In the spirit of New Year’s Resolutions and “getting into shape,” it’s also a great time to think about getting your home into shape (literally "getting your house in order"!) – for your own enjoyment, or if you are planning to list and sell it.
Even when the real estate market is “hot” – low inventory, or relatively few properties in the prime locations - buyers are wowed by their first impressions.
One source of inspiration for first impressions is this website: Becoming Minimalist.
While “minimalist” sounds extreme (and as we all know, it is difficult to achieve true minimalism), the link above provides great suggestions for decluttering and paring down the distractions in your home. This exercise will yield big results with buyers, too.
At The Lee Ann Wilkinson Group, we have our own tried-and-true suggestions for sellers who want to make a great first impression with their homes. Many are very obvious when you look at someone else’s house; but they can be difficult to apply to your own familiar space.
Here are a few “exercises” to improve that first impression:
- Try to look at your home with fresh eyes, or ask your REALTOR to make recommendations based on her or his first impression. These tips may seem obvious – and it may seem that buyer should be able to envision everything clean – but it’s a lot easier to envision when it actually IS clean!
- Eliminate clutter and paperwork. The fine Lladro figurines may be beautiful, but they are also precious, breakable and set a certain style. Take time to put them away carefully and set a neutral stage for your prospective buyer.
- Freshen your paint, and wipe down ceiling fans, walls, handrails, baseboards, and light switches (even swap out dated light switches for more modern ones with dimmers).
- Inspect all of your sinks, faucets, and toilets for drips and leaks. Seal leaky faucets, replace washers, and caulk where necessary.
- Don’t neglect the outside. Make sure your gutters are cleaned out and check your basement for any water leakage or mildew. Winter doesn’t help curb appeal, but a neat, clean yard will go a long way. Power wash any mildew from siding, too (it’s that time of year!).
In addition to the visual presentation, try walking into your house with a fresh nose. Do you smell your pets or smoky furniture? Your home has been closed up from the colder weather – do you need a fresh filter? The old ‘baking cookies for the open house’ strategy works for a reason! You can, however, have too much of a good thing. Try to go for neutral versus too much potpourri or heavy scents. People love a fresh, new smell.
It’s the ultimate first impression. Make sure your house is priced accordingly (competitively and attractively), if you want to sell quickly.
Just like our own physical exercise, these small steps can yield big results. And, just like physical exercise, it’s sometimes tough to get motivated! Whether you are selling your home now, or in the future, consider doing these little things while living in a home – don’t wait for someone else to enjoy it!
And fortunately, many of these tips, which are based on more than 30 years of home-selling experience, do not require too many repetitions.
If you are interested in selling your home, please visit us online at www.LeeAnnGroup.com or call us at (302) 645-6664 to customize a “fitness routine” for selling your home. We offer a free home staging consultation, too!