Note: this was originally written by me and published on my ActiveRain.com real estate blog.
Everyone has tips on selling a home fast. Quick and easy tips to sell, 5 Ways to a Quick Sale, Stage & Sell For More, blah, blah, blah. Sometimes all the articles and blogs can just seem like a form of virtual clutter, or a collection of clanging gongs, all trying to get the attention of anxious home sellers who want to get out NOW, FAST, and with LOTS OF MONEY from a HIGH SALE PRICE!
First off, a lot of the tips you’ve already read about are correct. By all means, do what you can to boost the curb appeal of your home – if you can’t get buyers inside, there is no point of putting it on the market. Many, if not most, buyers looking for vacation homes around Lake Wallenpaupack will drive by a house and say “NEXT” if they don’t like what they see.
- Repair & paint damaged/peeling trim, shutters, window casements, front doors. Get a new set of house numbers that are stylin’ and look modern & fresh.
- Trim overgrown bushes/trees/hedges. Get rid of yucky artificial plants. Put fresh mulch around the edge of your house and in flower beds. Get rid of broken, worn, and faded yard decorations.
- Put a nice welcoming plant (real or artificial, as long as it looks nice) by the front door and buy a fresh welcome mat.
Next tip from Captian Obvious…clean and declutter. It really seems like a given but it’s amazing how many folks in Pike and Wayne County put their home on the market and it’s really a pig sty.
I’m not talking about just that “lived in feel.” I’m talking about the house that smells like old gym socks (coach probably yelled cause they were stinking up the locker room, so they got sent home) and there are greasy smears on the counters and gross toiletries all over the bath.
I once walked into a home and found the remnants of last night’s steak on the counter, and the greasy pan it was cooked in was still on the stove. EWWWW!
In the master bath, yay, there were HAIRY hair brushes on the counter, and Mr. Man of the Manor’s hair clippings next to his razor…on the counter. GROSS!!!
I really don’t want to belabour the point…but please, please: clean up your house.
What about CLUTTER? YES!!! Get rid of the excess stuff. You should have plenty of clean smooth surfaces, esp. in the kitchen, dining room, bedrooms, bathrooms, and living room. (Well that kind of covers the whole house, doesn’t it?)
However, many gurus say to remove all your family pictures, because you want buyers to see THEMSELVES in your Northeast PA paradise….not YOU. To this I say “PSHAW, hogwash!”
One thing my buyers have liked is see happy family pictures on display – especially if it shows you all enjoying Lake Wallenpaupack or Tanglwood Ski area or Promised Land park…or hanging out together in your yard having FUN. It’s GOOD POSITIVE ENERGY!
OBVIOUSLY, don’t have nine million photos on display, and I’d limit it to the subject of “Enjoying our Northeast PA Home”…leaving some pics hanging around for buyers to get a sense of your happiness in this space is, in my opinion, a good idea.
They will see them and say “We can be happy here too!”
Finally, should you stage your home? Well, I’m going to say “Yes” and “No.” If your home is not priced according to the market, based on similar homes that have recently sold, then you are wasting your time, and a good deal of money if you hire a professional stager. In fact, if your home is overpriced (not in “your opinion” but based on market data) there is little point in doing anything, because chances are, it’s not going to sell.
I will submit that if your home is clean, decluttered, in good condition, and priced right, you most certainly can sell without paying a stager (some of them charge as much as 1% of the list price of your home!)
A staged home that is overpriced will be a pretty listing that does not sell. An unstaged (but clean and tidy) home that is priced according to market value for its condition and location will sell. Believe me, buyers are not stupid. They can figure out that the furniture is not staying or that the room you are using as an office could be an extra bedroom…
A vacant home that is empty of furnishings would do well to be staged, or at least have the living room and master suite staged to look warm and inviting, rather than stark and cold. It’s hard to visualize how an empty space will look with furniture.
What if it doesn’t sell?
Sometimes, because of the location or uniqueness of the home and/or property, it will take longer to sell because the pool of potential buyers for your home is small.
It may take longer to find the buyer who needs what your home offers or wants to be in your particular location. While some real estate agents will say that the price is too high if your home is still on the market in six months, that is not always true.
Sometimes it does take a while to find that perfect buyer. But if your home is similar to five other homes in similar locations, and they sell…while yours does not…chances are…you need to adjust your price.