtures, clean the fridge, wash and wax the floors, shampoo your carpets, clean the grout or re-grout if necessary, clean the tub and shower and re-caulk if necessary, dust and polish the furniture, vacuum daily. I think you get the idea. Clean!
- Declutter. Get rid off knick-knacks, paddywacks, and the dog’s bones. Get rid of boxes, books, magazines, toys, your seashell collection, the old drum set, and that exercise equipment that you use for a clothes rack. Everything that you don’t really need, box up, and put it in storage. Same goes for having too much furniture in the room. Getting rid of a few large pieces will make that room feel much larger.
- Clean off kitchen and bathroom counters. The kitchen will appear to have more counter space and nobody really wants to look at your cosmetics, shaving cream, or deodorants.
- Organize your closets so that when buyers open the door things don’t fall out. Get rid of those coats and those old filthy boots you haven’t worn for five years.
- Look at your walls and trim work. If they look drab and dull put on a coat of a nice, pleasant neutral color. Painting the inside of a home is probably the cheapest thing you can do to make your home look newer and sell faster. Orange, bright blue, violet, and lime green are not acceptable colors here. If you have a hole in the wall, are missing trim, or have a stain on the ceiling, fix it.
- Fix cracked or broken tiles, windows, leaky faucets, light switches, garbage disposals, ceiling fans, or anything else that doesn’t work.
- Put fresh towels in the bathroom and new linen on the beds.
- Put some fresh flowers or plants around the house for some added color and appeal. No, no plastic.
Once you’ve cleaned your home thoroughly inside and out and have completed repairs and tasks that you originally assigned yourself, take another long look at your home. Stand at the street and take a look at your home and see if your home looks appealing. If you think someone else lives there, you probably did a good job. Congratulations, you are one step closer to selling your house!
Now go into that stranger’s house and look objectively at each room to see if it is clean, organized, inviting, and comfortable. If you feel that you really would buy this home for the price that you are asking, then you probably did a pretty good job. That is, of course, unless there really is a stranger sitting in the living room. You should then go back outside and check that shiny new street number you put up to make sure you are in the right house.
Congratulations, you are one step closer to selling your house!