SellingÂ a home in today's market involves some blood, sweat and tears on the Seller's part.Â Depending on where you live there is a very good chance youÂ are in a Buyer's market.Â When a Buyer's market existsÂ it means there are plenty of homes on the market that are competing with your home for the attention of a prospective Buyer.Â Competition can be stiff!Â Following is a list of things you should consider doing to your home before you put it on the market to give your home the maximum chance of obtaining a contract on it.Â If you can't do every one of these things, do as many as you can.
1.Â Declutter the interior -- Homes that are cluttered do not show well.Â They look messy andÂ can make a home look small.Â Clutter can be a sign that you don't have enough room in your house to put things, so it overflows into various places.Â The idea here is to make your home appear tidy and spacious, err on the side of sparseness.
2.Â Neutralize paint colors and remove wallpaper -- My advice is to use soft, neutral paint colors in as many of the rooms as you can.Â Please don't paint your entire house white.Â White is boring, sterile,Â and does nothing to enhance the interior of a home.Â If you have wallpaper you need to know it is usually a huge turn-off to Buyers.Â I do not recommend painting over the wallpaper because it's usually done poorly and Buyers will notice it.
3. Remove personal photos and knick-knacks -- Of course it's OK to have a few family photos, you just don't want too many.Â Animal heads, religious artifacts and icons, and knick-knacksÂ are things you should consider removing or minimizing.Â Buyers are just like you and me, andÂ do have biases about certain things.Â You would not want the buck's head which is prominently mounted above your fireplace to cause them to walk straight out the door without looking at the positive attributes of your home just because they don't believe in killing animals.
4. Curb appeal -- this is a biggee and frequently overlooked.Â You need to go to the curb and look back at your home.Â What do you see?Â Are the bushes over-grown? Do the hedges need to be trimmed? Is there any color in the front yard? Do you have dead limbs in your trees?Â What color is your grass, green or brown?Â If you don't want to repaint your front door make sure you at least clean it.Â If you were driving down the street would the front of your home make you want to stop and admire it?Â These are the questions you need to be asking.
5.Â Organize your closets and pantry -- This taskÂ is relatedÂ to having too much stuff as mentioned in item #1.Â If your closets are crammed full of things, the Buyer thinks you don't have enough closet space in your home to put things.Â Take the time to go through your closets and donate items you no longer use or need. The kitchen pantry is also a place where Buyer's like to look.Â It is always so impressive to open a pantry and see everything in it's place.
6.Â Clean carpets -- Carpet is usually something Buyers have problems with.Â Prepare yourself...unless you are one of those rare individuals who remove their shoes at the door, the carpet is going to be a negotiating point.Â The best advice I can give you is this:Â if it's in fairly good shape go ahead and have it professionally cleaned.Â If it has stains on it that won't come out (particularly pet urine) replace it.Â There is a company in Austin that will allowÂ a SellerÂ to replaceÂ their carpet whenÂ they putÂ their home on the market, and will allowÂ the SellerÂ to go for 6 months without paying, instead they agree to be paid by the Seller at closing.Â This is a good deal, but if you do it, you want to make sure you don't allow the kids or the pets to mess it up again before the house gets a contract.
7. Windows cleaned and screens removed -- This is such an easy thing to do and it makes a huge difference as to how your house will show.Â As you remove the window screens be sure to tag them so when the new owner is ready to put them back up they know which screens go where.Â After removing the screens, clean the windows.Â If you do not want to do it there are companies you can hire who will do it for you.
8. Hire professional Maid Service --Â I know what you are thinking...a maid service doesn't clean your house like you clean your house, and I agree.Â However, they will do some of the things you may miss, and more than anything, it's a time saver for you.Â Things you don't want to forget to clean are baseboards, the microwave, the oven, the refrigerator if it conveys, window sills, ceiling fans, light fixtures,Â AC vents, and door frames.Â Keep your eye out for cobwebs.
9. Hire a Professional Stager -- Hiring a professional stager has gained enormous popularity in recent years.Â There really is an art to how furniture is placed in a room to show-off or feature the main benefits of a room.Â If you do not believe me, google the term and find a stager in your area and then look at their website.Â Most of them have before and after photos of homes they have staged which will demonstrate the benefits of staging for you.Â Â If you are on a restricted budget you can still hire one to consult with -- the difference being the stager will give you advice regarding things you can do to enhance your home, and then you do the actual work of moving furniture, etc.Â If your budget allows for it, a professional stager can also help you with paint color selections before you repaint a room.
10. Attend Open Houses in your neighborhood -- I believe all Sellers should enlighten themselves by attending several Open Houses in their neighborhoods.Â Â This isÂ a great way to see what your competition is.Â It can either give you peace of mind or it can be a reality check, and inspire you to do a few other things to make your home more appealing.
I hope you foundÂ my list of 10 Things To Do Before You Put Your Home on the Market helpful.Â Please understand that today's Buyers have high expectations about their potential home purchases.Â What you need to know is the first 30 days your home is on the market is the best opportunity you have to sell it for the maximum amount.Â After that initial 30 days, the interest level drops substantially and usually so does your price.Â That is why you want to prepare your home by doing some or all of these things before you put it on the market instead of after it's been on the market, particularly if you want to sell your home for the maximum amount possible in a Buyer's Market.