The old adage that you only get one chance to make a first impression rings especially true when it's time to put your home on the market. Since the goal when selling is always to get top dollar without too much stress, it pays to listen to the expert: your Realtor.
Below, agents from Austin Portfolio Real Estate offer tried-and-true tips they've gleaned from years of helping Texans buy and sell their dream homes.
3005 Meandering River Ct.
The best advice I can give sellers is to professionally stage a home. Even if the owner still lives in the home, a stager will look through the eyes of a buyer and know what to keep, what to remove, and how to arrange things to best show off the home. In a vacant home, staging gives the house life and allows the buyer to "see" the spaces better. Once this condo was staged, the response from buyers became "I can imagine living here" instead of "this is a nice view."
Morgan Smith and Shannon Schmitz (Schmitz & Smith Group)
9000 Deer Haven Rd.
The most important thing before selling your home is to make sure your front yard and the front of your home look fresh and appealing. The next important thing is getting rid of clutter and personal items so that the buyer can envision their things in the home. Smells can really effect a sale as well, so a good ozone treatment is an inexpensive but effective way to tackle animal, food, and cigarette odors.
1955 Rue De St. Tropez
Staging makes all the difference! It brings out the best in your home so you can get top dollar in the shortest amount of time. Staging attracts buyers with warm and inviting spaces that they can picture themselves living in.
Sellers can often be emotionally attached to their home and easily overlook the flaws that prevent its increase in value. Buyers walking through won't have that same attachment. Even though it's hard, it is important to separate your personal connection with the home from the property's value and what it is worth today. Your agent will assess the market and provide the best price point for your home to go on the market. Take their lead and let them carry the stress of making sure you get what your home is truly worth.
10910 River Terrace
I always encourage clients to focus on the front door, since many times it's the statement piece on the front of your home. That first impression is always the most important, and people form an opinion before they walk inside. Fresh paint, new hardware, and potted plants make a big difference. At the very least, just make sure it's clean. Always go with real flowers rather than plastic or silk. My go-to flower around a front door is azaleas — they add color without being overwhelming. If you have nesting barn swallows in your porch soffits, make sure that you clean up that mess.
33 Cousteau Ln.
You only have one chance at a first impression, so make sure your home sparkles. I always recommend getting an outside opinion on things that need to be done to your house. Wash windows inside and out, clean out the refrigerator, and dust ceiling fans and light fixtures. Pet or smoke odors can really deter buyers, so make sure to clean air filters well. In a normal market, repairs can make or break your sale: patch holes, replace burned-out light bulbs, fix leaky faucets, and re-caulk tubs, showers, and sinks. Consider painting a neutral color if you have brightly colored walls or trim. Finally, make sure your agent hires a great photographer.
8909 Glenlake Dr.
When de-cluttering and de-personalizing your home for sale, take all the selected items to a remote location like a storage facility — do not just shove them in a closet and think that you're done. Buyers open closets. If they are packed full with personal items, it gives the impression that you are moving because you need more storage space. Try to have closets and storage as organized and roomy as the rest of the home.
3201 Rustic River Cove
Provide the buyer with the path of least resistance and show that your home is ready for move-in. That's what the homes that sell for the highest value with the least amount of inconvenience for the seller do. Listen to the guidance of your experienced agent, from the inspector your agents suggests for a pre-inspect to the contractors recommended to take care of maintenance and repair issues, plus the professional organizers and stagers hired to properly present your home. These pros are the experts and will put your home in the best light.
Lighting is crucial. Bulbs that require five minutes or more to warm up won't do the trick. The best idea is to have really bright lights — ideally warm white bulbs, because the harsh blue color put out by "daylight" bulbs really has a negative effect — on dimmer switches so that buyers are able to set them at their perfect level. It's better for the house to be too bright than too dark. And it may sound obvious, but make sure that every light works. Anything that is not functioning properly puts a question mark in the buyer's mind, and that is never a good thing.
3913 Valley View Rd.
Buyers want to imagine moving right in, and no one wants to live in a dirty space. Make sure to deep clean your house and shampoo your carpets, even paying attention to things like baseboards. Invite some of your trusted friends over to give their honest feedback on how your home smells as they walk through just as a buyer would. Sometimes you may not notice a certain smell, but others can. And a nice bouquet of flowers always adds a welcoming touch!