These past few weeks have been such a whirlwind in our house! About three weeks ago we decided to have a realtor look at our bathrooms to see if we should do anymore updating before trying to sell our house. We were planning to move this fall after baby #2 arrives, but wanted to get any work done before the due date. So, she came over and looked and suggested we try and list it without any more up dates and just see.
So we spend a week de-cluttering, patching nail holes, and getting the house ready to “show.” We put it on the market on a Friday and there were folks lined up to check it out. What a blessing! By Tuesday we had multiple offers and by Thursday we were under contract, OVER list price. We still have a few months until closing which is awesome because we don’t have anywhere to go yet. We are house shopping and know where we want to move, but are still looking for the right house! Hopefully, we find it soon :) I think we really lucked out because we bought in 2010 when the market was near the bottom and now the market is on the rise, but the inventory is still low. SOOOO much about buying/selling has to be timing! So while I am NO expert, I thought I’d share a few tips that I think helped to sell our house, QUICK!
Declutter. I’m sure you’ve hear this before, but decluttering your house is paramount. If you are like us, you might not even realize how cluttered your house is until you start to put things in storage (or the attic). It’s amazing what clearing off counters and shelves will do; we also put about half of Chickadee’s toys away. She didn’t seem to mind :) In the bathroom we completely cleared off the counters, in the kitchen we cleared off everything except for the mixer, our Keurig, and knives (for the pictures) and then tried to keep anything else on the counters to a minimum. We didn’t do this, but if you have the extra space it’s also a good idea to clean out your closets a little bit. I read about 1/3 of your clothes should go elsewhere to make your closets look roomier. Basically, you want your buyers to see what your house can be, how much storage there is, what it would look like with their furniture. When you declutter the rooms look larger and cleaner and have more potential.
It’s best to remove any over personal items from your house (I feel like this mostly pertains to photos). I didn’t understand this one at first. However our realtor said that when potential buyers walk through our house and see our personal pictures they start to think more about us living here and our lives than what their lives could be like. You want buyers to imagine themselves in your house, so neutralize it and depersonalize. I kept picture frames up, but filled them with scrapbook paper that matched the rooms decor. If you are going all out you can also cover up/replace any crazy design choices you made like bright accent walls or bold pattern curtains.
You want your buyers to feel at home when they walk in your house. A few tips for making your home inviting is to light a candle leading up to the show time to make your house smell divine. Bright flowers and a bowl of fresh fruit also make your home feel welcoming. Also, one thing we had to consider was our sweet, but massive, golden retriever Max. During each showing we packed him up with the rest of us to leave the house. Pets can be distracting (even crated) when buyers are looking at your home. You also want to make sure your house doesn’t smell like your pet. The candle or air fresheners will help!
We weren’t up for a massive overhaul of the bathrooms before we listed our house, but there were some small quick fixes we made sure to tackle before our home hit the market. These are the things you probably look past on a daily basis but it might stick out to buyers. For example, door trim that needs freshening up, nail holes, tub grout that needs replacing or light bulbs that have burned out. It is even helpful to have your realtor or a friend give your house an honest once over. They might spot some quick fixes that you missed. Also if you are up for it, a fresh coat of paint can go a long way!
The outside of your house is the buyer’s first impression. It’s IMPORTANT. Make sure your grass it cut, cobwebs brushed away, bushes are trimmed and maybe even put out a new welcome mat or wreath on the door. Make sure porches and decks have been swept and maybe even add some potted plants!
This is probably another no brainer, but try and keep your house as clean as possible while it is on the market. Sweep, wipe down counters, vacuum before you go to bed. I also spruced up our stainless steal appliances to give them a nice shine and took some Orange Glow to our hardwoods to make them look their best! Another easy way to spruce up the bathroom is using this homemade grout cleaner. I found that if I would clean as we went each day, this process wasn’t too overwhelming.
Both in photo taking and when you are leaving your house for a showing make sure there is a lot of natural light! Open and raise the blinds (make sure your windows are clean). Pull back the curtains. Natural light works wonders!
Photos are important because a lot of the time this is what will get the buyer to your home. In the world of technology most potential buyers will have checked out your listing online before showing up to your house. The pictures don’t have to be Better Homes & Garden quality but they do need to be attractive and bright. Don’t underestimate the power in great pictures. Raise the blinds and let in a lot of natural light, turn on your lights, and shoot from several angles until you find the right one!
When you list your house could be the key to selling quickly. Right now (February 2015) is a great time to list because the market is on the rise and right now the inventory is low, so houses are in high demand. If you live in a neighborhood with a lot of school age children and young families April is probably a better time to list because folks will be looking for closing/moving dates in the summer to coincide with the school year. Your realtor will have a lot of information on this so talk with them and decide when is the prime time for your house to go on the market.
Resist the urge to overprice your home by a large margin, this will keep a lot of potential buyers from even walking through the front door. This is a hard one because you are so personally attached to your home and probably value it more than those looking to buy it from you. Look at homes in your area or neighborhood that are similar in size and features and use those as comparables when pricing your house. You can also hire an appraiser if you would like for an outside person to give you their opinion on what your home is worth. I think the first few weeks if the best time to get a feel for how potential buyers feel about your home. If it is still on the market a month later you may be forced to lower the price and this sometimes makes buyers wonder if there is something wrong with your home. We felt like we priced our home just right. Because of the inventory being low our neighborhood was in high demand and potential buyers were okay with offering a little over the list price because they felt the price we listed it at was fair.
Hopefully, these tips will help your sell your house fast and with less anxiety! I know it all seems like a lot of work, buy I think the payoff will be worth it! GOOD LUCK
Oh, and since we had to take new pictures for the listing, I thought I would update our house photos on the blog! So jump on over to the home tour page to take a look!