You've heard the expression "Sell the sizzle, not the steak." Selling a home 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.
The first thing to realize is that whatever condition your home is in, it probably is not in "show" condition. There are items we learn to live with to the point that we forget the little eyesores and honey-do's that never got done.
Over the years, clutter accumulates. Our eyes adjust to the low light and fading paint color. We love the home as it is, and fail to see what the home is like compared to others. Other homes--your
competition - may be in "show" condition. If your isn't, it will look tired in comparison.
Second, your buyer is going to view your home with a different attitude than yours. You are presenting something you are proud of -- the buyer is going to do his/her best to find as much wrong with it as possible. If they find to much, they'll walk. If they like the house they'll try to find enough wrong with it to make a lower offer.
You are trying to sell the home for the most money -- the buyer is trying to buy it for the least. Obviously, you are going to have to meet in the middle somewhere. Your best strategy is to disarm the buyer before they even get through the door. Make them want the house so much from the time they drive up in front that they are willing to come up in price to get it.
That's called CURB APPEAL. What makes curb appeal? Curb appeal is and intangible, subjective quality - but is the one thing that can really sell a house. It is that quality that makes the buyer start thinking emotionally instead of practically. It builds desire, the desire to own and to live a certain lifestyle that the exterior of the home appears to advertise. It can take you back to your childhood to when you had a home just like this one with the flowers in the front and the winding walkway to the door and a beautiful brass door knocker on the front door. It is the quality that makes you want to go inside. That is why, if you have a limited budget to spend on marketing your home, you want to put the majority of it toward sprucing up the home's front entrance. A lot of the improvements you can do with a little elbow grease.
Clear away anything dead or unsightly-dead leaves, dead flowers. Trim the trees. 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 home.
Open the front curtains and shutters. Light the lamps.
Put out a clean new welcome mat.
Polish the brass door knocker, the mail box, light fixtures and address numbers.
If you have a front porch, keep it swept clean. Clean the furniture and put nice, new pillows on the chairs.
Keep the garage door closed. Put bikes, tricycles and children's toys out of the way.
Safely lock away pets. If you have a pet who remains in the back yard, let the showing agent know in advance. If your dog is a barker, overly protective or otherwise ill-mannered, arrange to board it somewhere else during showings.
What your buyer sees from the street is the first impression he/she will have of your home. You want it to be a good one, especially if there is a home down the street for sale that may be a little bit prettier, a little bit bigger or a little bit something more. Don't worry, you aren't out of the running, yet.
Remember, your buyer's first impression of the exterior of the home is important because it sets the tone for the rest of the buyer's walk through your home. If your buyer has fallen in love with the exterior, he/she will look more favorably on what is found inside.