New Year’s day 2015, my husband and I decided to place a contingency offer on a run-down ranch home. Reality quickly set in….in order to get our fixer upper, we would have to quickly sell our current home. No time for messing around and missing out on the home we wanted. So, the following days, I busted my bottom prepping my home for listing. Actually, the entire time our home was on the market (less than a week), I was a crazy biaaatch. I made sure the home was in pristine condition at all times which is hard work with a one year old and four indoor animals. Thank the Lord, my hard work payed off. Within three days of placing our new construction home on the market, we received an offer above list price. Some of it may have been luck- a blessing from above, but the majority of it was hard work, competitive pricing and strategic home staging. Let me share my formula for selling your home fast.
Check Your Ego at the Door- Price Competitively
In your mind, your home be worth more than your realtor suggested listing it for, but your realtor is the pro. You are paying for their expertise and marketing connections. Sorry, but the comp prices don’t lie. It is crucial to be realistic about your expectations. Before officially placing your home on the market, have your realtor review comp listings with you and prepare yourself for best and worst cast scenarios. A prospective buyer may love your home, but if the price is not right, you aren’t going to close the deal. Buyers need to feel like they are getting a bargain. Trust your realtor! A qualified realtor will know how to properly price your home.
(For you fellow Chattanoogans, I highly suggest my realtor, Sarah Ketterer at Uptown Firm. She was amazing to work with.)
Make Arrangements for Your Pets
Being an avid animal lover, I cannot understand those who don’t appreciate furry friends, but your prospective buyer may be, in fact, turned off by the thought of animals dwelling in their future residence. I have four indoor pets (two cats and two dogs). This is where I had to get creative. While our home was on the market, my mother-in-law fostered our two cats and our dogs were evicted from the living areas of our home. At night, the dogs slept in the garage and during the day, we took them to doggy-daycare. When we showed the home, we made sure to take the dogs with us and we removed all signs of our pets (pet bowls, toys beds). This solution also made it much easier to keep the home clean.
Deep Clean and De-clutter
Before placing your home on the market or taking photos for your listing, do a thorough deep-clean of your home. Clean the carpets, scrub the baseboards, remove the cobwebs…you get the picture. Make sure your home is squeaky clean. Remove clutter from counter tops, closets and rooms. Heck, we even removed some of the clutter from our garage. We actually payed for a storage unit and hauled all of the excess items off before we ever had our first showing.
Make Necessary Home Improvements
Because we had a new construction home, we did not have much to do under this category but we did do paint touch-ups on the walls. If your room needs a fresh coat of paint, paint the walls in a nice, neutral color. Replace dead bulbs. Patch damaged walls. Repair broken doors. You want your home to appear well cared for…not neglected.
Neutralize and De-Personalize Decor
Naturally, my style is a neutral take on transitional and contemporary design. From the research I have done, this aesthetic is the best for staging a home to sell. For those of you with a love for the bold, funky or taste-specific, you may need to take a trip to Homegoods and buy some more neutral décor. Maybe tone your taste down a bit by switching out those busy throw pillows or drapes with something that will that appeal to a broader audience. Have crazy paint colors on the walls? You may want to paint over those daring colors with taupe, “greige” or white paint. For specific examples of paint colors most ideal for selling a home, visit this post.
In addition to neutralizing your space, you need to de-personalize. Your home needs to be less of an heirloom and more of a blank canvas. I removed personal photos and artwork that I suspected wouldn’t appeal to the masses and replaced them with black and white, landscape photos. I removed a monogrammed decal in my son’s nursery and replaced it with a mirror. I even went as far as to remove his high chair from the house (I placed it in the garage) before each showing.
Take Great Listing Photos
This is another perk of listing your home with a realtor. Our realtor actually included beautiful, professional real estate photos in her fee. Make sure your realtor will provide professional quality photos for your listing. If not, you may want to consider investing in a photographer experienced in real estate photography. With the prevalence of real estate sites like Realtor and Trulia, you must captivate your internet audience as this is the vast majority of buyers. You cannot afford to lose a buyer before they even step foot in your home.
Stage Your Home
I went over-the-top with staging. Figuratively, I wined and dined my potential buyers before each showing . I had cookie-scented candles burning, Bossa Nova music playing low in the background, lights dimmed in a flattering glow and a vase of fresh flowers in the kitchen. If you have ever skimmed through the pages of a Pottery Barn catalog, you will notice how they stage each scene. It makes me want to jump though the pages and crawl into their space. This was my point of reference for staging an inviting space. I also love the way Joanna Gaines from the HGTV show Fixer Upper stages her homes. Basically, I went out of my way to make the space feel clean, new, inviting and serene.
With all of the emphasis on the interior of your home, don’t forget to make sure you have tended to your lawn and any other aspects that contribute to curb appeal. It was the dead of winter when we listed our home, so there was not much we could do here but I did Windex all of the windows and cleaned dirt and cobwebs off the siding and doors. I also scooped up dog poop…how glamorous.
Below is an example of how beautifully Pottery Barn has mastered the art of staging. Doesn’t it look so welcoming and cozy?
Before each showing, I did a walk-thru of my house and made sure of the following:
- House in pristine, clean condition
2. House smells good (burn a dessert-scented candle. Vanilla Cupcake was my favorite.)
3. Soft, relaxing music playing on low volume
4. Take pets along with me
5. House nicely lit either by opening blinds or turning lights on.
Hope this post helps some of you. Let it be known, putting your home on the market is a stressful event. It was hard work but so worth it when we sold our home in less than a week over asking price.
Also be sure to check our Liz Marie’s blog on how she sold her home after only one showing here. She does a great job elaborating on this.
Now get out there and design some good vibes!
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