Selling a home in the age of a pandemic has been weird, but surprisingly, not all that different than how one would do it regardless of the health threat. Sure, there were masks and gloves, and a lot of hand sanitizer, but we were still able to show the home in person with precautions and strict rules for who came in and when they came in. And our real estate agent, Ben Ganje, was with us every step of the way. All in all, we learned a thing or two that contributed to the sale of our house above asking and in a record one day on the open market.
Here are some lessons I learned through the process about how to enhance your home’s appeal to potential buyers.
It’s the first point of contact a potential buyer will have and a freshly painted door in an appealing color with clean hardware makes a great first impression. Set out a planter or two with some lanterns. If you have space, a small bench with pillows shows added potential.
Is there a way you can arrange furniture that makes the space more appealing? Symmetrical arrangements that highlight architectural features of the home can make spaces feel more appealing to a broader set of buyers.
What works in real life and what sells often don’t align. Before listing our home, we removed lamps from corners, piles of books, and other styling vignettes because those elements made the rooms feel smaller.
What works in real life and what sells often don’t align. Before listing our home, we removed lamps from corners, piles of books, and other styling vignettes because those elements made the rooms feel smaller. While I liked the coziness they created, buyers are looking at the space for its potential, and certain decor elements can take away from that.
Once you start looking at your home the way a potential buyer would, you start to notice little things, like holes in the wall and aging caulk along the bathtub. Spackling holes and touching up wall paint is as basic as it gets when it comes to home improvements and it is well worth the effort. Fresh caulk makes even dated bathrooms and kitchens feel cleaner and fresher.
You want people to imagine their life in your space, not yours. Keeping personal items, like family photos and piles of stuffed animals, on display might distract from the bones of the home and the potential of the space. We moved boxes and boxes of personal items out of our home to make sure the closets were organized and the spaces looked their best. It was a TON of work but well worth it. It also helps break up the huge task of packing! I had to do most of this with two kids and no child care and it was…a lot. The T.V. was on often, but it didn’t last longer than a couple of days of packing and moving boxes.
Photographing homes to show well online is an art as much as it is a science. Getting the lighting, angles, and detail shots right help tell the story of the house and give digital viewers a sense of the flow, layout, and ambiance of your house. Photos that highlight your home in its best light help build buzz and anticipation for an open house. If you’re able, I’d recommend hiring a professional photographer—we went with Spacecrating Photography and love the resulting photos.
We decided to list our home well below what it would be appraised at to make sure we had a number of interested parties ready. This might not be something everyone can stomach, but it got us an offer $20K over the listing price before our house even hit the market.
Many people like to list at the highest price they think they can get for the home, but in times like these, that approach will mean you’ll be more likely to risk sitting with fewer parties interested. It helps to be honest about the true value of your home.
Many people like to list at the highest price they think they can get for the home, but in times like these, that approach will mean you’ll be more likely to risk sitting with fewer parties interested. It helps to be honest about the true value of your home. Many onlookers thought ours was listed too low, but we didn’t update our older windows and our garage is basically unusable, and these are HUGE factors in the value of the home. People will pay more for design but the appraiser won’t consider that when assigning a number to your property.
Kate is currently learning to play the Ukulele, much to the despair of her husband, kids, and dogs. Follow her on Instagram at @witanddelight_.
BY Kate Arends - May 4, 2020
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Thank you for being here. For being open to enjoying life’s simple pleasures and looking inward to understand yourself, your neighbors, and your fellow humans! I’m looking forward to chatting with you.
In this crazy COVID mess, my husband and I decided to do some light dabbling in the Real Estate market. We were certain we would not be able to sell our home regardless of the great area due to the virus. One thing I noticed when we would look at the homes on the market was their lack of screens. I mentioned to my husband several times “how weird is it that all these homes have opted not to have screens”. Fast forward to me doing a little research, it’s all about curb appeal. The windows look fantastic without screens… Read more »
My husband and I are planning to sell our residential house, which is why we’re currently looking for an architectural photographer that will be able to capture the beauty of our property since the photos will be used for marketing. Well, you have a point that it would be best to repaint the door because this will help spruce up the home’s exterior. I also agree with you that it is better to get rid of personal items, such as family photos and displays.
This is a great help to those homeowners who are planning to sell their homes.
I never thought about how my personal items could distract potential buyers from seeing the bones of the home. My wife and I need to move across the country for both of our new jobs. We start in a month so I’ll talk to her about moving all of our stuff to our new home now and just have the essentials in our current home so we can sell it faster.