Where to Start: Begin to Prepare your Home for Showing
“You never get a second chance at a first impression.” And while you are preparing your house to sell, it should not be far from your mind. While logical factors such as price and location narrow the pool of houses a potential buyer will look at, the ultimate decision to buy a particular house is fuelled by a mixture of logic and emotion... and emotion often wins out. The same might be said for the process of selling a home.
Buyers are searching for a “home”—a place in which they will feel comfortable, secure, and happy. As a seller, your goal is to cultivate these feelings through the property you’re selling. A buyer’s emotional response is triggered early, so you want to ensure you have done everything you can to encourage a positive response to your house from the outset.
If you’ve ever visited model homes, you’re familiar with effective presentation styles. When homes create this immediate type of emotional appeal, they tend to sell quickly—and for more money. Use the following step-by-step guide to get your house into selling shape, and you’ll be well on your way to a successful sale!
This should be one of your first steps when you begin preparing your house to sell. Over the years, a home inevitably becomes tattooed with the owners’ lives, covered with touches that have made it that special place for you. At this point, however, you want buyers to recognize it as a property they could make into their unique place. So, your first step will be to remove all the family photos, the trophies, collectible items, and souvenirs. Do not simply transfer these items to another place in your house.
2. Remove all clutter.
The next step on the list is to purge your house of the excess items that have accumulated over the years. This is the hardest part for many people, as they have an emotional investment in many of these things. We’ve broken down the process into specific areas of your house to help you concentrate your efforts:
- First of all, remove everything from the counters, even the toaster (the toaster can be stored in a cabinet, and brought out when needed).
- Clean out all the cabinets and drawers. Box up all of the dishes, pots and pans that you rarely use and put them in the storage unit you have rented (again, not in the basement or a closet).
- If you, like many people, have a “junk drawer,” clear this out.
- Remove all extra cleaning supplies from the shelves beneath the sink. You should thoroughly clean this spot as well, and check for any water stains that might indicate leaking pipes. Buyers will look in most cabinets, and will notice any telltale signs of damage.
- Go through all clothes and shoes. If you don’t wear something anymore, get rid of it. We all have those clothes, too, that we wear only once in awhile, but can’t bear to give away. Box these items and keep them in the storage unit for a few months.
- Get everything off the floor. Closets should look as though they have enough room to hold additional items.
- You may want to tour a few model homes in order to gauge the type of furniture chosen by design teams to create a spacious, yet comfortable atmosphere. Note how that furniture is arranged to cultivate a certain feeling.
- After having armed yourself with some ideas, stand back and look at each of your rooms. Remember, most homes contain too much furniture for showings.
- Basements, garages, attics, and sheds: these are the “junkyard” areas of any given home. Can some of the junk be sent to the dump once and for all?
- Hold a Garage Sale. You’ve heard the saying, “One person’s trash is another’s treasure.” Let these items go to a better home.