When potential buyers view your San Diego home, you want them to recognize and fall in love with all the features and benefits it has to offer. Thus, you need to remove the distractions that could prevent them from really seeing your home.
Following these tips will help you present your home in the best possible light – and set it above the competition.
First, Prepare the House for Sale
1. Begin with ensuring curb appeal, since it’s the first impression buyers have when they arrive to tour the house.
- Make sure the yard is free of toys or yard equipment – and stash the trash/recycling containers.
- Pick up the flyers the wind blew in.
- Sweep the walk and scrub the driveway.
- If you have a fence, make sure it’s in good repair.
- Plant colorful flowers – in the earth or in well-placed containers.
- Freshen the paint on the front door.
2. De- clutter and de-personalize everywhere, including the attic, basement, and garage. Home buyers are looking for space, and if yours is filled with “stuff” you aren’t using or too much furniture, the house will appear smaller.
Now is the time to put seasonal or seldom used equipment in storage, to donate unused clothing, toys, kitchen ware, and small appliances, and pack your collections for your eventual move. If your rooms are cramped from too much furniture, move some of it to storage as well.
Remember that buyers will look inside closets and cupboards – so de-clutter them as well.
Replace most family photos with scenics or still-lifes. Pack your trophies and awards, and remove the kids’ drawings, etc. from the refrigerator. You want your buyers to focus on the house and visualize themselves living there. You don’t want them examining your photos to see if they know you or looking at your personal items to speculate on your lifestyle, your religion, or your political affiliations.
3. Clean, clean, and clean.
- Start with the doors, inside and out. Then move on to walls and cabinets where fingerprints like to leave their mark.
- Scrub kitchen walls, counter-tops, and cabinet fronts to remove cooking residue.
- Clean all light fixtures to let more light through.
- Shampoo the carpets and scrub the hard floors.
- If you smoke, also shampoo the upholstered furniture and have the drapes cleaned. Wash your bedspreads. (No, they aren’t staying, but you don’t want odor to distract.)
- Clean the bathroom until every inch sparkles.
- Wash every window, inside and out.
- If walls and ceilings look tired, repaint
4. Make repairs
Torn screens, dripping faucets, sticking doors, and loose doorknobs give the impression that your home has not been well maintained. Now is the time to handle all those little chores you’ve been putting off.
And of course, if you have broken glass, a door or wall with a hole, a loose tread on the stairs, or any similar damage, you need to make the repairs before a potential buyer sees the house.
5. Spruce up the kitchen and bath.
These are the two most important rooms in the house for most home buyers, so take extra time with them. If they’re looking dated, consider adding modern door pulls, lighting fixtures, and/or faucets. Hang fresh, colorful towels when buyers are expected.
6. Bedrooms should look restful and inviting.
Consider adding new bedspreads and plump pillows. Move the exercise equipment out and add flowers. If your closets are overflowing, move clothing you don’t wear regularly to a storage unit.
Before buyers arrive…
7. Do a quick run-through to make sure beds are made, dishes are done, clothes are hung up or in the laundry hamper, and the trash (and litter box, if you have one) has been emptied. Pick up and put away toys, newspapers, curling irons, toiletries, etc.
8. Put away all personal correspondence and bills, and if you have medications either take them with you or store them in a locked cabinet, along with other valuables.
9. Buyers love light, so open drapes and shades and turn on lights. At night, make sure all outdoor lighting is turned on.
10. Leave the house during the showing. Buyers are uncomfortable taking time to look when the owners are present. Let them have uninterrupted time to appreciate all your home has to offer. If you happen to meet the agent and buyers as you’re leaving, say a pleasant hello and be on your way. Direct all questions to your agent.
Remaining in the house during a showing is one of the top mistakes San Diego home sellers make.
11. If you have pets… take them with you or put them in an outdoor kennel when you leave the house. Pets are a distraction to some and a put-off to others. Some buyers will pay more attention to the pets than the house. In contrast, some won’t even enter a house with a dog or a cat inside – either because of allergies or out of fear. In addition, agents and buyers are known to leave doors open – posing an escape/safety hazard to your pets.
A cautionary warning:
12. For your safety and your family’s safety: Show your home by appointment only.
Don’t open the door to anyone who doesn’t have an appointment, even if they say they’re a REALTOR®. If they’re legitimate, they’ll call your agent to make arrangements.
Be sure your children know this as well.
When you get an offer…
When we call to say you have an offer, make time to sit down with us and understand the entire offer. There’s always more to an offer than the price.
If you don’t understand any of the contingencies or concessions that the buyer is asking for, ask questions. It’s our job to help you respond appropriately and then to negotiate both the price and terms to your satisfaction.
Don’t take too long in answering. Your buyer may be considering other homes and will move on if you fail to respond in a timely manner.