Every prospective buyer is look for the perfect home. Not just a home, mind you, but THE home. Finding the perfect home is about as challenging as finding your soul mate. How do you make sure your home has a real shot at being THE home those buyers are going to fall in love with?
First, you need to know that the majority of buyers are looking for move-in-ready properties. Yes, there is the occasional DIYer who wants to buy a fixer-upper at a bargain basement price, but those buyers are definitely in the minority. The key to starting that love affair you’re dreaming about is up to you—buyers will fall in love when they can picture themselves living in your home. You need to create a blank slate, but a very attractive blank slate. Here are ten easy ways to do that. Let’s start inside.
- Hire Mr. Clean. You need to clean your home from top to bottom, front to back. Hire help if you need it. But please don’t leave the place smelling of Pine Sol. Get it clean, air it out, and then install some low-key non-allergenic scent, such as vanilla, cinnamon or a fresh air scent like linen or ocean breeze.
- Declutter. Remove almost everything from your countertops or other flat surfaces. Put your family pictures away, keep small appliances out of sight. What’s left out should be decorative rather than functional. Everyone knows you have a coffee pot and a blender—we just don’t want to see them.
- Hide the pets. More important, hide the evidence of the pets. Yes, you love Fido and Fluffy, but we really don’t want to see (or smell) that litter box in the bathroom or a chew toy on the kitchen floor. Pet hair visible anywhere is a major downer.
- Look down. If your carpet is worn and dirty, it may not be enough to have it cleaned. New carpet makes a home look move-in ready, which is what buyers want. It has that new home smell too. If hardwood floors are scratched or damaged, consider refinishing or replacing them as well.
- Paint is cheap. It’s probably the cheapest single thing you can do to make your home look clean and neutral, so your prospective buyers can visualize themselves adding their own decorative touches. Use a medium beige or taupe with white trim. Paint your front door a bright color for more curb appeal.
- Get rid of play equipment. Not all buyers have kids, and those who do may have different viewpoints about play from what you have. Take down the basketball goal, get rid of the tree house and trampoline—some mothers see them as safety hazards.
- Think in Technicolor. Depending on the season and your geographic location, go for as much color as you can around the front of the home. Flowers bordering the walkways, in pots on the front porch—go for maximum visibility from the street. Keep lawns mowed and sidewalks swept.
- Shutter up. If the house has shutters, have them freshly painted. You can’t go wrong with white, but depending on the exterior of your house, black or another dark contrasting color can look rich. If you don’t have shutters, you might consider adding them to give the home a cozy feel.
- Patch, patch, patch. Make sure there are no cracks in the driveway or the sidewalks. Powerwashing the outside of the house will get rid of cobwebs and make it look sharp. It will also reveal anything that’s loose or cracked so you can repair it.
- Replace the hardware. Starting with the house numbers, anything that’s metal on the outside of your home should sparkle. Polish might work, but if in doubt, replace. The same goes for the hardware on your freshly painted front door—the hardware should look brand new. Exterior light fixtures should be in working order and should shine brightly, both in the daytime and after dark.
And now for the outside.
Recent research has revealed that 64 percent of men and 75 percent of women place the master bath at the top of their priority list when purchasing a home. So if you have a few extra bucks to burn, use them to create the best looking master bath you can manage.
Many of us look for a mate with a logical list of our personal criteria. And we look for a home the same way. But when the chemistry and emotional connection come together, logic goes out the window. We follow our hearts. Take these steps to make your house a home where potential buyers can fall in love.