by Michelle Fraser
My all time favorite quote that sellers should consider before even thinking of putting their house up on the market is, “If you fail to plan, then you plan to fail”. Home owners need to realize especially in the upcoming spring market season that presentation is everything. If you want “Top Dollar” you must set the stage to create Buyer emotion.
Buyers buy on emotion and once there emotionally connected to a home then price is not always the number one factor. Here are the top 10 tips to highlight all your home’s features and appeal to the best possible pool of prospective buyers that create those emotions regardless of your price.
#1 Get a fresh perspective
Before beginning the prep work on your home the best place to start is through a fresh pair of eyes, someone who can help you determine what needs to be done. Usually, when people live in their house for a while it is easy to become desensitized to its faults. Do you have hole behind the door of your bedroom, is a part of your hardwood warped in your family room? Simple things like these can easily be overlooked and noticed by a buyer.
During this time it is good to become a little OCD by sweating the small stuff when it comes to selling your home. The reality is that a potential buyer will always be studying every little detail to discover flaws. So when those fresh pair of eyes start pointing out the flaws don’t feel criticized because when you are putting it on the market you are presenting it as someone else’s home and you have to sell “the dream”.
#2 First Impressions
Remember, potential buyers want to feel good when they come to the house. It has to be the kind of place they can imagine coming home to. This is why it is important to think about your home’s curb appeal. You may have accepted the broken down car in the driveway or the garbage and recycling bins at the front of the house, but this is not the dream. This may become less convenient for you but you are not the focus.
Does the house need a new paint job does the driveway and steps leading to the front door all old and worn? How does the door look? It may need a new paint job or be replaced all together. If you have a mailbox is it falling apart? if so, buy a new one. Even do the roof, because Bank appraisals value new roofs as well hot water tanks if yours seems to be ready to go. Overall, Everything to neat and tidy fences, flower beds and walkways all make a great first impression to buyers who dream of living in a well-maintained home. You can imagine the process like going on a “blind date”. The buyer gets set-up by the “match maker” the realtor, the buyer has seen the picture, but until that first moment of seeing each other in person, this can either take your breath away or leave you in disappointment. Yes, you can be won over with personality and prowess, but if you start disappointed, it’s unlikely you’ll make it to the altar. The same is true for a house.
#3 Grouping and rearranging Furniture
There’s a common misconception that rooms will feel larger and easier to use if they are pushed against walls, but this isn’t necessarily the case. Instead, furnish your space by migrating furniture away from most walls. Make traffic flow in a room obvious by repositioning sofas and chairs into warm conversational groups, which not only make the space more user-friendly but will open up the room and make it seem larger.
Remember, it’s okay to move furniture, artwork and accessories among rooms on a whim. Just because you bought that armchair for the living room doesn’t mean it won’t look great as a sitting area in your bedroom.
#4 Room Transformations
If you have a that room that’s only used to gather junk or storage, it is time to repurpose it into something that will add value to your home. By simply, adding a comfortable armchair, a small table and lamp even in by a stairwell will make it look like a nice cozy reading spot. Have an unfinished basment? Try draping fabric on the walls and lay inexpensive rubber padding or a carpet remnant on the floor and throw in a few pillows. There you have it- a new meditation room or yoga studio.
#5 Bigger is Better
If you have a small kitchen and dining room, a seamless look will make both rooms feel like one big space. It is good to paint rooms in the same color as the adjacent room this makes a room appear to be bigger than it is. Another tip to create the illusion of more space is to paint the walls the same color as your drapery. Again, this will give you a seamless and sophisticated look.
#6 Experiment with Bolder colors.
Don’t be afraid to use dark paint in a powder room, dining room or bedroom. A deep tone on the walls will not only make the space more intimate but also more dramatic and cozy. Remember you don’t have to go all out- for example you can paint an accent wall to draw attention to a classy fireplace or a lovely set of windows.
#7 Let light in
The house needs to be bright and inviting turn the lights on, pull up the shades and draw back the curtains. During showings, it is good to make sure every light is turned on to create a positive and cheerful environment. Even leaving some of the lights on in the rooms that face the street until you go to bed is great idea to create a welcoming and seductive atmosphere to potential buyers driving by after-hours.
#8 Play “Buying” Music
Have some music playing softly in the background. Choose something a bit mellow and make it loud enough so it’s noticeable. The idea is to mask shoes, and floors creaking through an empty house. Light Jazz with minimal vocals like department elevator music is always great.
#9 Perfecting the Kitchen
Most importantly have a look at the kitchen and powder room. The powder room should be clean and the fan shouldn’t sound like a airplane taking off. If that’s case have it fixed or replaced. Even if you have grown accustomed to the noise buyers won’t. Everything to the light above the mirror to the toilet’s color should carry a more modern feel.
In the kitchen, clean out every drawer and the cupboards have to be neat and organized. All the hingest need to be operating perfectly, the handles need to be clean and preferably metal. If you cannot afford new cabinets just get new doors and drawer fronts. Then paint everything to match and add new hardware. Instead of replacing the dishwasher you may be able to get a new front panel, just check with the manufacturer. The fridge also needs to be in good standing, clean and organized, with all working parts. If the backsplash is out-dated then replace it.
Overall, buyers want to dream that they are going to be organized, healthy, fit people who eat well and always have a kitchen that not only looks new and dated but also through the stadd cleaned it after every meal.
#10 The “Dream” Master Bedroom and Ensuite
Lastly, have a serious look at the master bedroom and ensuite bathroom. Again, if this needs to be completely renovated, repaired, retiled, or just repainted, simply put it on the check list. The bedroom needs to be organized and should give the buyer the feel of entering a nice hotel room. Remember this room needs to sell elegance and sophistication, so make sure closets are organized, doors working well and it is also more appealing if bedding and coverings are well suited to the room. Remember it is called the “Master” Bedroom so this room needs to demand that presence.
When potential buyers are looking for that “dream home” take in to account they are also more after the dream lifestyle. Your house must give off the feelings that extraordinary people live here, and once they buy the house they will be extraordinary also. For whatever the reasons when it comes to selling your home, people are searching for that dream life and you are going to provide it for them.