You’ve probably heard the expression “sell the sizzle, not the steak.” Well, selling a property is just like marketing any other product. The more effort you put into the marketing, the more results you are likely to see in terms of activity and offers.
First, you have to realize that whatever condition your property is in today, it probably isn’t in “show home” condition. Simply put, there are generally some things that we have learned to live with rather than deal with – for example, those little eyesores that need repair or the ‘honey-do’s’ that were only partially (or never) done. Over time, clutter accumulates. And over the years, our eyes adjust to that low light and that fading paint color. We love our home as it is and we fail to see what the property is really like compared to others. Other properties – your competition – may be in ‘show home’ condition and, unfortunately, if yours isn’t, it will look tired by comparison.
Second, your buyer is going to view your property with an attitude completely opposite from yours. You are presenting something that you are proud of; however, the buyer is going to do their best to find as much wrong with the house as possible. If they find too much wrong with the property, they’ll walk away and buy another home. If they like the property, they will often try to find just enough wrong with it to justify making a lower offer. The reason they do this is to try and negotiate a lower purchase price.
You see – the buyer and the seller are at opposite ends of the real estate spectrum. You are trying to sell the property for the most money – the buyer is trying to buy it for the least amount possible. Obviously, both parties are going to have to meet somewhere in the middle or the sale won’t take place.
In order to secure the highest price possible for your property, your best strategy is to win the buyer’s heart before they even get through the door. In other words, make them want your house so much that, from the moment they first drive up in front, they are willing to pay the asking price to get it. That’s called creating curb appeal – the seller’s secret weapon! What makes curb appeal? Well, curb appeal is an intangible, subjective quality – but it’s also the one thing that can really sell a house. It’s a special quality that makes buyers start thinking emotionally instead of practically. It builds desire – the desire to own a particular home and to live a certain lifestyle that the exterior of the property appears to advertise. It can take you back to your childhood …to a time when you had a home ‘just like this one’ with beautiful flowers in the front, a winding walkway to the door and a beautiful brass door-knocker on the front door. It’s that special quality that makes you want to go inside.
So, if you have a limited budget to spend on preparing your property for sale, you’ll want to plan to put the majority of your time, effort and money toward sprucing up the front entrance to your home. By the way, sometimes you can do a lot of improvement with just a little elbow grease.
Here are a few ideas to help create that special quality called “curb appeal”:
- Clear away anything dead – dead leaves, dead flowers.
- Trim the trees to lift the canopies.
- Replace flower beds with fresh blooming flowers. If you don’t have time to grow them from seed, just go buy a few plants.
- Paint the front door and anything else that needs painting. Try to choose a neutral color that goes with the brick, roof, or trim of your property.
- Open the front curtains, blinds, and shutters.
- Turn on the lights.
- Put out a clean, new welcome mat.
- Polish the brass doorknocker, the mail box, light fixtures, and address numbers.
- If you have a front porch, keep it swept clean.
- Clean the patio furniture and add nice cushions/pillows.