You’ve made the decision to sell your home, and you want to get the maximum possible sale price. So what do you need to do to get it ready? There are a million web sites out there that will tell you the basics on how to prepare it for market, some of them good, some of them way off base, but most of them way too generic to really be helpful. Here’s how you need to be thinking.
It’s not yours anymore. You need to think of it as a business transaction. Many people have emotional attachments to their home, especially if they have lived there for a long time – it holds the memories of your life. You have decorated it to be comfortable for you, with your colors and decorating style. It has been your refuge at the end of each day. When you make the decision to sell one of the most difficult things can be to no longer think of it as yours. When you make the decision to sell you need to stop thinking of it as your “home,” and begin thinking of it as a product you need to “merchandise” for sale. It’s not about a critique of your decorating style; it’s about making changes that will make it appealing to the maximum number of potential buyers who are likely to see pictures of it online before they see it live. For example, you may love the lavender paint in the bathroom, but it’s very “taste-specific,” and will not appeal to everyone.
Don’t spend money preparing it before you get professional advice. Many sellers begin doing what they think needs to be done to get it sold, and end up spending money on the wrong things. We’ve met with sellers who have replaced driveways, roofs, windows, and other expensive items, while ignoring other more minor things that are critical to getting it sold. When their house does not sell they just can’t understand why. They’ve spent all this money, why aren’t buyers writing an offer. Make sure you get professional advice from a trusted listing agent to truthfully tell you what needs to be done and how to prioritize it. Beware of agents who tell you “nothing” needs to be done just to get you to sign a listing agreement. You need to work with someone who will tell you “what you need to know to get it sold,” not “what you want to hear.”
If you still think you know exactly what to do from watching HGTV, above all else, please do not paint it white or use glossy paint, even in bathrooms or kitchens! Somewhere along the line many of us have been told that to sell your house you need to paint it white, and be sure to use “glossy” paint in kitchens and bathrooms so it can be scrubbed. I do not know who started this ugly rumor but it’s just not true. All white is cold and “institutional,” and glossy paint just shows every flaw in the walls! Talk to a professional before you spend money!