With most home moves occurring between April and September, now’s the perfect time for homeowners to start preparing to sell their homes, according to the Northern Virginia Association of Realtors® (NVAR) which recently released six tips for helping sellers get ready.
“You want to be sure to do everything in your power to get top dollar for your home,” says NVAR CEO Ryan McLaughlin. “And that means working with a realtor who knows the marketplace and your specific neighborhood. It also means taking the time to do some advance work to make your home shine.”
Thanks to a lack of housing inventory, it’s been a seller’s market in most of the country for the last year or two. To command a higher sales price - even in heated markets like the New York-New Jersey metro - homeowners need to make sure their house shows well. Here are six tips from NVAR to help sellers position their homes—often their largest investment—to garner more interest from homebuyers:
- Make it personal—but not too personal. You want some personality in your home, but not to the point that buyers can’t picture themselves living there. Leave the plants, for example, but put the family photos away.
- Keep clutter to a minimum. To show off the best assets of your home, including any architectural features, make sure to keep distracting items such as excess pillows or art on the walls to a minimum. And it goes without saying, stow children’s toys, cables and wires, and the slew of small appliances sitting on your kitchen counters out of sight.
- Deep clean. Make sure your home is as clean as possible. That includes emptying the trash and making sure that tissue boxes are full. It also means cleaning the fridge, cabinets, drawers, closets, fan blades, oven and more. Serious buyers are likely to look in drawers and closets, so make sure every space is buyer ready.
- Conduct the sniff test. The sense of smell is the strongest of the five senses for many people. That’s why when potential buyers walk in, it’s helpful for your home to smell like home. “We want buyers to think about their home nostalgically, like memories of making cookies with their children or grandchildren,” says realtor and NVAR member Alexandra Iamandi. “Fresh flowers not only add a nice smell, but they look good too.”
- No pets. We love our pets, but not everyone feels the same. When getting ready for an open house or showing, put your pets out of sight and hide their toys and supplies. “Make sure your dog or cat is secure - preferably away from the home when potential buyers look at your home,” says Karlene Tolbert of Better Homes & Gardens Real Estate Premier, and NVAR member.
- Attention to detail. Iamandi and Tolbert agree that on the day of the open house or showing, it’s the little things that matter. They advise sellers to make all the beds, close all toilet seats, turn on every light, open all the blinds, secure your valuables, and leave the house.