Tips for Making Your Home More Desirable Before You Sell

Once you’ve made the decision to sell your home there are a few things to consider before finding a realtor and putting that “For Sale” sign in the ground.

While the most important factor is to set your price for the right amount of money for the neighborhood you’re located in, the next step is setting the stage and making your home stand out to potential buyers.

Because first impressions count, especially in real estate, small changes and touches can make all the difference.

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Make a Good First Impression

Before potential buyers step foot inside, they’re going to be looking at the outside and making a mental note of its curb appeal. You want the most appealing look from the sidewalk to your front door.

  • Landscaping –Clean up both the front and backyard (if you have one) to make sure it looks spotless. Trim any bushes or shrubs so they are well manicured. If you have a deck, you might want to consider pressure washing for a clean look.
  • Dress up your front door – If your door is old and worn, touch it up with a fresh coat of paint as opposed to replacing the door completely. Consider hanging a wreath that shows some of your personal style.
  • Swap outdated fixtures – Take a look at your door knobs, house numbers, mailbox, and outdoor light fixtures to make sure they’re all in good condition.

Create a Welcoming Environment

Once a potential buyer steps inside you’re going to want them to feel like they’ve just walked into their new home. The goal here is for them to visualize themselves living in your property and with a few touches you’ll be able to pull it off. Don’t go overboard though, less is always more!

  • Plants and Flowers – Fresh or not, quality plants and flowers are attractive to the eye when scattered throughout the home. Choose ones with a fresh, clean scent, nothing too over powering. Décor magazines are a great source of inspiration to help in choosing and placing the best greenery.
  • Fresh coat of paint – By giving walls a once over you’re breathing new life back into those rooms. Experts recommend neutral colors (think grays and beiges) because they’re not distracting. Plus, they make the space appear lighter and brighter which can be a big plus for a room that does not receive a lot of natural light.
  • Clean Up – Before each showing it’s important to make sure your home, both inside and outside, is spotless. It’s a common mistake people make when selling.

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Eliminate Clutter

By decluttering, buyers are able to visualize much easier than in a home that’s filled with tons of stuff. You want to showcase the amount of potential space the new owners will have, not the other way around so take a look and see what you can let go of.

  • Closets – Empty by at least half (rent a storage unit if you have to); this will give the buyer an idea of how much storage they’ll have. On the flip side, it’s a good opportunity to go through what you don’t want; that way you won’t have to pack up and move items that you no longer have a use for.
  • Den/Office area – Any bills, mail, papers that you absolutely do not need get rid of and for the rest of the things you do need, find an out of sight spot where they won’t be seen.
  • Play area – Children’s toys shouldn’t be visible; plus it’s a good time to go through everything and donate the ones they no longer play with.

Let There Be Light

The bigger your home feels the more it will appeal to buyers. While you can’t do anything to increase the size, you can make sure it’s as bright as possible.

  • Open your curtains – This will bring in as much natural light as possible.
  • Darker rooms – For those spaces that do not receive as much natural light as others, invest in some light fixtures and strategically place them around to illuminate even the darkest of spots.

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Take Advantage of Space

Sticking with the theme of creating a space that appears larger, lightening is not the only way to achieve that feel.

  • Rearrange and remove furniture – Removing bulky pieces of furniture is another way to open up a room. Those larger pieces make a space feel smaller so if you can eliminate a few it will give off a more open feeling.

Remember, you don’t have to spend a ton amount of money when creating a warm and inviting space that perspective homeowners can envision themselves living in, you just need to make some improvements that will help showcase the beauty of your home.

Selling on your Own

Like pacing up and down the platform of the C train for another 20 minutes versus giving up and hailing a cab in peak hour traffic, there are pros and cons to every decision. Selling your own home can be a slippery slope you don’t want to climb, so before you open up a can of worms and make the big decision – here’s our decision-making cheat sheet.

Time and dime again
When are you looking to move? Are you planning to stay in the New York area? Do you need to sell before you buy? Weeding out all your priorities and obligations early will ensure your journey ahead is more like a well mowed lawn rather than an untamed forest. Understanding the window of time you have to sell will maximize your potential show off your home’s best qualities.

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Home (Selling) Alone – not always a comedy
If you want to do it without real estate agents or brokers, in typical New York style, there are a bunch of FSBO (For Sale By Owner) services that are popping up faster than Starbucks in Williamsburg. If you’re not the GPS type and prefer the no frills hardcopy maps, these services will give you the essential tips you need to promote your property, determine a real estate lawyer is required and guide you towards the necessary paperwork. Don’t believe Hollywood – it’s not as easy as hammering a sign onto your lawn (of New York City fire escape) and expecting the buyers to appear. You have to do the work and invest the time in a self-made crash course to become your own real estate expert.

There are ways to get the word out about your property when going alone, but why whisper when you can roar?

Profession-now support
If “overtime”, “conference call” or “school pick-up” are words that appear daily in yourschedule – selling your home on your own might not work. You have job! Being hands-on with your Christmas family feast may be a good thing, but when it comes to potential buyers inspecting your home – they might not want anything to do with you! It sounds harsh, but buyers want to be able to envision themselves owning this new space and feel comfortable having a candid conversation about price, responsibilities and deadlines. Speaking directly to owners can be unnerving. Switch the emotion for profession. It’s real estate agents’ full-time job!

People power
What’s on the top of real estate agents’ list to Santa? More lists! Some would say an agent is only as valuable as his or her list is updated – and it’s hard to argue. Agents have a huge list of reliable contacts to reach out to ranging first-home buyers, investors and corporate relocations. Let a qualified real estate agent power up your sale through and conserve your own energy for a burden-less and rewarding transition.

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Know can-do!
On top if the real estate jargon and the housing market, real estate agents inter-borough experts and know how to effectively advertise your home to potential buyers who are looking to move into your almost-old neighborhood. An agent will help you hit that sweet spot that won’t be jarring to see online amongst a collage of other listings and won’t immediately turn buyers off. Instead, they’re trained to peak their interest with the right numbers and words.

Buyers use brokers too
As much as you don’t want to deal with flakey or inconsistent enquiries from independent buyers, time-poor buyers also want to get cut to the chase with a broker whose full-time job it is to respond to their every need. A serious buyer is going to use a reputable broker because they have sound advice, trust, and legal responsibility. Brokers remove the security risk of a novice, but determined, buyer and you can win them over too – if you’re working with the right team.