What a long and dreary winter we had here in the Tri-Lakes Area! Thankfully, the days are getting longer and warmer, the birds are chirping and things are finally starting to bloom; Spring, or “selling season,” as I like to call it, is once again upon us!
If you’ve decided that this is the time to list your house, there are many things to be done. Think of it like your house is dating and looking for the perfect mate. Your listing pictures are going to be the first impression for prospective buyers and these will decide whether or not you get a “date,” i.e. a “showing. When you’ve gotten someone interested enough to want to see your house in person you want to make the very best impression you can!
To begin, go around and take a good inventory of your property and make a list of things to do. Enlisting the help of a friend or neighbor can give you a fresh perspective. They’ll notice things you’ve grown accustomed to and may look right past.
Start outside. Curb appeal! This is the “face” of your home. No matter how simple or grand a home is, a neat exterior is important and it says a lot about how you maintain the rest of your house. If your siding is looking a little green, power wash it. Re-stain decks and fences as needed. Plant some colorful flowers, trim up your bushes, and put a fresh layer of mulch out. Make sure the yard is mowed and edged neatly, and don’t forget to sweep the front porch.
The second thing potential buyers are going to notice is how your house smells. Open the windows and give it a nice airing out. Candles and plug-ins can be nice in small doses, but they can also be overwhelming. I once showed a house that smelled so much like plug-in maple syrup that I wanted to wait outside. If you have pets, and you don’t smell anything, ask a blunt friend if your house smells. If the cat or dog has marked its territory, you may have to replace the carpet. Last fall I showed a beautiful house that smelled so much like cat pee that we called it, “The Cat House.” My buyer’s couldn’t get past it. It did finally sell – with a nice carpet allowance provided by the seller. Conversely, I once showed a house that smelled overwhelmingly like dogs. My dog-lover buyer didn’t mind a bit. In fact she said it, “smelled like corn chips.”
Next, go around and make sure all flooring, walls, trim, and paint are in good shape. On the subject of paint: Color choice is extremely subjective and the odds of you and a potential buyer having the same taste are minuscule. If you have wild colors, consider repainting in a neutral palate. You want a potential buyer to envision themselves living in your house. Paint is such an easy fix, but still I hear time and again, “oh but those paint colors!”
If you’re not normally a freak about cleanliness, this is the time to become one. Clean your oven- people will open it. Dust your air returns. Clear the clutter off of your kitchen countertops. And make sure your bathrooms shine like the top of the Chrysler building.
A little bit of work goes a long way. You’ll thank yourself at the closing table. Now go sell your house!
April Redford is a real estate agent with Reece Nichols. You can contact her at 417-386-7126 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.