Updated April 5, 2018.
Published Nov. 1, 2017.
Make it as easy for buyers to envision your home as their home.
Preparing your home for the market means making repairs and general sprucing-up — but also making it easy for potential buyers to imagine their happy lives there.
Before you show your home to buyers, put yourself in their shoes, advises Sara Ramirez, a Realtor® at Century 21. Look at your home with a critical eye.
Walk through your home and property, clipboard in hand, recording problems you'd notice if you were shopping. That garage workspace full of dust and empty containers? That door missing a hinge? The lawn you haven't mowed? It's time to make them presentable.
"It is a seller's market right now, but buyers still have certain expectations," Ramirez says. "They want to walk into a clean house that looks like it's been taken care of."
To make the best first impression, consider how it looks when viewed from the street. Start by stashing away any children's toys or bikes and getting the lawn into shape.
"You want your home to be photograph-ready when buyers drive up," Ramirez says. "They want to see a nicely kept yard, landscaping that's in good condition, no moss or branches on your roof.
"Then, inside your home, focus on three areas first: the master bedroom, the kitchen, and the main bathroom. Start by toning down any dramatic wall colors.
"Keep it neutral," Ramirez says. "No bold primary colors. You don't want to go all-white, either — maybe a trendy neutral color, which these days is light gray."
"You want your home to be photograph-ready when buyers drive up," Ramirez says.
Inviting and clean.
You don't need to hire an interior designer to stage your rooms. Instead, simplify your décor — maybe your leopard-print rug goes in the closet, for now — and put away personal items such as family photos. You want your buyers to focus on the house and imagine their future lives there, rather than being distracted by the current residents' tastes and senior pictures.
Also, your home's cleanliness counts. A lot.
Be sure to eliminate any potential sources of mold or mildew odors, which will send potential buyers out the door.
This also is a great time to shed household clutter by selling or donating it. But if you can't part with your stuff, Ramirez cautions against locking the doors to messy storage rooms or stacking heavy objects in front of a junk-filled garage.
"It's important that buyers have access to those areas," she says.
Finally, before a potential buyer arrives, take final steps to make your home feel as welcoming as possible.
"If you can, turn on the lights before buyers walk through," Ramirez says. "Open up the blinds. Make it inviting. Cleaning the windows inside and out makes a big difference as well."
From a buyer's perspective, those little details make a big difference.