So you’ve decided to put your Dahlonega home on the market, and you’ve chosen the best REALTOR in town to handle your listing. You have great confidence in her, so now you can just sit back and let her work her magic, right? Um…no. There’s the little matter of getting your Dahlonega home ready to show. Your agent will surely help with suggestions and advice, but getting your Dahlonega home ready to show—and sell—is really up to you.
The better job you do of getting your home ready to show, the less likely you’ll end up in an awkward conversation in which you’re told your laundry room stinks or that prospects might not be as impressed with the life-sized, abstract, self-portrait over the mantle as you are. Most important, if your home doesn’t show well, it probably won’t pull in the offers and fetch the quick sale you’re after.
If the idea of getting your Dahlonega home ready to show has you feeling lost, try this: Imagine you’re walking through the home as a potential buyer, and let your senses of sight, smell, hearing, touch and taste guide you. Here are 6 sense-ible tips for getting your Dahlonega home ready to show—and sell.
Sight – Get Rid of Clutter
This is the easiest one. Stand in each doorway and survey all that’s in your line of sight. Does your house look bright and fresh, or a little tired? What about the surfaces, like tables, book shelves, dressers and other furnishings; mantles and hearths; countertops and appliances? Are they cluttered with magazines, “coffee table” books, photos, figurines, candles, collectables and sentimental knick-knacks? Is the refrigerator papered with magnets, report cards and kids’ artwork? Nothing wrong with these things in normal times, of course, but when you’re getting your home ready to show, start packing, donating and tossing. Cleared surfaces, including most of the walls, will make your home look more open and spacious. Removing photos, travel mementos and art—you know, the special things that make the home “yours,” will help potential buyers envision their own personal items displayed and imagine how they’d make the home “theirs.”
You can expect potential buyers to open closet, pantry and cabinet drawers, so be ready. Pare down and organize the contents to play up whatever amount of storage space there is. No matter how large a closet is, if it’s crammed full of stuff, it will sound an alarm that there’s not enough space.
So, once you’ve gone minimalist and cleared out your home of everything but the essentials (don’t hesitate to remove extra furniture that crowds up spaces, too!) deep cleaning will be a lot easier. And that’s good, because keeping the home clean will be at the top of your to-do list every day your house is on the market. Besides the usual cleaning, keep a sharp eye out for places where dust and dirt like to hide, like lamp shades, HVAC vents and return covers, window blind slats, the hems of floor-length drapes, on top of baseboards, refrigerator vents, range hoods, ceiling fans…you get the idea.
If this seems like a lot of work, well, it can be. But rest assured every ounce of energy you spend making your home look good will pay off.
Smell – Do a Quick Odor Check
Two parts to this one: getting rid of any bad smells and creating some good smells. Detecting bad smells can be hard. If you live in a space for a while, you get used to the smells and eventually don’t notice them. Think pet odors. Cigarette smoke, if you host inside smokers. Earthy smell in the basement. Maybe even lingering food odors, especially if you have an open floor plan and a weak range hood vent. First order of business: identify any unpleasant smells. If going on vacation for two weeks to get a visitor’s perspective when you return isn’t an option, consider asking a close friend or relative to do a walk-through and give you honest, objective feedback. Or ask your agent for input (and don’t be offended by the answer). It’s probably best to get these opinions after you’ve done your deep cleaning of the home. Some of the problem odors may be resolved with nothing more than a top-to-bottom clean-up. And keep in mind, even if your walls and ceilings look great, there’s nothing like a fresh coat of paint to freshen things up.
If odors remain or return after everything’s been cleaned you’ve got to find the source of the odor and fix the underlying problem. Don’t be tempted to try to mask bad smells with sprays or scented candles or freshly-baked chocolate chip cookies. Not only is that ineffective, offensive or unhealthful to some people, it can make potential buyers suspicious that you’re hiding something, or even be deceitful if you’re covering up a real problem (leaking sewer pipe, moisture or mold in the basement).
You don’t want it to smell like chemicals and disinfectants, but when it comes to showing your home, the fragrance that will have the most impact is eau de clean.
Hear – Just Listen…
We’re surrounded by constant sound, these days, it seems. It can be a challenge to find a moment’s real peace, with TVs, game boxes, music, ringtones, kids and animals going all the time. When you’re getting your Dahlonega home ready to show, make a point to spend some time in your home without all the noise distractions. Hear your home through the ears of a visitor. Of course, you don’t want potential buyers to be met by a barking dog (or squawking parrot or other noisy critter), so plan to take any pets away for a play date when you know your agent will be showing the home. What else do you hear? Clanking in the basement? Squeaking on the stairs? Is there rattling every time the HVAC system comes on? Do pipes bang when the toilet flushes? Follow your ears to determine how these noises can be stopped and if they lead to problems that need to be fixed.
Touch – How Does it “Feel”
When you’re getting your home ready to show, think about how your home should “feel” to your visitors. Make sure the temperature is comfortable. They won’t stick around as long if they’re too hot or cold. Is the air fresh? It can feel stale, especially if the house isn’t being lived in or there’s not much activity. Try opening up the windows occasionally and letting the air turn over.
Taste – Simple is Best
You don’t need to lay out a buffet to impress potential buyers—and many lookers might wonder why you’re trying so hard to woo them with treats and snacks. Don’t you believe the home has enough going for it to stand on its own merits? If you want to offer something, a simple bowl of individually wrapped mints by the front door would be plenty to leave a good taste in visitors’ mouths.
The Sixth Sense
The 6th sense offers the simplest guidance to getting your Dahlonega home ready to show—and sell. It’s not ESP. It’s good old common sense. Use it, along with these sensory tips and input from your real estate agent, and you’ll be well on your way to getting your Dahlonega home ready to show—and sell.