Tips for sellers in a hot housing market – staging your home results in better offers

During a hot housing market, the homes that sell the most quickly are those that are priced right for the market and are move in ready. In the Portland metro area, this is as true for high end homes as those priced under $300,000. While most buyers will ultimately make changes to their homes, most people want to be able to move right in, and make those changes at their leisure. So, if your carpet needs replacing, your walls are painted wild colors, or your dishwasher doesn’t work; fix anything that obviously needs fixing before you list your house if you can.

The first step in selling your home is to let all emotional attachments to the home go. You have to start looking at your “home” as a marketable commodity. Selling your house should make you money so you can move on. So get ready to take whatever steps are necessary to make the most money you can.

Staging your house – is it really necessary?

staging brings offers

Staging your home for sale DOES matter. According to the Real Estate Staging Association, professionally listed staged properties simply look better; spend 73% less time on the market; typically sell for more money; end up on buyers’ “must see” lists; are viewed as “well-maintained;” and have fewer concessions requested of the seller.

No need to hire a professional home stager to get your home ready to sell.

Here are some no/low cost tips to preparing your house before the first buyer arrives:

1. De-clutter and de-personalize. You don’t want buyers looking at your things rather than your house. Potential buyers should be able to navigate around your house easily and freely. Too much furniture, too many photos, etc will all detract from your home. Place furniture where it will show your house off to its best advantage and make the rooms look as big as you can. Put excess furniture and decor into storage.

2. Paint your front door to accentuate the entry.

3. Have your carpet cleaned if it does not need replacing.

4. Clean your house thoroughly and have a neighbor visit to make sure there are no lingering odors (such as pet odors, cooking odors, etc.) This is a major turn off for potential buyers.

5. Before a showing, put some vanilla in a shallow dish in the oven to make your house smell like cookies are baking.

6. Replace or remove old or dated window coverings. Clean the windows and open all the shades and blinds to allow as much light into the home as possible.

7. Polish furniture – if your furniture looks shabby, some buyers might wonder if you are careless about maintaining your home.

8. Clear out your closets. Show off your storage space. Yes, buyers do open closet doors all over the house.

9. Update lighting fixtures – and turn on the lights, especially on dark winter days.

Houses that sit on the market for prolonged periods of time will usually receive low-ball offers, if any offers at all. Most people tend to wonder why a house is not selling and usually believe there is something really wrong, or that the house is very over-priced.

Some sellers will offer “carpet allowance” or other types of upgrade allowances but it is important to remember that many buyers want to move in immediately, and/or will tend to over-estimate the cost of repairs needed. Better to replace that worn carpet than to offer an allowance. Many carpet businesses will be willing to wait for their money until your transaction closes and be paid directly out of the sales proceeds.

Even better yet is to replace worn carpet with high end laminate floors, bamboo or hardwoods. It seems the majority of buyers out there prefer hardwood floors to carpet, and this will increase the home value more than new carpeting in any event.

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