Your home as an expert internship

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Regardless of what’s going on in the real estate market when you want to sell your home, there are two simple rules to follow to ensure a quick sale: price it well and make it look amazing. And to be fair, no matter what the asking price is, your appearance should still be flawless.

One of the costliest mistakes home sellers, and even inexperienced realtors, make is ignoring the visual psychology involved in getting a potential buyer’s immediate attention. There’s more involved than tossing grass seeds and hitting a layer of pain in the living room before the For Sale sign is put up out front!

A potential buyer becomes interested in a property when he sees himself living in that house. As a shopper walks, inspects, looks, touches and feels, they also imagine what it would be like to dine in the dining room, play with the kids in the backyard, or even organize tools in the garage.

You must master the psychology of making each potential buyer feel like the owner, not a guest.

To do this effectively, a seller must make their home as impersonal and attractive as possible to impress the buyer’s visual acuity. This may seem mutually exclusive, but in reality both must go hand in hand to achieve the goal of obtaining a viable offer in the shortest time possible.

If you, the salesperson, insist on having family photos hanging all over the place, little Jimmy’s work displayed proudly on the refrigerator, bathroom countertops stocked with makeup and perfume bottles, don’t expect much success from the start. After all, how can a buyer envision himself as a prospective homeowner when your home screams for you and your family in every square inch?

Do not be afraid! Follow these simple steps and you will receive offers on your first open house.

o Make a realistic assessment of the condition of your property. We all get so used to having some minor flaws in our environment that we really believe they don’t exist. The leaky kitchen faucet, the patches of dead grass in the back, the bathroom counter that has needed new grout for the past two years, and the baseboard in the hallway that your dog turned for lunch all those years ago, Fix them now! You may be used to living like this, but these problems will not impress anyone who comes to see your home.

o If your home has rooms that might be considered too unique for most people’s tastes, make them landscape neutral before trying to sell them. Your daughter’s hot pink walls and carpets won’t be very exciting for a new family with only three children.

o Wash your windows! It’s amazing how many homeowners spend literally thousands of dollars remodeling and redecorating, yet their windows have years of dirt built up inside and out.

o Clean up the trash. Remember: people want to think of their home as their home while walking and inspecting. A serious shopper will open drawers, search cabinets, check cabinets, and examine the refrigerator. Don’t make the mistake of throwing things into a closet or under the bed or garage thinking that they will be hidden from view.

o Delete personal family photos. You may be proud of weddings and awards, but no one else cares.

o Any artwork, painting, or wall tapestry should be limited to “tasteless.” Imagine that you are decorating a hotel room.

o Open as much space as possible. Kitchen counters are notorious for becoming scrap collectors. Get rid of the nik naks who have no other purpose than to look cute. If you have something that can fit in a drawer, put it there. If you have a dish drainer on your countertop, put it away every time you show the house. Ideally, the only items you should keep on a counter would be a toaster oven, microwave, coffee maker, and perhaps some very well-crafted and relevant décor. (For example, if your kitchen is done with a rooster theme, it’s okay to have a nice rooster sculpture that adds to the ambiance and decor.)

o If your kitchen trash can is outdoors, make sure it has a lid or lid. Buy one if you need one.

o Empty trash in all rooms: bathrooms, laundry, etc.

o Remove the tablecloths, they look cumbersome.

o Remove religious artifacts. Crosses, statues, prayer books, Bibles … save them.

o If your furniture is outdated or in poor condition, consider putting it away and renting some pieces. Ugly, old, and dirty furniture will never help you sell a home. The rental investment will pay off.

o If your home is small, seriously consider getting rid of some of the unnecessary furniture and “stuff” that clogs up the floor space. You should create open areas to prevent buyers from looking too cramped. Foot stools, coffee tables that really take up space, magazine racks, and large plants are unnecessary when it comes to displaying a home.

o How does your house smell? By now you are used to it, so ask a trusted friend or neighbor what your impression might be. Is it moldy? Do you always smell like last night’s dinner? Or even worse, does it smell like a zoo? Twenty minutes before each performance, light some scented candles. The light they emit not only makes the home very “homely” and cozy, it also helps eliminate or mask odors.

o If you have room-size rugs that have seen better days, replace them. You can buy outrageously cheap room-size rugs at any local discount store and they look gorgeous! If removing the rugs and exposing the flooring underneath doesn’t add value to the overall look, then replacing the rugs is a must.

o What does a house sell? Kitchens and bathrooms. Even though bedrooms and dining rooms still need to be properly cleaned, organized, and cleared, kitchens and bathrooms need that extra attention to detail. Make sure they sparkle, smell wonderful, and enjoy a beautiful glow of pale light. Keep the lights dim, not to hide blemishes, but to add ambience.

o Make sure your bathrooms are spotless! Clean grout and tiles are a must. If you can’t do it yourself, hire a professional company with the right chemicals to remove mold and renovate tiles. A dirty, moldy bathroom will kill a deal faster than a hard sell price!

o Aromas! Buy flower scented candles and air fresheners for bathrooms and even bedrooms, but get a “cookie” or “cake” scented candle for the kitchen.

o Fresh flowers at the entrance and in the kitchen are a nice touch.

After everything has been cleaned up, sorted, organized, fixed, replaced, or scrapped, go back and do a final assessment. Always put yourself in the buyer’s shoes. If you were looking at your home for the first time, would you want to buy it?

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