Prospective sellers often do not realize that their primary job before putting their house on the market is to eliminate any potential obstacles that would keep a buyer from making an offer. When one’s home is competitively priced and its physical condition exceeds a buyer’s expectations, it will get the best offer possible.
As soon as you decide to put your house on the market to sell, the first order of business is to get your home into “selling shape.” Getting a home into “selling shape” is quite different from having a clean, beautiful home. You need to “stage” your home, which means you have to make it look exactly the way prospective buyers viewing your home expect it to be when they walk in.
How do you stage a home? Start by throwing away, giving away, or packing away anything you haven’t used in the last couple of years or more. Do you have miscellaneous newspapers, magazines, paperwork, books, etc., piled up in various areas waiting for that free day when you will be able to get to them? It is time to sort through them or pack them away for that free day in the new house. There is nothing that takes away from the way a house is viewed by prospective buyers as having too much stuff or clutter taking up space throughout the house.
What about your adult children’s rooms? Are they loaded with all the kids’ stuff since they left for college or got married, still waiting for that elusive day when they will come back to clean or pack them up? Now is the time to tell them to come and take their stuff so you can show those rooms at their best and most spacious.
For those of you who have pets, although we love animals, a home with pets requires a little extra TLC when preparing it for sale. If you have cats, make sure the kitty litter box is always clean and fresh and in an inconspicuous place. Take some time to do a very thorough vacuuming under, over, and around all furniture, carpeting, and miscellaneous items and places around the house that might have accumulated dog or cat hair. While you might not have noticed it while living there, it could potentially deter a prospective buyer. Make it a practice to continue to do this throughout the time your home is on the market for viewing.
Those of us who love animals don’t think twice when we enter a home where pets are part of the family, but some people may be allergic or even fearful of animals. A plan should be made in advance of where the animals can be comfortably placed during a house showing in the event a prospective buyer requests it.
Your next part of the staging process should be to make note of any small maintenance problems that should be addressed prior to presenting your house for sale. Is there any peeling paint or cracks in the walls or ceilings? When was the last time you cleaned out your gutters and leaders? Are there drippy faucets or clogged drains that should be fixed now? How does your landscaping present itself? Whatever maintenance projects you decide to tackle prior to selling your home, make sure you finish them before showing your house for sale.
If you are not sure how to begin this staging process, call your real-estate broker and ask him or her to assist you in making a list of what you should tackle in preparing your home for sale. Presenting your home in the best possible manner will assure you of getting the best possible offer.
Anessa Cohen lives in Cedarhurst and is a licensed real-estate broker (Anessa V Cohen Realty) and a licensed N.Y.S. loan officer (FM Home Loans) with over 20 years of experience offering full-service residential, commercial, and management real-estate services as well as mortgage services. She can be reached at 516-569-5007 or via her website, www.AVCrealty.com. Readers are encouraged to send questions or comments to anessa@AVCrealty.com.