Why do some homes sell quickly while others sit on the market for months, even in a strong sellers’ market? Price, location, and schools certainly affect resale, but showability is also a huge factor. Homes that appear clean and well maintained stand out to buyers – both in photos online and in person during showings.
Some studies have revealed that buyers decide within the first two minutes of a showing whether or not they’re going to make an offer to purchase. For sellers, this means that first impressions count. If you want to sell your home quickly for the highest amount possible, use our check list to make sure your listing makes a great first impression. The good news is that most of these check list items are free or inexpensive. Cleaning, organizing, and painting can all be do-it-yourself projects that consistently pay off when it comes time to sell your home.
Home Buyers Like Clean, Bright Spaces
One of the reasons that new construction homes sell so easily is that everything is brand new. There are no carpet stains, scuffed walls, fogged windows, or dark rooms. If you’ve ever toured a model home, then you know how it was staged to be picture perfect: shiny granite counter tops, crystal clear windows letting in light and outdoor views, well lit bathrooms, empty closets, and neutral paint colors (or in Charleston South Carolina, we see coastal colors).
Buyers want a home that feels, smells, and looks new even if they’re looking for an older brick ranch. Perhaps the most important thing a seller can do to improve showings is to perform a deep clean on his home. If you don’t have time to do this yourself, it’s absolutely worth hiring a professional cleaning service. Often, they’ll get rid of smudges and dust bunnies that you didn’t even know were present.
Buyers Need to Picture Themselves Living in Your Home
Although family photos, travel knick knacks, and kids’ artwork are a fun way to turn your house into a home, most buyers get distracted by these memorabilia. During a showing, buyers need to focus on the home itself and not the stuff in it. This is why many of the items in our check list deal with removing clutter and personal items. If you’re going to be moving soon anyway, why not go ahead and start packing up these things? Decluttering is also important because it will make your home appear larger (see more on this topic below).
Storage is Essential
Whether buyers are downsizing or moving into a larger home, they want to make sure their new purchase has plenty of storage. And believe me, they’ll be peeking inside your closets and cabinets during showings! If your storage spaces appear cramped or too full, buyers will wonder whether these spaces are going to be adequate to keep their own belongings. After all, if a closet is too small for you, then it will probably be too small for them, too.
Since you’ll be boxing up your belongings soon anyway, why not go ahead and pack up the items you seldom use? Organizing and consolidating your stuff will make your next move easier and also help improve the showings on your current home.
Overlooked Repairs Can Be Red Flags to Buyers
Buyers and their Realtors notice when a home has been maintained or neglected. A light fixture with burned out bulbs raises questions as to whether the fixture is simply broken or if electrical system is up to code. Gutters that have small plants growing out of them make a buyer worried about roof leaks and water damage. Leaking faucets and running toilets make buyers start tallying a list of repair work that needs to be done before the showing has even finished. Buyers get overwhelmed by small repairs and tend to rule out homes that have such red flags.
The bottom line is that these issues will have to be addressed once the home is under contract and an inspection has revealed these problems. Some sellers have the mindset that they’ll wait to fix these problems when they have to (meaning two weeks before closing). However, at that point they’ve already scared away potential buyers during the showing process. It’s best to go ahead and address these minor repairs before putting your home on the market so that your listing appeals to as many buyers as possible. Your Realtor should be able to recommend a trusted repairman to nip these problems in the bud if needed.