When selling a house, you must stop thinking of it as your ‘home’-it has become a neutral real estate property rather than something you used to live in. Many housing experts attribute long periods of unsuccessful resale efforts to a seller being unable to separate their emotional attachment to the old house they used to live in.
Make the house completely neutral.
An attractive house for a buyer is one that they can see themselves living in. As such, if you leave old furniture, family wall photos and personalized decor in the house while potential buyers are visiting, it’s hard for them to ‘make it theirs’ in their mind. Make sure the home is completely anonymous so that the widest spectrum of buyers will be enticed.
Pay attention to fixtures.
Often times house buyers will be completely turned off from a viable new property when they go to open the cabinet and notice something ‘off’ about it. The best way to counter this is to buy new handles, fixtures, and knobs for everything in the kitchen area and the bathrooms. This simple tactic could be the difference between an impressive open house showing and an underwhelming one.
Have everything in good running order.
Make sure everything in the house is in good working order, from the appliances to the plumbing and even the water pressure. Make sure there isn’t anything a buyer would find disappointing, as most buyers will inevitably ‘tinker’ with the water faucets, toilets, light switches, and random appliances just to make sure there are no glaring maintenance issues.
A well-lived-in house might require a thorough painting job before being presentable. If there are excessive scuff marks on the walls from kids or any kind of water damage, it won’t be very attractive for potential buyers to see. Ensure the asking price can remain high by repainting (and repairing as necessary) wherever faded colors or dirt has accumulated, and also try to keep colors white (again, neutral).
Have presentable floors and carpets.
There’s nothing as undesirable for buyers as walking into a new home where the carpet smells old and musty, or the floor tiles are stained and cracked. As a house seller, take the time and effort to replace old carpeting/floor tiles that have seen years of use. Again, keep the color of the new carpets/floor as neutral as possible.
Make sure doors and windows work.
Nothing more embarrassing for a real estate agent who is giving buyers a tour of a home than to encounter a ‘tough’ door or window. If the buyer has to use extra effort to open a window or a door, that is a big negative towards them being impressed. Make liberal use of WD40 for the creaky, difficult-to-open windows, doorknobs and hinges prior to an open house.
Control the odor.
Many houses that have difficulty being sold may have an unusual ‘odor’ that stems from a previous occupant smoking in the house frequently or owning pets. There is probably no ‘best’ long-term solution to this (without spending excessive amounts of money in remodeling efforts), but at the very lest use carpet freshener during open houses, and air fresheners combined with open windows (if selling during the spring/summertime).