Home Selling Process – Presentation is Important

No one will argue that appropriate pricing is key in the home selling process.  However, the presentation of your home for sale is also very important in attracting and keeping the attention of potential buyers.  Otherwise, your pricing has to work harder.  I am not suggesting that sellers be prepared to put forth an HGTV-style staging effort but some simple steps can go a long way.

  • De-clutter – Your potential buyer should not have to strain to see the potential of your home behind piles of clutter.  Buyers will look in closets and pull open those kitchen cabinets and drawers. Also, those extra items stored on the counters, on top of the refrigerator and in the corners detract from the features of your home.  Finally, for the pack rats out there, organized clutter is still clutter.  Less is more.
  • Clean – Enough said.
  • Maintenance – Finish those uncompleted projects. Fix those simple problems such as the dripping faucet, broken window panes, gutters filled with last fall’s leaves, patching the holes in the wall, missing thresholds, etc. Go through your home and make a list of these items. Take care of what you can but also consider hiring a handyman. Paying for a few hours of time can get a lot of things done on your list.
  •  Take a deep sniff – Strong smells can be a real turn off to potential buyers. Heavy cigarette smoke, pet smells, or past water damage in the basement can all either completely turn buyers off or reduce the price you can get.
  • Painting – If you have strong or overly feminine colors, 1990’s sponge treatments, or peeling wallpaper, consider painting.  Painting is cheap, easy and makes a big difference. Also, wallpaper generally translates as extra work or expense – consider removing yourself. It might really make a difference.
  • De-personalize – Personally, I love collecting refrigerator magnets from places I visit and having school notices right where I can see them. I love family pictures and try to display those cute knick-knacks collected over the years.  However, during the home selling process, I want the focus on the attributes of the house not the stuff.
  • Emphasize the Square Footage – You want to emphasize the square footage in your house.  Too many pieces of furniture or big bulky furniture make a room look smaller.  If the agent has to constantly direct the buyers attention to the MLS listing to verify that “the bedroom really is a nice size”, that’s not a good thing.  You want to have a feeling of an open, spacious environment.
  • Curb Appeal – Shovel the sidewalks and driveway, clean and mulch the flowerbeds, and take care of that peeling paint on the shutters and windowsills.  You may also want to consider power washing the deck and siding.  Make the outside inviting.

These are the basics…no ground-breaking advice.  However, these general tips can help make your home appear well-maintained and attractive.  They won’t allow your home to sell for more than market value but they definitely may make sure that your home is considered.  Of course, if you can afford to do more such as replacing older carpeting or updating that 1970’s bathroom, it can’t hurt.  However, in an economy where many don’t have the funds to invest a lot of money into staging, a little elbow-grease can make a difference in the home selling process.

Millie C. Lumpkin, Broker