by Kandy Klee
We’ve all done it for one reason or another–to spoil a child, to prove how handy we are, or to make a teen hangout. We make some over-the-top customization to our homes. And it suits our family just fine.
The girls have walls with pink polka dots. The boys have taken over the garage with the pool table. We have a “fire pit” we made together, and we love it! But now that we’ve decided to move. Will our potential buyers love it too? Will they visualize the toddlers carrying rocks as big as they are to dad to pile up for the fire pit? Probably not. They’ll see a crooked fire pit made from uneven rocks.
And it will cost us–more time on the market and lower offers.
What can a seller do?
1. What is specific to our family? Make a list of anything that isn’t “neutral” feeling and wouldn’t appeal to the majority of people. Although it may be a beautiful change you made, you want to appeal to the MOST people, so neutral is best.
2. What can be removed? You may be moving because you need more storage but to sell your home quick, you need it to look like it has all the storage in the world. If you have so much sporting equipment that you can’t park in the garage, it may be time to edit. Rent a storage unit and fill it up. Pick up off-season clothes, anything stored on the floor of closets, pantry or garage. If it can’t go on a shelf, get rid of it now. Freecycle.org will list unwanted items for you, drop it off at a Goodwill or donate it to the Agoura High School yard sale.
3. What is seriously 1984? Vertical blinds, linoleum and mirrored closet doors; are they still what buyers want? Consider something as simple as updating wooden cabinet knobs to a more modern metallic drawer pull. Take down the swag window treatment and replace with solid panels. Look at homes on vcrdsmls.rapmls.com to see what looks good in photos and what looks dated.
4. AFTER you hire your listing agent, show her your lists and ask her advice. When you are interviewing listing agents, she/he may not want to tell you at that point that “yes, the mosaic toilet was a bad choice,” but after you’ve chosen her/him, it’s in both of your interests for her/him to help you appeal to the most people. She/he can help you choose the changes that will help you get a higher dollar and sell faster.
One little staging “tool” I’ve used over the years is a linen hand towel in the hall bath, custom embroidered with the street address. It gives the buyers a connection with your address and puts the address in their memory. I’ll have agents call to say “I have an offer on the embroidered towel home.”
5. Consult a staging service. Did you know putting your window treatments 2.5 inches outside your window and 4 inches above will make your windows appear larger? And that glass top tables are used to make rooms look bigger? You may not like them because they show finger prints, but for staging, it might be something to think about. Ask a stager for a consultation, they may change a small fee to provide suggestions you can do yourself.
Your family has special memories in your home, and we all get attached to the structure. Keep in mind, we take the family and the memories with us. So paint over, clean out, spruce up and get your family on to your next home.