Guest blog by Lisa Kirchhoff
The real estate market has been a tough one in many areas of the country, but even so, there will always be people out there looking to buy a home. Whether it’s a young couple searching for their first starter home, a family in need of a bigger home, or an older couple hoping to downsize to something smaller, homes of all sizes and styles will always be in demand. So how do you set your home apart from the many others on the market? It’s simple when you follow a few tips:
1. Clean. It may sound like an obvious task before putting your home on the market, but cleaning should also include everything from surface dirt on places you might normally miss (light switches, door frames, ceiling fans, to name a few) to tossing old toys, knickknacks, paper, and general clutter. If you have items you want to clear out buy may not be ready to get rid of for good, rent a small trailer, storage space or Pod unit to store it. Moving out an extra end table, floor lamp or large toys will visually unclutter a room so potential buyers can focus on the unique features of the home- not your stuff. Use moving blankets and furniture covers to protect items in storage until you’re moved into your new home.
2. Stage. If you’ve seen the home staging shows on the popular home and garden cable TV channels, you know the right changes can make a huge difference in the appearance of your home. But don’t be scared off by thinking the job is just too big. Every little thing counts: remove personal photos and mementos, add a vase of fresh flowers to a few rooms, place extra lights in rooms that feel dark, tone down bright paint colors or add a layer of neutral beige to white walls.
3. Start outside. First impressions count. When prospective buyers walk up to the front door, they’ll take notice of things you may not always recognize: peeling paint, weedy flowerbeds, dead shrubs, a broken mailbox. They may believe that if the outside has not been kept up, the owners have not kept up repairs on the inside, and house tour will begin with a negative slant. Keep your front steps clean and the lawn mowed, add a potted plant or two, touch up paint on the front door, add a fresh new mailbox and house numbers, and keep weeds out of your landscaping.
4. Be flexible. Having your home on the market can be an exhausting experience, but staying flexible with showings can be the difference between a sale and prospective buyers finding something else instead because your house was not available for a showing. Keep your home as clean as possible at all times so you can be ready if a realtor calls to ask for an immediate showing. It can be difficult with small kids, but keep a few empty laundry baskets or large plastic boxes handy so you can quickly toss in toys and other clutter from countertops and shuttle them to your vehicle before the relator and prospective buyers arrive. Keep a box of disposable cleaning wipes in each bathroom and in the kitchen so you can quickly wipe down surfaces in an instant. Also before they arrive, open blinds and curtains to create as much natural light as possible.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Lisa Kirchhoff is a writer and blogger for USCargoControl.com , an e-commerce company that specializes in moving supplies for both professional and DIY movers.