REAL ESTATE ARTICLES
10 Mistakes Sellers Make When Preparing a House for Sale
1. Just because you love it does not mean everyone else will. This is the biggest and most common mistake. Ensure your property appeals to the broadest buying public, which means neutralize. If the colour palette or decorating style is too far out, people will be put off by the "personality" of the home, and it will be difficult for them to visualize themselves and their own belongings in the house.
2. Closets and pantries are crowded and cluttered. Edit each storage space of excess or seasonal items to make sure the viewers can see the space. Crammed spaces give viewers the perception that there is not enough storage space and that the house is bursting at the seams.
3. The furnishings are too big or there are too many for the space. Edit, edit, edit. The corners of the room need to be seen so remove extra or over-sized plants, fans, gym equipment, chairs and tables. During one staging job, the home owner wanted to leave an excessively large coffee table in a living room, and demonstrated how cool this table was by folding it out and making it into a dining table. So we asked him, "What's for sale? The house or the table?" He substituted the table for a smaller one.
4. "Clean" means different things to different people. It may be common sense to some, but the best way to maintain the value of your single largest investment is to follow a regular cleaning schedule. When your house is on the market, it has to be clean and ready for showing every minute of the day.
5. You love your pet so everyone else will - right? Wrong. Some potential buyers are really adverse to animals of any kind, and that means that any evidence of pets will deter them from showing interest in the property. If you have pets, vacuum daily to keep the hair under control and crate them or remove them from the property while it is being shown.
6. Hide damage to flooring, counter tops, walls or other permanent fixtures. This is a big no-no. Reveal - never conceal - problem areas, and be sure to reflect any deficiencies and necessary repairs in the list price.
7. Forget about safety and security. Strangers will be coming into your house. Keep your personal safety and security in mind. Gun collections and the kitchen knife block present a major safety hazard. Pack away these items, as well as precious items and jewelry, while the house is on the market.
8. Designate a space above grade as a storage room. Potential buyers want to know exactly how many bedrooms are available, and using a room above grade for storage will negatively impact their perception of the house. Use spaces in the basement for storage.
9. Leave dated or worn fixtures for the next owner to replace. The best way to increase equity in your house is to implement periodic upgrades. The simplest and least costly upgrades include light fixtures, taps and faucets, door and cabinet hardware, and drapery and window treatments.
10. Rush to put the house on the market before it is presentable. Selling a property requires strategic thinking. First, identify the competition then make your house present better than any house currently on the market. Care and attention to the details will impress potential buyers, and if the house is "move in ready" then that means less work for them and possibly a better offer for you.
Gabriele P. Campbell is a Certified Interior Decorator and Accredited Staging Professional. She recently co-authored a book with Greg Tonn, "The EasySell System - Every Tool You Need To Sell Your House on Your Own". Visit her website at http://www.campbellventuresgroup.com