From the March 2014 Newsletter of the Realty Times
Remove Road Blocks To Sell Your Home
Every seller has a common goal in mind: sell the home quickly and for the most money. Yet when it comes time to sell the home not every seller will be prepared.
Many forget or don't know how to remove road blocks that can stall the sales process or kill it completely. If you're getting ready to list your home for sale, pay close attention. What you do before you list it can help or hurt the process.
Remove or limit the areas where your home is lacking. Study your neighborhood and the homes that are for sale. If your home is consistently coming up short in comparison, maybe it's not landscaped enough or it hasn't had any upgrades in 20 years, and it's overdue for some renovations or, at the very least, repairs to clean it up.
Get your home "show-ready" so that it isn't lacking or appearing deficient compared to other homes in your neighborhood. Placing a home on the market that isn't ready (needs repairs) can cause the home to receive very little foot traffic and it can end up being on the market for a long time.
If, for instance, you have vinyl flooring that's peeling, consider replacing it with a flooring that matches the style of your home and is comparable to the neighborhood so that it is consistent with the quality of floors in other homes in the area.
Remove YOU from the home. Yes, it's tricky to remove your personality from the home, especially when you're still living it. But it's very necessary. This doesn't just mean taking down personal photos and putting away private items like medicines. This means that if you've turned a room into a particular "you" room - your style, your personality, and your unique use of the room - consider re-doing the room to make it more neutral, versatile, and appealing to buyers.
For instance, if one of the bedrooms in a two-bedroom house was converted into a meditation room, it's wise, when listing the home for sale, to show it with both rooms as bedrooms rather than one bedroom and one room that is uniquely decorated for a specific use other than sleeping. Buyers can sometimes imagine how else they'd use a room but if it looks like too much work to make changes, they'll keep hunting for a house that is better suited to their needs.
If you've converted the garage into a den, office, or kids play area to fit your particular lifestyle, consider making it a garage again. Find a way to show your home with the garage as clean, useful, and as an extended-living space but also with the option to park cars in it. Not everyone wants to park on the street just to have a few extra hundred square feet of living space. An appraiser can actually knock thousands of dollars off your appraisal if the garage can't be used to park cards in because it's considered a loss of covered parking.
Remove strong odors from your home. Of course, I'm talking about foul smelling odors but sometimes too much of a good thing can also be a turn off. Gather up pet toys, pet beds, pet food, and make sure the house is pristine. If you're using fragrances in your home from sprays, candles, potpourri or even real flowers, make sure that the odor isn't overwhelming. Subtle is good... overbearing can make people think you're trying to cover up something bad in the home.
Ultimately, the goal is to make the home have mass appeal with as few road blocks as possible to sell it. Think like a buyer and see your home the way you'll be looking at your own next home purchase. Then maybe you'll understand the importance of making some changes before you list your home for sale.
Written by Phoebe Chongchua