By Maura Keller
Spring and summer are always high time for selling a home—here are some tips and tricks for selling yours.
As the housing market continues to remain robust, many homeowners looking to sell their abode are asking one key question: “What do we need to do to make our home really stand out from the crowd?” While a fresh coat of paint and new carpeting can certainly spruce up the condition and desirability of your home, experts recommend you go a bit further when getting your home ready to sell. Believe it or not, the three things that will make the biggest impact on potential buyers— and cost next to nothing to do—include decluttering, cleaning and staging. Other fixes can cost a bit but are worth it if you want that shiny “sold” sign in your front yard.
#1 Tackle Repairs
Katie Myhre-Daeger, home stylist at Gladeye Design Studio, says that it’s vital that homeowners prioritize all the big and small repairs and improvements. Have a leaky faucet, loose hinges or mold in your basement or garage? Take care of any problems that will impact the sale of your home. For more serious repairs or improvements, hire a professional to remedy the issue.
“Trying to disguise or hide any issues with a property will have expensive consequences and could be a complete dealbreaker,” Myhre-Daeger says. “Even in a seller’s market, you can’t expect your house to sell itself.”
#2 Clean, Clean, Clean
Don’t underestimate the power of a deep clean. We all have different standards for cleanliness, but selling your home means everything needs to be sparkling, bright and shiny.
“Leave no surface in your house untouched,” Myhre-Daeger says. “If you don’t have the time or ability to give your house a top-to-bottom clean, hire a professional cleaning company to do a detail clean of the inside of your house. It will be a small investment into your home selling process but will make your day-to-day cleaning easier while your home is on the market.”
And remember, the nose knows! Natally Fisher of RE/MAX Preferred in Monona says when a potential buyer steps into a home they will smell if you have pets.
“If you are a pet owner, you may have to take extra steps to getting your house ready to sell, such as cleaning or removing carpet, keeping dog beds and litter boxes clean for showings to ensure that the house does not have an odor,” Fisher says. “If your pets have damaged your home, plan to make improvements prior to listing.”
#3 Clear the Clutter
If you’re living in your home while selling it, pre-pack as many of your belongings as possible. This will also require you to make a plan for storing your belongings while your house is on the market.“
Less stuff in each room equals more space a potential buyer sees for their own items in that home,” Myhre-Daeger says.
Ann Raschein, realtor with Mad City Dream Homes at RE/MAX Preferred, recommends reducing clutter in storage areas as well. “Make sure closets are not overflowing and that potential buyers can easily navigate important spaces like the basement and garage,” Raschein says. “Once you have taken the time to declutter, make sure to keep things organized. Buyers will love to open up closets and see something that reminds them of a spa experience. When buyers see a clean home, they make the assumption that the home has been well cared for.”
#4 To Stage or Not To Stage
Myhre-Daeger says one common mistake homeowners make is confusing staging with decorating. As she explains, decorating your home is making it lovely based on your personal taste and style. Staging a home is making it marketable to as many buyers as possible, which often means un-decorating for some spaces and focusing on the elements of your home that add value. This may include toning down paint colors that are very vibrant or taste specific, and repainting rooms in a more neutral and light color palette.
“A seller may feel offended or defensive about their realtor suggesting a stager, but it’s important to remember that the stager isn’t critiquing your decorating, they are working with your home’s assets to make you money,” Myhre-Daeger says. Vacant staging refers to a property that no one is living in while on the market. Some homes won’t need much when it comes to staging, but other homes may benefit from more involved stag- ing services. Staging services can range from a few hundred to thousands of dollars.
One simple way to “stage” a home is with a fresh coat of paint. As Myhre-Daeger says, painting a space can usually cost less than $200 and can dramatically change a room for the better. Painting also helps a room to look and feel clean and fresh.
“Pick a neutral wall color that complements the trim colors, flooring and other major finishes in your home,” Myhre-Daeger says. “A buyer is purchasing your house, not your décor style.
”The great news about staging is that it doesn’t involve a dramatic remodel of your home. As Raschein explains, it’s about using what you already have in ways that help your home look its very best.
“Some real estate agents will include and pay for professional staging as part of their marketing plan, so you may not have to pay anything at all in order to experience the benefits of staging,” Raschein says.