Sometimes it can seem like your home is taking forever to sell, and after countless showings that don’t end in deals, selling your home can get frustrating. Thankfully, there are many affordable, quick fixes you can make to help your home sell faster.
We talked to real estate professionals from across the country, and here’s what we found:
Start with A Deep Clean
Everyone’s seen the TV show “Hoarders.” Don’t let that be you! You might underestimate the importance of a deep clean, but trust me, no one will be interested in your house if they can’t even see the floors. Generally, a good rule to follow when selling your home is the more open space, the better. So, remove your U-Haul®packing boxes, open up a storage unit and don’t forget to clean everything!
Don’t Miss a Spot
Even if you clean every surface in your house from top to bottom, there is limited time before everything will be recovered in filth. Daniele Kurzweil of Compass Real Estate, New York City, said it is critical that homeowners present a spotless house at showings.
“If your house is dirty when being shown, it lets your prospective purchasers think that you don’t really care about your home and leads them to think that other things related to the upkeep of the house are lacking, as well,” Kurzweil said.
It is important for homeowners to put their best foot forward and present a clean, organized house that home buyers are attracted to and feel comfortable in.
“No one wants to open a door to be left with a sticky residue on their hands,” Kurzweil said.
Even the smallest surfaces like door handles can have the biggest effects on potential home buyers, so stock up on cleaning products and don’t let dust and dirt be regular features of your house.
“You only get one chance to make a first impression,” Kurzweil said. “Don’t ruin it by not taking the extra 20 minutes to wipe down mirrors and make sure there are no fingerprints on the fridge.”
Declutter Personal Items
Have you ever felt like you’ve walked into a place where you didn’t belong? Well the last place you want someone to feel that way is standing in a home you’re trying to pitch to them as “their home,” said Luke Schrader of Schrader Group, Keller Williams Kalamazoo, Michigan.
While your family photos and personal memorabilia are heartfelt and special, they are not appropriate décor for a home showing, as they can create problems for home buyers trying to imagine your home as their own.
“People have trouble visualizing their stuff in their future home to begin with; the last thing they need to see are your smiling faces subliminally telling them this isn’t the one,” Schrader said.
If home buyers don’t feel like your house could be a home for them, they won’t be interested in taking the next steps to purchase your home.
When cleaning your house to prepare for a showing, Schrader said any item that shows someone is actively living in the house needs to go. These items include toothbrushes, remotes, tissue boxes, soap, boxes on top of the fridge and countertops full of items.
Not only does removing these items help declutter the house, but it makes house hunters feel more like home buyers and less like intruders.
Put the Pets Away
While you and your current visitors may love kisses from Fido when entering your house, people looking to buy your home might not.
Ian Wolf, of Douglas Elliman Real Estate in New York City, suggests to his clients that pets should never be present during house showings, if possible.
“Even if the buyer says they love dogs, maybe their broker or their friend who comes along does not and that has a slight negative influence on the buyer or renter,” Wolf said.
Though it may be hard for you to believe that not everyone loves dogs, it is a precaution you need to take.
There is always the chance that someone may be allergic to your pets, or your pet may not be freshly cleaned. Wolf said that a smelly pet is a major turn off and can make the buyer wonder if that smell will continue to be there after they purchase the home.
Bottom line: Play it safe and put your pet away. It is also important to destroy any evidence of a possible pet by removing foul smells and clumps of hair.
Looks Are Everything
Everyone wishes their home looked like something that came out of an HGTV magazine, especially people who are prowling the housing market to find a new home. Impress home buyers by staging your interior and exterior to keep up with the latest trends. But if you want to really show off your home improvement skills, try a DIY project to take your home to the next level.
Stage It Like A Specialist
According to the National Association of REALTORS®, and their 2019 Profile on Home Staging, 83% of buyers’ agents say staging a house makes it easier for buyers to envision the house as their future home.
“Staging gives a clear idea to buyers of the layout and of where furniture can be placed in rooms,” said Michele Mumoli, CEO and listing specialist with the Mumoli Bush Group at Keller Williams City Life JC.
If buyers can already picture a floor plan of where they want to put furniture in their new house, it will make them excited and ready to purchase a new home.
“Helping buyers envision their own furniture in a home is integral to them putting in an offer on it,” Mumoli said.
When helping sellers stage their homes, Mumoli suggests working with the existing furniture in the home.
Some items may need to be removed, but most often, furniture can just be moved around which surprisingly changes the feel of the room tremendously, Mumoli said.
If a seller is really looking to impress buyers, here are some staging pro tips:
- Set the table
- Maximize natural light
- Make closets feel bigger by leaving them half full, half empty
- Light a candle
- Less is more
- Add a vase of flowers to a table
Make Minor Modifications
If after staging your house you still feel like you need to level up your home’s appearance but don’t want to break your budget, grab a paintbrush and screwdriver, and prepare to complete a few quick, easy DIY projects.
First, if there is anything visibly broken or run-down in your house, fix it. This can include cracked walls, creaky doors, wobbly doorknobs and loose railings.
If you have any flooring imperfections, Mumoli suggests using a modern rug to make the floor look better.
Mumoli’s most important renovation tip is to paint everything white. “People love to make a home their own, but for buyers who are looking, a minimalist home with a white or light gray coat of paint makes everything look bigger, brighter and more open,” Mumoli said.
Painting kitchen cabinets can also add a much-needed change or pop of color to a boring space.
She also recommends that sellers replace old lighting fixtures with new, inexpensive ones that can improve lighting and decoration inside the house.
Other ways Mumoli likes to upgrade looks in a home are by replacing handles on kitchen and bath cabinets, placing indoor plants around the home and planting flowers outside to make it look warm and inviting.
Boost Curb Appeal
While you are making the inside of your house look like a finished product that came out of an episode of “Fixer Upper,” don’t forget to show some love to the exterior of your house. Afterall, potential buyers will see the outside of your house before anything else, and first impressions mean everything.
Ronald Hume, former REALTOR®and real estate entrepreneur said if a homeowner wants to entice a buyer to consider their home for sale, they need to capture them from the street.
“The importance of curb appeal of a home cannot be overstated,” Hume said.
He said a home might be the most incredible hidden gem on the market, but if the view from the street screams abuse or neglect, you might as well display a sign in the front yard that reads, “Buyers Beware.”
Hume suggests that sellers maintain their landscape and attract curb appeal by trimming trees and shrubs, freshening up mulch, pulling weeds, adding seasonal flowers and keeping the lawn mowed and edged.
He also recommends touching up any damaged wood or paint on the home, and pressure washing any stained areas on the home or any surrounding buildings, driveways and sidewalks.
If sellers really want to spruce up their exterior, they can upgrade their driveway to be more than just a cement slab.
Either way, as long as you put some thought and effort into your façade’s new look, hopefully buyers won’t judge the book by its cover.
Spread the Word
Now that you are selling the house buyers dream about, it’s time to get the word out.
Take multiple, high-quality interior and exterior pictures that show off your house. Remember to have good lighting, use a wide-angle lens, shoot horizontally, get high resolution images and try to use a camera instead of a phone.
After you take your pictures, take them to the next level by editing them. Brighten each photo up and crop them so every room is straight and centered. If you need inspiration for photo ideas or staging examples, check out HGTV’s Instagram.
Once you gather your house’s photography portfolio, it’s time to post your listing online. There are many websites that allow sellers to post their listings online such as our sister company, ForSaleByOwner.com.
Now you have the tools you need to sell your home faster. Good luck!
Have any other ideas about ways to sell your home faster? Let us know in the comments!