How to Get Top Dollar When Selling Your Home

December 5, 2012

Are you selling your home? Or are you thinking of selling your home, but convinced there’s still too much work to do before it’s really ready for sale?  You could be right, but that doesn’t mean you have to spend a fortune either!

Simple decorating tricks can often be all you need to market your home to your particular buyer. It’s called home staging and the goal is that you strategically style your home to fit the psychological (often subconscious) needs of the buyer.

When you look for a new home, your basic criteria is pretty straightforward…

  1. You want to immediately be able to imagine yourself living there.
  2. You want to feel that living there will be convenient and easy
  3. You want to know you are getting bang for your buck

SO! It stands to reason that your décor choices are in sync with those of your buyer, does it not? Here’s an example of how it can work…

Let’s say you have 2 young children but because of the location you also know your home will really appeal to plenty of first-home buyers without kids.  Perhaps you could benefit by turning your second child’s room into a study, and putting both littlies in one room while you’re trying to sell? It just may showcase your family home better to potential “DINK” buyers, letting them see how it could also look to them in a slightly different configuration? Perhaps a 2 bedroom plus study may be more what they are looking for to meet their current lifestyle needs?

The number one rule:  1st impressions matter – and more than once!

If you doubt me, just ask my wife (Alison from Style Counsel).  She’s been drumming this in to  her corporate clients  for years!

The first time a potential buyer lays eyes on your home is from the street. It’s called street appeal. The next first impression occurs as they approach/open your front door. BUT, don’t forget, another first impression happens in every single room they enter from there too! Not as simple as you thought, huh? If you want to sell your home and get the best possible price, you really need to make ALL of those first impressions simply AMAZING!

Step 1 – DITCH: This first step is probably the toughest because it involves decorating your beloved home NOT as your beloved home, but as a marketable house. It means ditching almost everything personal on display. Eeek! I know! Not easy! This includes family photographs, everyday toiletries, mail/bill piles, and other personal/sentimental belongings. All bathroom and kitchen surfaces should be cleared, except for perhaps a couple of simple decorative accessories. If you’re really strong (read “keen to sell fast”) you could also remove old wallpaper and paint all rooms in a neutral colour. Why? Your home becomes a blank canvas to which potential buyers can ADD  their own style. You won’t polarize buyers with your personal tastes; it enables every person who enters your home to see themselves living there without being distracted by the preferences of those who currently do…that’s you!

Step 2 – CLEAN: Sorry. Sounds boring and obvious but it’s simply imperative! How clean? The house needs to be absolutely sparkling. I mean washing windows inside and out, shining the kitchen sink, dusting skirting-boards, bleaching grout etc etc. And make sure it smells as clean as it looks too. It may sound silly and even kind of pretentious, but you should also remove anything that says to potential buyers that keeping this home exactly like this requires little or no elbow grease. How? Remove all evidence of cleaning materials –  that’s laundry baskets, dish-cloths, cleaning products etc. I know that we all know that every home requires work, but subliminally, when buyers look at a potential new home they don’t want to see work. They want to be convinced that it’s maintenance free.  Trust me, we all want that, even though we also know it’s not possible. Call it “smoke and mirrors” if you must, but just do it!

Step 3 – LESS IS MORE: Again, another tip I’ve gleaned from my lovely wife… Make sure that all cupboards and storage areas (I mean ALL) appear half full. This applies to wardrobes, linen cupboards, the pantry, under-stair storage, laundry etc. Perhaps you could also consider removing pieces of furniture in certain rooms to enhance that feeling of space? Maybe you could loan the odd sofa, chair or console-table to a friend – or borrow their garage for storage for the time-being?. Or start selling now, the things you know you probably won’t be needing when you move into your new home?

Basically, the rule is to put into storage any items you feel you can easily live without during the selling period. Remember, in today’s market it could be quite a while, so think carefully but ruthlessly! The feeling of space it will create will ultimately spell $$$ to you whilst convincing  potential buyers that your humble three-bedroom has plenty of room for them to grow.

So go on! What are you waiting for? It’s not really that hard to meet the market and sell you home for what it is worth – or well above. And if you want someone to look at your home (who’s not a potential buyer OR a Real Estate Agent) with fresh eyes,  then contact me for an obligation free once-over and get some  great ideas on how to stage your home for sale…

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