5 Ways to Make Your Home More Attractive to Buyers
If you're putting your house on the market, there are several ways to showcase your home's best features and make it more attractive to buyers. Anyone who's ever watched home improvement shows can probably guess a few of the obvious tips, like removing clutter and picture frames, putting a vase of flowers on the dining room table, and baking a fresh batch of cookies. Below are five lesser-known but high-impact ways to make buyers feel at home on your property – and get them ready to sign a contract!
1. Focus on making a good first impression.
Selling a house doesn't mean that you have to finish every last project or to-do list; it would be too expensive and time-consuming to paint every room or replace every light fixture. But making your home more attractive to buyers is often a matter of sprucing up the most visible surfaces and areas that help to create the buyers' first impressions of the home. Think curb appeal and entryways. Could you remove some overgrown shrubs from the front of the house, clean the gutters, or plant a new flower bed? Would the front door benefit from a fresh coat of paint? Can you add a low-cost bench to the front porch to make it more inviting for people to sit and notice the space as they're removing their shoes to come inside? There are often a lot of easy, low-cost fixes and upgrades that can freshen up the exterior of your home to make it look more appealing.
2. Set the stage for maximum impact.
In the era of HGTV, many people have become familiar with the concept of “staging" a home for a sale. Real estate agents often work with professional home stagers who can rearrange the home's furnishings and interior decor in a way that strategically conveys value to buyers. Just like a professional stager, you can use your own belongings to create an impact, just by moving items around. For example, if you have a combined living room and dining room, arrange your furniture in a way that clearly shows buyers which room is which, how each room is used, and to draw attention to key features of the home such as a nice fireplace or a beautiful chandelier. A simple online search can net before-after staging pictures to give you an idea of best practices.
However, staging a home for sale is an art and a science; there are sophisticated strategies that professional stagers can use to make sure your home looks its best and commands attention from buyers for all the right reasons. Don't be afraid to invest some money in professional staging services; depending on where you live and how much help you need, a good stager might cost a few hundred dollars, but it's worth it if they can help you sell your home faster and generate a bigger selling price.
3. Opt for neutral colors and decor.
Many real estate agents will tell you that one of the most important elements in selling your home is making buyers feel like they can visualize themselves living there. You want to make sure your home is decorated in a way that is as inclusive as possible. If your sense of style is rather eclectic or extreme, you might be driving buyers away. Make your home more welcoming to more potential buyers by repainting the walls with neutral colors, and consider putting some of your favorite art pieces, antiques, or sports memorabilia into storage. Even if you have great taste in design, your prospective buyers might not agree. (And unless you're lucky enough to sell your home to a fellow superfan, no one wants a “Man Cave" full of memorabilia from your favorite team!) The goal is to make your home into a blank canvas for its future owners to envision as a place for creating their own lives.
4. Give Fido (and his stuff) the day off.
Getting ready to move to a new home can be stressful for everyone in the family, and that includes your pets. If you're staging your home for viewings, it's best to remove as much evidence as possible of your cats and dogs. Not all buyers have pets or want pets, some buyers might have allergies, and seeing lots of floor space taken up by dog beds, chew toys, or cat scratching posts might cause pet-free buyers to feel like this home is not right for them. Before each open house or viewing appointment, consider putting your pet supplies out of sight and (if possible) send the pets away to daycare or a pet-sitting friend.
5. Get a home inspection, and offer copies.
Home buyers are often reluctant to buy a home if they feel like it's going to be a money pit of expensive repairs and maintenance projects. You can put buyers at ease by getting your home inspected ahead of time by a reputable third-party home inspection service. Offer copies of the report to your prospective buyers. Being transparent about your home's condition, including any potential issues, shows good faith to your buyers and reassures them that there will be no surprises in buying your home.
Making your home attractive to buyers is about more than just cosmetic touches. It's about having a smart strategy to show your home to buyers in a way that conveys value and helps them feel comfortable and excited about living in your home. You're not just painting walls or rearranging furniture; you are creating a positive vision of your buyer's future.