Should I price my home to sell – warts and all – or do some updates to sell faster? This is a real tough one in this market. Yes buyers do want it all. They want an updated home at the best price. But many times, since that is not available they need to decide whether or not they want a move-in ready home or do they want a better price. But, most of the time, they will choose one or the other.
Priced at market value, homes that are staged sell 50% faster than homes that are not staged. White walls, lace curtains, pink carpeting and tiles, turn off buyers and make it hard for them to picture themselves living in the home. We live in an instant society. And a lot of buyers work and have lives that are too busy to redo a home.
But on the other side of the coin, foreclosures at great prices, warts and all, rarely stay on the market very long. As a regular seller, you can’t compete with the foreclosure pricing. Just like alternative programming during football games, you need to offer the opposite. Sometimes they are willing to pay. And often, the good ones go fast. So, what can you do to inexpensively make your home appeal to the masses.
The trick is to keep in mind the price point you need to be at and spend as little money as you can to make the home look more appealing.
1. Get rid of the wallpaper. This can be done yourself or hired out, but do it right. Don’t paint over it. Remove it. Nothing turns off a buyer more than wallpaper.
2. Paint. White walls, non-neutral colors in main living spaces (can get away with in kids bedrooms) are a turn off. Warm tones – carmel, camel neutral colors that are not too light and not too dark are what make buyers feel at home.
3. Change the appliances. New appliances, mostly stainless are what people are looking for. Sometimes black appliances are a good substitute.
4. Change the carpeting. Worn or stained carpeting, non-neutral colors, turn offs. Prices are pretty good on carpeting these days. This is the biggest expense you will have, but keep your price point in mind. Don’t get cheap carpeting, but don’t go overboard either. Upgrading the pad can make up for a little less expensive carpeting.
5. Make kitchens and baths look new. Changing cabinets can be very costly. But changing the counters to a granite (look for sales) or even a nice formica that resembles granite in the kitchen and baths or marble in the baths can make a huge difference. New faucets can be a change.
6. Change the light fixtures or augment them. Light fixtures can be inexpensive and can make a big difference. Too much glass or brass often are nos. Sometimes shades can be added to expensive fixtures to update a little.
7. Change knobs/hinges on doors. Brass looks dated to many buyers.
8. Clean and clean out. Seems a no brainer, but you really need to make the house look like no one lives there. Get rid of clutter in rooms and closets – makes rooms look small. Store things. Keep the house looking company clean all the time. Nothing on the refrigerator, counters, floors, etc. Not easy, but helps.
9. Drapes – easy to change – very little cost. Make sure to show the light in homes when showing.
10. Furniture – no, they are not buying the furniture, but you would be surprised how buyers are put off by older or dated furniture. Slipcovers and pillows are a good change for couches or it may be a great time to get furniture for the new place and put in the old place. There are companies who rent furniture, but they can be costly.
Remember, the first rule of marketing is to cater to your target market. It works in retail and it works in selling homes.