For a quick sale, you need to make your home look better than the competition. When I look through pictures of real estate online, I see so many pictures of messy rooms. People haven’t taken the time to even tidy up a little before they or their agent take the photos that will be any buyers first impression. So often in these photos, the tv’s are on and there are cans of pop on the coffee table. This looks so ugly! So I think the easiest way to make your home look better than most is to simply clean it up.
First off, tidy the surfaces. Clearing away dishes and your daily clutter is the bare minimum you can do to at least let a buyer see the house that sits underneath it all. Then make the beds. If you want to do more, and really you should, take a hard look around. Are your surfaces covered in decorations? If so, are these here because they enhance the room, or because they have sentimental value? If the answer is the latter, get rid of it, at least for the time being. Start packing, even if you don’t know where you are going to move. You will be glad you did for at least a couple of reasons. First, potential buyers won’t be distracted by your clutter, and second, you’ll be that much further along when it does come time to move.
Look around the home again. Is it crowded? If you have more furniture than you absolutely need, or than fits comfortably in the room, consider packing it up also. The same goes for projects you’ve been working on. If you aren’t actively working on them, put them away until after the move. Renting storage space is a good idea once a critical eye shows you just how much you can remove from your home while it is for sale.
But all this doesn’t mean emptying your home to achieve that un-lived-in feel. On the contrary, you want your home to be cozy. There is a balance between cluttered and cozy, and you must find it. Once you’ve done a thorough clean-up, which obviously includes making bathrooms and kitchens shine (these are key selling features and should not be overlooked), make the beds and toss the pillows neatly on the couch. Position your remaining decorations in a way that truly accents the room, such as placing two dramatic candle sticks on the mantel, or even a teddy bear on a tidy bed.
To help make the rooms feel live-able and warm, turn on the lights. So often, these real estate pictures I mentioned at the start of this article have been taken at night. Dark windows or even closed blinds make a home look dreary to me right away. Have your agent come by during the day to take pictures of your home, and be sure to take advantage of both natural and artificial light to make your home appear bright and desirable.
When it’s time for your home to be shown, play some quiet, mellow music during showings, but by all means, leave the tv off. Consider creating some pleasant smells, as these too impact a buyer’s first impression.
By making your home stand out, you increase your chances of a quick sale, at the rate you are asking. So do yourself a favor and put in that extra effort. You’ll be glad you did.