Stacey Leal - Owner
No One Wants to Buy a Dirty House
January is the month that people plan. We plan everything from losing weight and getting in shape, to getting organized in personal life and business. And many plan to sell or buy a house by February.
Buying or selling a house is a major investment decision. It takes money, planning and effort. There are strategies for both the buyer and seller. If one is organized and methodical, the strategies can pay off. There is a great amount of stress that comes with buying and selling a house.
There are things to consider when purchasing a house or selling one. I would like to address them together as they go hand in hand. You can not have a seller without a buy, nor visa versa.
If one is not organized as to their moving plan, they could end of with more stress than anticipated. I would like to address some things that will help with the pre-planning process of home buying and selling from a professional organizer standpoint.
A seller in most cases places a house on the market in order to attract the seller. Things to consider before you place a house on the market. What is your vision? What is your timeline of your vision? What is your price point of sale? What is your budget before the house sells? What is your physical ability or physical limits?
No one wants to buy a dirty house! I can not stress that enough. No home has to be brand new. No home has to have state of the art amenities, No home has to be a certain size or style. You only need one buyer in reality of most homes on the market. But no one wants to buy a dirty house. So this article is how to market your house in the best light. As well as what to look for in a house you want to buy.
Your vision: As a seller, what is your vision of the home sale? What is your timeline for the sale? What is your timeline for the move out or in? What is your plan for the pre sale, and post sale and move?
If you can plan as early as possible, you will experience less stress in most cases.
Ultimately you want to declutter, clean, repair and stage and market.
Tips for marketing your home in the best light
1. Declutter – Remove all personal items. Remove all family pictures, religious artifacts, fake plastic flowers. Remove items that block views you want to enhance (outdoors or interior architecture) Remove extra seating or furniture in access of what the room allows. Count each chair, as you will find often there is too much seating. Remove all small nick knacks from the walls and shelves. Try to keep items to three or five but no more.
Declutter each room one at a time takes extra off site storage. Have a plan to find and use off sight storage. This is temporary storage only recommended for these purposes. Have a timeline in place of how much storage you will need and for how long. Shop early in the year for storage. You will find they are rented early. Rent the largest for all your items. You can usually swap out for smaller units but rarely the other way.
2. Clean- Everything you can see and not see. Start with the things you can not see, closets, cabinets, filters, drawers, and then what you can see and then what the inspector will see. Dont forget the things you take for granted. Clean the windows, the doors, behind the toilet, the air vents and filters. Dont forget the oven and refrigerator and washer/dryer and ceiling fan blades. Buyers might take a peak. You want everything to look fresh and inviting. Dirty sinks and showers are real turn offs. If this job list seems daunting, get help. Just make sure you get the right amount of help and they understand your true vision and intention. If you can not afford to pay for it all, pay to have biggest jobs done. Have help clean the things you can not reach like tall windows. Dirty windows are a real turn off to buyers. Not all cleaning crews are the same.
3. The inspector will be less picky if you have cleaned all aspects of your home. A clean home has a way of telling the inspector as well as the prospective buyer that you Take Care of Your Home. It is physiological in nature, but it works.
4. Repair and maintain- Again start with the things you can not see. Empty out the hot water heater and write with a dry erase pen the year of the water heater and the date it was cleaned. Termite and insect inspections- place the date under the sink where the inspector will see the date. Furnace/ AC unit also date the unit was inspected and replace the filter with a fresh one.
5. Repair all holes in the walls. Make sure door knobs are in working order. Make sure all doors close properly. A door that does not close gives the impression the ground has settled and the house foundation has issues.
6. First impressions start outside. Most start at the picture of the outside. Get the grounds clean and fresh. Hire a landscaper. Dont forget to clean the gutters.
7. Clean out the storage and garage. Storage is all shelving, closets, cupboards and garage. Everyone wants to park inside a garage. 25% of Americans do not park inside their two car garage. So the idea that they can picture driving into your garage could make the difference.
8. Fresh Paint: Fresh paint makes all the difference. However, dont stress. You can paint the entire universe and if it is the wrong color, you could still lose. So if you must paint, keep it neutral. If you repair a wall, yes paint it. Paint the outside for sure if it is needed. I you can not paint the entire house, try to paint the trim. If you hire a painter, you will ask if they have a 3 or 6 month same as cash deal. Ask for discounts. Remember paint is an investment in your home. If the paint estimate is still too high, hold on to the estimate as you will have a working knowledge when it comes to negotiation time with the buyer.
9. Lighting: Take down heavy window treatments if they block natural light. Clean the windows inside and out. Window washer run about $5-10 per window pain. Less than $500 for most 3 bedroom houses. Well worth the effort. Replace yellow dull light bulbs with led or bright lights. Clean fixtures, fans, & lights.
10. Pets: Make sure they are as clean as possible and the bedding is constantly kept clean. Fleas and roaches are not appealing and need to be eradicated as soon as possible.
11. Do not add fruity smells. Clean smells are best. Thieves or essential oil diffusers are OK but dont overdue it. They say if you bake an apple pie or some bread before open house, people are more receptive to your home being their home. However, putting out food for buyers is not necessary.
12. Beds must be made every day you have your house on the market. Fresh linen with white pillows and throws shows best. Think about the last nice hotel room you stayed in. Everyone likes an inviting hotel room that is clean and fresh. Try to go for the fresh hotel look if possible.
13. Dont let realtors take pictures of your safe or jewelry box or valuables. And keep the toilet seat down.
14. Take pictures of your house exterior when your grass and lawn are manicured and green. Save that picture if you intend on marketing your house when the grass is dormant. Take pictures super early in the morning or evening when the lighting is best reflected.
15. Keep trash out of the house while it is on the market. If you must have trash, keep it minimal and hide it under a sink.
16. Dont have a bed for the third bedroom? Get an air mattress and place it on bins or boxes and dress it like a bed including bed skirt to hid those bins or boxes below. Dont let people guess your rooms purpose.
Marketing your house takes time and vision. Get help where you need it. Look ahead and plan ahead. This is the case where first impressions are everything. Place tables in table areas and like furniture so buyers can imagine their furniture there.
17. Empty houses do not sell as easily. Buyers cant tell if their furniture will fit if they dont have a visual of any furniture. Even one or two pieces in each room is better than no furniture in a room.
Golden Genie Organizing has moving checklists and helpful information to help with the moving process!