Milwaukee Magazine


Make Sure Your House Is Ready,Too


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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