Get Your Parsippany Home Ready to Sell
Tips for getting your home market-ready for prospective buyers.
So you’ve made the decision to sell your home. Now what?
It takes a lot of mental preparation to let go of a space you’ve grown to love, and the process of selling your home can be particularly strange if you are still living in it.
Real estate expert Ozzie Marten of The OSH Group and Coldwell Banker Residential Mortgage serves Parsippany and other parts of northern New Jersey and has lots of experience with people in the process of selling their homes. He presents tips to help sellers prepare their homes to go onto the market.
"There are a couple of key things people need to be aware of," he told Patch. "When you live in your house long enough, you tend to look past things that any Saturday buyer would notice while walking through your house."
Meaning, he said: Look at the house with a critical eye. Anything can spur someone to fall in love with your home, he said, and just as quickly, they can decide it's not for them.
"Don't give them a reason to say no," he warned.
Here are some of Marten's tips for making your home more presentable to buyers, and some ideas to help you prepare to move into your new digs.
- Clear out clutter. If you haven’t touched it within the past year, toss it. You can also donate unwanted items to charity if they’re too good to trash. Pack up things you plan to take with you and get them out of sight. If necessary, rent a storage space.
- While you’re cleaning your home for viewers, pack up most of your personal photographs. They can be distracting to potential buyers and this action will help them see the house as their potential home instead of yours. At the same time, Marten's advice is not to remove all the photos and paintings: "You do want them to get a sense of a family being there, of the place feeling warm and homey. But don't have anything out that could be seen as offensive or too personal."
- Keep your kitchen clean. That means flowers on your table, no dishes in the sink, no junk on the counters and no finger smudges around cabinet handles. Pack up everything but the bare essentials from the cabinets so that they are tidy too. If a prospective buyer opens a kitchen cabinet and sees too much stuff, she or he will think the kitchen is cramped.
- Keep your closets tidy too. Packing little by little will make your final transition easier. Plus, buyers think a tidy homeowner has also taken good care of the place. Lining up shoes, and grouping shirts, pants and dresses together in the closet can also make a big impact.
- Sometimes the old adage “less is more” applies to furniture in your home. Move some things to storage if individual rooms are too crowded. It will make the rooms appear larger. Marten offered another trick: "If you have a blank wall, put up a mirror. It makes the room look larger."
- If there are window treatments, light fixtures, appliances or other “attached” items you plan to take with you, remove them and replace them before showing your home so that the buyer won’t think they are included.
- Freshen up paint and make repairs to things such as torn screens, cracked tiles and rotting windowsills before the realtor even puts the sign up. If the realtor sees potential problems like these, he or she might not make showing your home a top priority. Marten noted that a fresh coat of paint can also mask pet or cooking odors in the home.
- If your daughter’s room is pink, or your living room is painted a bold color, consider repainting it a more neutral color. Depersonalizing your home allows viewers to use their imaginations and visualize your home as their own. Don't let buyers walk away remembering your home as "the one with the orange bathroom."
- Lighting is everything, so make sure there are no burned out bulbs inside or outside your home, and make sure you have the most complimentary lighting on when your realtor brings over a client. Overhead lights show too many issues and flaws, but a soft lamp in a corner makes a room seem cozy.
- Make the beds, and make them nicely. Don’t just toss the pillows on—arrange them in an aesthetically pleasing way. "Bedrooms should be the neatest rooms in the house," said Marten. "Make sure there are no clothes laying out and nothing on the end tables except maybe a book or reading glasses. That's a super duper important thing."
- Make sure all mirrors, windows, porcelain, faucets and appliances are clean and sparkling. "There should be nothing on the vanity other than a toothpaste holder and soap dispenser," he advised. "And there should be paper towels for buyers to dry their hands if they use the bathroom. The toilet paper roll should be full and toilet lids should be down. If you have glass sliders for the shower, they should be clear and closed and as clean as possible. If you use a shower curtain, it should be closed."
- Choose a fresh scent that doesn’t smell too much like bleach to clean tiles, tubs and toilets.
- Dust and vacuum every single surface, including baseboards, ceiling fan blades and carpet in the corners of stairs and rooms. If you have hardwood floors under your carpet, Marten suggests removing the carpeting. "Ninety percent of buyers don't like carpeting; it's a thing of the past," he said. "It holds dust and smells. It's a big no-no for today's buyers. Show off the natural flooring." Of corse, if you don't have nice hardwood flooring, keep the carpet—and make sure it is cleaned thoroughly.
- Little touches like pulling down all window blinds to the same level, using accents like pillows and making your front entrance inviting set the tone for the way the rest of the house is viewed. "That's called 'staging,'" said Marten, "and it can make all the difference."
- Outside is as important as inside. Mow grass, trim bushes, and sweep away cobwebs, leaves and dog hair.
- Invest in a potted plant or two to put along your front steps. You won’t believe what a difference that little touch of curb appeal will make.
Last but not least, do a walk-through pretending you are a prospective buyer. Note the things that would turn you off and then fix them.