After reading this article you will know:
- What home buyers are looking for in your home.
- What it means to depersonalize your property when you put it on the market.
- Why depersonalizing your home will help in selling the property faster.
- Why decluttering the home will help to sell the property faster.
- How to allow a buyer to fall in love with each and every room in the house?
- The importance of curb appeal.
- How to make your home look brand new.
- What to do if you don’t have the time or energy for any of the above.
If you are a serious seller, your main objective is to sell your property fast so that you can move on to the next chapter of your life. If this is the case, then you need to consider a couple of guidelines very carefully.
Consider this example. Whenever you consider buying anything, you expect it to be in perfectly good working condition. If not, you will more than likely continue your search. Even if the item you are buying is second-hand, you are still expecting it to look and work perfectly.
Home buyers feel exactly the same way when they walk into your for-sale property. They don’t want to feel as if they are walking into someone else’s home. They want to be able to imagine themselves living in that home. When they can see themselves living there, they are more than likely to make an offer on the property. This is your objective as a seller.
Depersonalize your home
So here is the first thing that you can do; depersonalize your home and make it look as neutral as possible. What do I mean by depersonalizing? Well, put away the family and wedding photos that are on display. Put away the weird, bordering on offensive, piece of art that you bought at a flea market during your trip to Mexico. These things have lots of meaning to you, but to a potential home buyer, it just feels as if they are walking through your home.
Buyers are looking for a home or space where they can create their own memories.
I know what I’m about to say now may sound far-fetched, but you don’t even want potential buyers to know your race, your religion, or even your sexual preference. Remember, you are not looking to make potential new friends. You are trying to sell your home.
Whether they say it out loud or not, many people are still prejudiced toward people who are different from them. A potential buyer might walk into your home, fall in love with it, then see your wedding photo against the wall, or your religious statues, and out of prejudice to your race, culture, or even your sexual preference, may decide against making an offer on the property. This might not even be a conscious decision on the buyer’s part. Buyers would often say “There is just something about the property that is not working for me”.
Some sellers might say, well then, I don’t want to sell my house to such people in any case. I’m saying, don’t cut off your nose to spite your face. Your objective is to sell your house and start a new chapter in your life. Who cares who buys your house? You just want to sell it, get your money, and move on.
So, to help the agent sell the home faster, pack away the personal photographs against the wall or on the mantelpiece. You are moving in any case. You might as well start packing up.
Why you should declutter the property
Next, you want to declutter your home. If you’ve lived in the property for a number of years, you’ll be surprised at how much stuff you would have collected over time. Extra furniture that doesn’t really have a place, gym equipment, boxes with filing, a dog bed in every room, or children’s toys all over the place. Pack it away. You are going to move, so start packing and start putting some of the stuff in the garage. Potential buyers want to see the home, not your stuff. They want to imagine their own stuff on the property. Seeing your clutter all over the place would make it extremely difficult for them to imagine their own new lives in that space.
Now let’s move on to the kitchen. Clear kitchen counters and put all appliances away in the cupboard or start packing them in boxes. The kitchen is one of the biggest selling points of a home and you don’t want to scare potential home buyers away by walking into an overly cluttered kitchen.
Buyers want to see the counter surface. Put everything away. You can leave a kettle out and perhaps a Nutri bullet, but for the rest, you want to keep the kitchen as airy and clean as possible. Allow the buyer to dream and picture their own appliances in the kitchen.
Still in the kitchen… make sure that all cupboard doors open and close easily and that no cupboard doors are loose or coming off their hinges. A kitchen is a sacred place for many people. They want to it be perfect.
There cannot be a more personal space in a house than a bathroom. This area needs to first be decluttered with all your personal toiletry and sanitary products. Put toothbrushes, toothpaste, soap, shampoo, lotions, and face clothes all away in the bathroom cabinet.
Walking into someone else’s bathroom and seeing all these personal hygiene products lying around can literally gross a person out.
Secondly, you want to be sure that your bathroom/s are sparkly clean – the basin, the toilet, the bath, the shower, and the floor need to feel and look fresh, clean, and hygienic. There is nothing more off-putting than walking into someone else’s dirty bathroom.
Also, remove all your old and used towels. Rather hang clean fresh white towels. You can buy them very cheaply at Mr Price Home, or even Ackermans Home. It does not have to be expensive, and after the potential buyers have left, you can remove it, and put it away, for the next buyer. Again, I can’t emphasize this enough, no buyer wants to walk into what could be their dream home, and all they can see in the home is someone else’s life.
Make a list of everything that needs fixing
Now that you know to declutter and depersonalize, you can walk around the house, room by room, and make a list of everything that needs fixing. This includes all the small stuff like a door that doesn’t close properly, a screw that is loose, a light bulb that is not working, a cupboard door that does not close properly, a toilet that is leaking, and so on and so on. You catch what I’m saying here. Remember what I said up front, even though people are quite aware that they are buying a second-hand item, they certainly do not want it to look and feel that way.
Keep the property clean, even if it is just for the buyer viewing
Now that you have fixed everything that is broken in the home, you can make sure that the entire home is clean. I know that it may not always be possible with children in the house, but luckily the real estate agent will give you at least a day’s notice before they bring a potential buyer to the house. Yes, having to clean the house several times a week every time the real estate agent brings someone around, can end up being a shlep, but just always remember your objective; and that is to sell your property as fast as you can so that you can start with the next chapter of your life, whatever that may be.
The outside area is just as much part of the house. Your property will also be judged by prospective home buyers based on how well your garden is kept. So, keep the grass trimmed, sweep the leaves, and water the garden. A garden that looks loved and cared for goes a long way with a prospective home buyer. It feels inviting.
The most important check on your checklist is your curb (also referred to as the pavement in front of your house). Make sure your property has curb appeal. The curb is the first thing that any potential buyer will see of your house. You want the first impression of your home to be good.
Here is a bit of psychology; if people are not impressed with the first thing they see, in this case, the curb, they are already put off without even realizing it, and as they continue to walk through the property, they will continue to look for mistakes in and around the property (whether consciously or unconsciously). As they say, we get what we are looking for.
Now if your curb looks appealing, in other words, it is clean, the outside wall is painted, the door is in good condition, and the plants and lawn on the curb look great, then any prospective buyer walks into your property already in a good mood and excited to see the rest. Is this not what you want, seeing that you have put the property on the market and are hoping to sell it?
If you have big dogs that jump on people, make sure they are out of the way. Perhaps put them in the garage while the buyers are there. Regardless of how friendly your dogs are, many people are not dog people, and even if they are, no one loves your pets the way you do.
Don’t try to be a real estate agent. Big mistake
Lastly, make sure you are not at home. This is hugely important. Don’t try and also sell the property to the buyer. You have appointed a real estate agent for a reason. Allow the real estate agent to do what he or she does best, and that is to market your property.
You will end up saying the wrong thing, or you might look desperate, or you might offend the buyer. The potential buyer may also not feel very comfortable walking through the property and sharing honest feedback with the real estate agent because you are hanging around. Remember the feedback that the real estate agent gets from prospective buyers, whether negative or positive, is good, as it helps with the marketing of the property. So, take the family and go for a drive around the block, or take the dogs for a walk in the park, or if all else fails, stand in the furthest corner of the property, away from the real estate agent and the potential buyers. Whatever you decide, just make sure that you are not there, or out of the way, when the real estate agent brings a buyer around. It is in your best interest.
Home staging companies
Now, if all the decluttering and depersonalizing and white towels in the bathroom feels too overwhelming for you and you really don’t have time for all of this, you are in luck, because there are companies who specialize in getting your home show day ready. They are called Home Staging companies. There are different companies that offer different types of home staging services. Some of them will bring in pieces of furniture, others will help you clear the clutter and make small fixes in and around the property, and some will come and change key items like curtains or rugs. Some will even help you pack everything in boxes. And don’t take it personally if they make changes to your style and interior design. Remember, the objective is to sell fast.
Remember, it is not about you anymore. It is now about the potential buyer and making the space as neutral as possible so that they can see themselves making their own memories in the home. The quicker you can sell the property, the quicker you can move on.
Good luck and may you sell your property in no time.
Last updated: 4 February 2023