Introduction – Emotion vs. Reason: You need to think of your house as a marketable commodity. Property, Real Estate. Your goal is to get others to see it as their potential home, not yours. If you do not consciously make this decision, you can inadvertently create a situation where it takes longer to sell your property.
The first step in getting your home ready to sell is to “de-personalize” it: The reason you want to “de-personalize” your home is that you want buyers to view it as their potential home. When a potential homebuyer sees your families’ photos hanging on the wall, it puts your own brand on the home, and momentarily shatters their illusions about owning the house; so minimize your personal items.
Removing clutter, though you may not think of it as clutter: This is the hardest thing for most people to do because they are emotionally attached to everything in the house. After years of living in the same home, clutter collects in such a way that may not be evident to the homeowner. Take a step back and pretend you are a buyer. Let a friend help point out areas of clutter; let the agent help you too! Particular areas to look at are the kitchen and cupboards, be ruthless! Many people have too much to give the illusion of space that a homebuyer would like to see in your house.
Plumbing and Fixtures: All your sink fixtures should look shiny and new. If this cannot be accomplished by cleaning, buy new ones where needed. This can be accomplished inexpensively, and they are fairly easy to install. Make sure all the hot and cold water knobs are easy to turn and the faucets do not leak. Check to make sure you have good water pressure and that there are no stains on any of the porcelain.
Ceilings, Walls and Paintings: Check all of the ceilings for water stains. Sometimes old leaks leave strains, even after you have repaired the leak. Of course, if you do have a leak, you will have to get it repaired; whether it is a plumbing problem or the roof leaks. You should do the same for walls, looking not only for stains, but also areas where dirt has accumulated, and you just may not have noticed. Plus, you may have an outdated colour scheme. Painting can be your best investment when selling your home. It is not a very expensive operation and often you can do it yourself but choose neutral colours; off-white is normally best and makes rooms look larger.
Carpet and Flooring: Unless your carpet appears old and worn, or it is definitely an outdated style or colour, you probably should do nothing more than hiring a good carpet cleaner. If you do choose to replace it, do so with something inexpensive in a fairly neutral colour. Repair or replace broken floor tiles, but do not spend a lot of money on anything. Remember, you are not fixing the place up for yourself. You want to move. Your goal is simply to have as little negative impressions upon those who may want to purchase your property.
Windows and Doors: Check all of your windows to make sure they open and close easily. Make sure there are no cracked or broken windowpanes. If there are, replace them before you begin showing your home. Do the same things with the doors – make sure they open and close properly, without creaking. Be sure the doorknobs turn easily, you want to do everything necessary to create a positive impression.
Odour control: For those who smoke, you might want to minimize smoking indoors while trying to sell your home. You could also purchase a spray that helps to remove odours, not mask them. Pets of all kinds create odours that you may have come used to but are immediately noticeable to those with more finely tuned olfactory sense. For those with cats, be sure to empty kitty litter boxes daily. There are also products that you can sprinkle in a layer below the kitty litter, that helps control odour. For those with dogs, keep the dog outdoors as much as possible. You might also try sprinkling carpet freshener on the carpet/beds/sofas on a periodic basis.
Landscaping: Is your landscaping at least average? If it is not, buy a few bushes and plant them. Do not put in trees. Mature trees are expensive, and you will not get back your investment. Also, saplings do not really add much to the appearance value of the home. If you have an area for flowers, buy mature, colourful flowers and plant them. They add a splash of vibrancy and colour, creating a favourable first impression. Do not buy bulbs or seeds and plant them, as they will not grow fast enough to create the desired effect. Always rake up loose leaves and grass cuttings, keeping your terraces and pool bright and clean.
House Exterior: The big decision is whether to paint or not to paint. When you look at your house from a distance, does it look tired and faded? If so, a paint job may be in order. It is often a very good investment and really spruces up the appearance of a house, adding euros to offers from potential homebuyers. When choosing a colour, it should not be something garish and unusual, but a colour that fits well in your neighbourhood. Of course, the colour also depends on the style of your house, too. For some reason, different shades of yellow seem to elicit the best response in homebuyers, whether it is in the trim or the basic colour of the house.
When your selling price is too high, beware! Beware of pricing your house to high, and of the agent who endorses the price just to get the listing. He “bought” the listing by suggesting you might be able to get a higher sales price than the other agents recommended and knowing that he will eventually talk you into lowering the price. If you start out too high a price on your home, you may have just added your stress level, and selling a home is stressful enough. Contrary to popular opinion, the listing agent does not usually attempt to see your home to a homebuyer. That isn’t very efficient. Listing agents market and promote to the hordes of other local agents who are working with homebuyers, dramatically increasing your personal sales force. If you and your agents have overpriced, fewer agents will promote your home to their buyers. After all, they are agents and it is their job to know local market conditions and home values.
If your house is dramatically above the market, why waste time? Their time is better spent promoting houses that are priced realistically. Even if you do successfully sell at an above market price, your buyer will often need a mortgage. The mortgage lender requires an appraisal. If comparable sales for the last six months and current market conditions do not support your sales price, the house won’t appraise. Your deal falls apart and your house could go back on the market. Villas & Fincas will give you the right price based on local experience with selling and mortgage banks.
Viewings: After following all of the previous tips, the visits of potential buyers will arrive. We advise the owners make themselves scarce during the viewing. The prospective buyer needs to be able to experience it as his home; he wants to be able to express his thoughts freely. The agent is focused to show characteristics the client has shown interest in and these might be different from what you experience as the plusses of the property. For a first viewing, this is essential. Therefore, we advise the owners to not be present. Furthermore, please take notice of the fact that not all purchasers are fond of pets. Dogs should be on a lead at arrival and cats, if possible, in a closed room.