First impressions are everything, so before putting your home on the market, make sure it’s ready to impress, real estate agents say.
“In years past, people would list their home and then have it photographed,” says Jeanne Leonard, an agent with Daniel Gale Sotheby’s International Realty in Cold Spring Harbor. “That’s changed with the internet. It’s absolutely in their best interest to take the time and get their home ready.”
Since you’re planning to move anyway, the packing process should start long before you list your home. This is the time to clean out closets, basements, attics and crawl spaces.
“If you’re really moving, start packing,” Leonard says. “Take a week or two and go through rooms and clean and minimize.”
People looking for a new home do not want to see one with clutter, agents say.
“The potential buyer has clutter in their own home,” says Gary DePersia of The Corcoran Group in the Hamptons. “They don’t want to see it when they’re looking at a new home.”
It’s important to make sure potential buyers can envision themselves in your space, so take down photographs.
“You want to make it look like one of those model homes,” says Christopher Gucciardo, an agent with Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Atlantic Shores in Huntington. “The goal is for the buyer to imagine living there. If you have pictures of you and your family up, it will make them feel like they’re walking around your home, not their home.”
If you have pets, hide any sign of animals, including cages, litter boxes and toys before taking pictures and especially before an open house.
“Some people are allergic,” Gucciardo says.
While painting may not be easy or cheap, it is a relatively inexpensive way to give a home a needed face-lift.
“You don’t like to spend a client’s money needlessly, but if the paint color is pink, or if the paint is chipped, cracked or sagging, fix it,” says Andrea Costello, an agent with Laffey International in Woodbury.
Sellers should perform the types of cosmetic fixes to their home that they would do if they were staying put, DePersia says.
Show off hardwood
Before photographing a home, move large throw and area rugs out of the way.
“Homes will photograph so much better if you have that nice fresh look of hardwood instead of carpeting,” Leonard says.
Most real estate agents recommend using a stager, who can help show off a home’s best features.
“I offer staging as part as my listing,” Leonard says. “If I see a home that only needs three to four hours’ worth of staging, it’s something I pay for.”
Have a pre-inspection
While a home inspection is always done before a purchase, it can be a good idea to do one yourself before listing, Costello says.
On the same note, it is important to make sure that if you have done any extensions, that all permits and certificates of occupancy are in place.
“If anything does come up, they’ve already addressed it,” Costello says. “You limit the obstacles or problems you may have once you secure an interested buyer.”