Make Sure Your House Is Ready,Too

Milwaukee Magazine - - Culture -

You may be ready to move on, but to make that hap­pen it is im­por­tant to get your house ready to sell. The time you in­vest in get­ting your house ready to sell can have sig­nif­i­cant im­pact on how long it takes to find a buyer and what that buyer is will­ing to pay.

It’s time to think dif­fer­ently about your house. Po­ten­tial buy­ers are not tour­ing your house to see how you live in it; they are look­ing at how they would live in the house and whether it ac­com­mo­dates their needs. Here are five tips to help you take charge of what a po­ten­tial buyer ex­pe­ri­ences as they eval­u­ate your house to pur­chase.

CURB AP­PEAL It takes about one minute for po­ten­tial buy­ers to have a first im­pres­sion of your home, and this im­pres­sion stays with them even af­ter they have walked through the en­tire house.

To un­der­stand how your house ap­pears to strangers, drive up to your house and park on the street. Walk slowly to the front door. Peo­ple look at the yard and land­scap­ing, no­tice how well kept the walk­ways are, if the main en­trance is wel­com­ing and the im­pres­sion they have as they first en­ter the house. Ask your­self what kind of im­pres­sion this first minute would make and take the time to max­i­mize this ini­tial ex­po­sure.

AP­PLY THE RULE “LESS IS BEST” Get rid of clut­ter both in­side and out. In­side, de-clut­ter­ing in­cludes tak­ing out un­nec­es­sary fur­ni­ture and sim­pli­fy­ing your dé­cor. The re­sults may not be the way you want to live in your house, but it is the best way to show your house to oth­ers. Your ob­jec­tive is to make ev­ery room look big­ger and more spa­cious. Buy­ers want to look at the house, not the way it is dec­o­rated. The less you have in a room, the bet­ter peo­ple are able to see how their fur­ni­ture and life­style will fit. Con­sider us­ing off-site stor­age if nec­es­sary. In the kitchen, put away your ev­ery­day items so the coun­ters are clear. Add flow­ers or just a few dec­o­ra­tive pieces. If you have hard­wood floors, re­move large area rugs that cover up the floor­ing. This helps rooms look more spa­cious and shows off hard­wood floor­ing that is so pop­u­lar to­day.

LIGHT­ING Make rooms as bright as pos­si­ble. Light up dark places and change light bulbs to a higher wattage. One of the first com­ments from buy­ers when they like a house is “it has great light” and “the house gets a lot of sun­light.”Turn on all of the lights and, if it’s sunny, open the cur­tains be­fore show­ing a house to po­ten­tial buy­ers. On sunny days open the cur­tains. You should also clean the win­dows; you want to bring in sun­light, not show the dirt.

OR­GA­NIZE CLOS­ETS Or­ga­niz­ing clos­ets can be a daunt­ing task for those who pile clothes and other items into clos­ets with the “out of sight, out of mind” ap­proach. How­ever, clos­ets and stor­age space are im­por­tant to buy­ers, and they will look in your clos­ets. Make sure they get the right im­pres­sion! Dis­or­ga­nized and clut­tered space sug­gests that there isn’t enough stor­age space in the house. Or­ga­nized clos­ets and stor­age ar­eas show that you have plenty of clos­ets and stor­age. AD­DRESS IS­SUES OF MAIN­TE­NANCE AND UP­KEEP Do an in­ven­tory of all main­te­nance and up­keep jobs that need to be ad­dressed. Some of the most no­tice­able is­sues to home­buy­ers are cracked and de­te­ri­o­rat­ing ma­sonry, bro­ken glass, miss­ing roof tiles, rot­ted boards and loose rail­ings. It is well worth the time and money to do these re­pairs or have them done. If these types of items are not ad­dressed when you to show the house, they will be brought up dur­ing the home in­spec­tion and in price ne­go­ti­a­tions. In some mar­kets sell­ers have a pre-list­ing in­spec­tion. This can cost sev­eral hun­dred dol­lars but will pre­pare the sell­ers for what might need to be taken care of and what is likely to come up dur­ing a buyer’s home in­spec­tion. It is bet­ter not to have sur­prises.

Pre­par­ing your house to show well can make a sig­nif­i­cant dif­fer­ence in how long it takes to sell and the price buy­ers are will­ing to pay. A well­staged home al­lows the po­ten­tial buyer to see how they would use the space and how well it ac­com­mo­dates their needs. Proper light­ing, lack of clut­ter and ob­vi­ous care and main­te­nance are im­por­tant fac­tors when buy­ers are com­par­ing homes they are con­sid­er­ing to pur­chase.

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