Why on Earth did your neighbor sell his house so quickly? His home wasn’t nearly as attractive as yours, and he only had it on the market for a month! Perhaps he had these five tips for making a home more appealing to potential buyers!
1. Increase your home’s “curb appeal”
What is curb appeal? It is the very first impression a potential buyer has when he or she pulls up to your house.
To increase your curb appeal, try taking a short walk. On your way home, slowly stroll past your house and see what your impression is. Try and notice small details, as if you were summing the place up as a prospective buyer. What do you see? Are the driveway, yard, and walkway free of any litter, leaves, and clutter? Does the lawn need to be watered or mowed? What do you notice right away that you like about your house? Is there something you can do to make it even more noticeable? For example, if you love the large windows, you can do something to enhance their appeal. If you have some money to spend, shutters are a great way to make windows more attractive. If you are on a tight budget, even something simple, such as a vase of flowers, a hanging plant, or some attractive curtains (the kind which look nice from both sides) can draw the eye to your windows. What are some things you notice that you don’t like about your house? Does it have a flat, boring appearance from the outside? To add some depth, try some large potted plants, benches, or big rocks. Shrubs and small trees just outside the house will also add some appeal.
2. Add accents just outside your house
A welcome-mat just outside the front door, big numbers attached to the side of your house to announce the street address, a well-lit entrance to your home, and a clean front stoop are nice additions. Make sure all exterior light bulbs and your doorbell work! You won’t want to give a bad first impression by having anything out of order.
If you have any money to spend on adding appeal to your home, a small flower-bed on either side of the walk-way close to the front door is an excellent way to spend it. Small details like the address stickers on your mailbox and the address painted on the curb of your driveway will be noticed in a subliminal way by people shopping for a new home. Spotlessly clean windows are an absolute must!
3. Bring that home-like feeling to the inside of your house
When you are selling your house, a good goal to keep in mind is to have people feel like this place is a home. You’ll want potential buyers to really see themselves living in this house. A good way to do this is to add home-like accents without getting too personal. (If you have too many awards, pictures of family, or unique family belongings displayed, it can make a prospective buyer feel it would be strange to live in your home.)
It may sound like a cliché, but any place with the smell of baking bread or cookies feels inviting. To make it easy on yourself, you can buy some brown-and-serve rolls or some refrigerated cookie-dough to pop in the oven right before a showing is scheduled.
Use warm colors to make rooms feel comfortable, yet tastefully decorated. Toned-down red, brown, taupe, green, mauve, and grey are good colors to try. Accents of bright white will stand out beautifully among the more subdued colors. While no one is coming into your home to buy your couch, throw-pillows, tablecloths, wastebaskets or candles, all these things really do make a huge difference in how someone perceives a room.
If you have a dog or cat, it would be a good time to let them outside or into the garage. If someone is allergic, he or she may be paranoid your animal will leave behind their hair after you move. If your dog likes to jump, sniff or lick people, it may annoy a serious potential buyer enough for them not to fully pay attention to the all the good points your home has!
4. Solve problems with tricks
Of course you don’t want to trick anyone into buying your home. Because there will be a legitimate appraisal and home inspection, buyers will know exactly what they are getting into. However, you’ve always felt the living room was a little cramped. If you put two or more mirrors in the room, it will instantly look much bigger. If you’ve never thought the guest-bedroom was bright enough, splurge a little for the more expensive, brighter bulbs that are supposed to mimic natural light. If your pantry smells a little funky and someone is coming to look at your place in a few minutes, open a container or two of baking soda and place them inside. Do this a minute or so after spraying a nice-smelling air freshener into the area.
5. Flowers and plants make any indoor space much more appealing
A real estate agent recently sold a home with a lovely slate fireplace. She didn’t understand why, but when she showed the property, no one noticed it. Even though the house was vacant and the distraction of furniture was gone, the fireplace went unnoticed. After several showings during which nobody noticed the fireplace, she brought a vase from her home, and stuck a couple daffodils inside. She placed the flowers on the mantle. At the very next showing, her client was immediately drawn to the beautiful fireplace. He didn’t say a word about the flowers or the vase, but noticed the fireplace right away. If you have some really nice features inside your house, put a simple vase (even just a glass will do!) with a few flowers inside on or near the special features you’d like people to notice. Several nice, good-sized houseplants in each room will also give your house a more comfortable feel.
It can be easy and inexpensive to play up your home’s market-appeal. Most of the time, it is equally simple to correct small details which take away from a home’s charm. All you really need to do is look at the inside and outside of your home with the perspective of a homebuyer. What you see (or what you think is missing) will guide you in the right direction.