Whether you’re selling your home on your own or working with an agent, here are a few aesthetic tweaks to increase your home’s desirability to potential buyers:
1. Start from the outside and work your way in.
The outside of your house is the first thing that buyers will see when they come to tour your home. Hire a landscaper or spend time taking care of the lawn yourself. Grass should be mowed and plants should be shaped. Trim any bushes or trees that block the façade; buyers need to be able to actually see the house. Wash the house’s exterior. Hiring a power washer is a good option, but a good scrub can be attained in a more cost-effective manner. Get rid of any debris or cobwebs that could create an eyesore.
2. Home is where the heart (and pocketbook) is.
All potential buyers are looking to find a place that they can turn into a home for themselves. Encourage this thinking by scattering various “homey” trinkets throughout the house: fresh flowers in vases, scented candles, a “home sweet home” doormat, etc. While generic reminders of home are great, be aware that your personalized tokens of “home” can often be distracting for buyers. Be certain to remove all family portraits, mementos, etc. Allow the buyer to envision themselves in the space with as few mental obstacles as possible.
3. Cleanliness is the only option.
When you put your house on the market you commit yourself to the act of keeping it in pristine condition until it sells. Buyers are sensitive to the slightest amount of dirt or filth, and even those who always keep a clean house must step up their game in order to sell. Constant vacuuming, shower scrubbing, and general maintenance must be part of the norm while your house sits on the market. There can be no more dishes in the sink, or splattered oil on the stove. Maintain your house as though it were the most precious thing on earth. After all, you want the buyer to think that it is.
4. Stage the home, set the scene.
As anybody from the theater will tell you, the keys to good staging are placement and lighting. This holds true for houses as well. Maximize your space by moving furniture away from the walls wherever possible. Bookshelves placed in a corner should be rotated on an angle to create the illusion of a larger room. Make the room welcoming and inviting, help the buyer envision a night of conversation and wine next to the fire place by emphasizing the placement of the couch designed for such events. And, do not, by any means, underestimate the importance of lighting. Day or night, all house lights should be on when buyers come for a viewing. Keep the curtains open as well; allow the sun to stream in through the windows. If you have rooms that have minimal sunlight, invest in a few extra lamps to distract from that truth. Specialty rooms (such as dining rooms) should be outfitted as they would be if you were hosting a dinner party—places set with china (two is plenty, no need to place all the settings). This will help propel the buyer’s imagination to the potential home front.
5. Fix all the things you can easily fix.
Some people will invest in a large kitchen or bathroom upgrade right as they’re preparing to sell the house. Depending on your pricing expectations, this is probably not necessary. However, buyers are hyper-aware of any aesthetic or mechanical problems with the property. It is to your benefit to repair as many of them as possible. Things like broken windows, stained carpets, scratched up walls, or busted gutters should all be taken care of before you start showing the house. When a buyer sees such minor issues it makes them wonder what other problems they may have overlooked. It is best not to cast such doubts. Fix the issues. Present the house in its best “as-is” state.