The Secrets to Getting Your House SOLD
Your house has been on the market for months. You've got a great relationship with your real estate agent and other houses on the block have sold, but despite a few visitors, you haven't had an offer. You can blame it on the economy or the housing market, but there's a chance that the cause of your market stagnancy can be found in something as trivial as bad lighting, overgrown flower beds, dust bunnies under the sofa and your collection of German beer steins.
"Home sellers often underestimate the importance of the little things. They either don't want to spend the money to fix up their home or they don't think it's important, since someone new is moving in anyway," says Nikki Hagen, Realtor with Century 21 Bessette Realty. "Selling a house can be a frustrating and daunting task, even without the small touch-ups, but if you don't take care of these small details, it is more likely to become even more frustrating. When it comes to making the sale, success really is in the details."
Hagen says one of the most important things to consider is how your house appears from the outside. First impressions can make a world of difference in selling your home. The front of the house should be attractive, welcoming, neat and clean. Make sure the grass stays cut, the garden is weeded and hedges are trimmed. If you want to really ensure that the front of your house stands out above the rest, plant some flowers and do a little landscaping. Another option would be too add decorative pots with plants to the front and/or back porch.
"It's amazing how much of a difference good landscaping can make in creating a welcoming and attractive atmosphere for a home," Hagen says. "It doesn't take much to make a difference."
Once potential homebuyers are attracted to the outside look of your home, make sure you keep them hooked when they walk through the door. To make an effective impression, your house must be clean. Steam clean your carpets. Dust the shelves. Wipe down countertops and windows. Mop the floors. "Basically, you want to do a floor-to-ceiling cleaning of your home," Hagen says. "You want visitors to see the best attributes of your home, not dust and grime."
Another overlooked aspect of interior preparation, according to Hagen, is the ability to create an atmosphere that appeals to people of all tastes and walks of life. When a potential buyer walks through your living room, den, dining room and bedrooms, they don't want to see you – they want to see themselves. It doesn't take much to turn off a buyer during the walk-through.
"If you collect safari animals and your house is decorated with animal prints, you may want to consider downplaying those things during the visits. A potential buyer will see it as your house, not theirs, and if they don't like animal print, it may be difficult for them to see past it," Hagen says. "The best thing to do is keep everything neutral, from the colors to the furniture. Then, when your buyers are walking through the rooms, they can think about where to put their couch, instead of thinking about how they don't like the color of yours. Everyone's tastes are different. By neutralizing, you'll help your house appeal as many people as possible."
Another element that is sometimes overlooked is lighting, according to Hagen. Make sure all the interior and exterior lights are working. In darker areas that have limited access to natural light, make sure you choose lighting schemes that create a comfortable and relaxing atmosphere. Natural light is always best, adds Hagen, so make sure you open your curtains.
A final word of wisdom: "Minimize, minimize, minimize," Hagen says. "If your house is cluttered, clean it out. If your walls are packed from top to bottom with family photos, take some down. Bring them to a storage room or put them in the attic. You do not want your potential buyers to be focused on your thing; you want them to focus on your home. Clutter makes your house appear much smaller, which isn't a good thing. Give your potential buyers breathing room so they have a good understanding of the space and can easily imagine it as ‘their space'."
For more information about selling a home, call CENTURY 21 Bessette at 474-2185 or visit