Thinking about selling your Gainesville home in the next six months? Next year? Or maybe sometime in the next two? Taking a few minutes to think about how to best prepare your home now could go a long way in easing the process later.
According to Bonnie Cameron, one of the leading Coldwell Banker M.M. Parrish real estate agents in the Gainesville area, three things are a must when preparing to sell your home, “Declutter, paint neutral colors and repair anything that is not working!”
Family photos. Beautiful dried flower arrangements. The ceramic cat made by your daughter - 17 years ago. They are most certainly sentimental and bring you lots of joy. But to potential buyers? They are dust magnets.
Try an experiment. Take a picture of an area in your family room as it is now. Then clear off two-thirds of the items on the shelves and tabletops before taking another photo. What do you notice in the second photo? Is your eye now drawn to the beautiful archway entrance or bay window or the cathedral ceiling? That’s what editing can do for you and your home. Emphasize your home’s space and architectural features, not your Hummel collection.
Can the toaster and knife block be stored in a cabinet? Pots kept on the stove and decorative food canisters on the counter, even though beautiful - say one thing – there must not be enough storage space in this kitchen.
Store as much as you can in the cabinets and drawers. Donate what you simply don’t use – someone else may actually need it! (see previous blog on where to donate items locally in Gainesville!)
Can the seven family cell phones, iPads and Nintendo Switches be charged in one place? Create a charging station and place all items in one spot or better yet, one drawer. Creating a home for all of your appliances neaten up the kitchen giving clear, clean lines to the beautiful, functional layout.
Invest in an in box for all of those loose papers and use it. But by all means don’t add an “out box.” Once something needs to go “out,” get it “out” - walk it now to the mailbox or place it in the back pack or throw it in the trash. And those wires for the computer, printer, scanner, and phone? Use now as an excuse to upgrade to wireless if you can, otherwise, cord and cable covers come in multiple sizes and colors and are easily available through Amazon, or any of Gainesville’s home or office supply stores.
Just like in your family room, take a look at what you have on your dresser and nightstand. Not only will a clutter-free bedroom be welcoming to a potential buyer, but the serene space will make your life that much calmer when trying to sell.
Take the time to edit the “to read” pile on your nightstand down to one or two books or magazines. Move the charging cellphone from your dresser to the charging station you just created in the kitchen. Perhaps add a basket for the extra blankets and throws.
If you are worried about depersonalizing the space remind yourself what your goal is – to sell, sell quickly and sell for the highest price possible. The easier an eye can flow through a room, the cleaner and lighter the potential buyer may feel.
The added bonus of decluttering? You’ve just halved the time for dusting your home. Without all those items to move and readjust, cleaning and tidying up just got that much easier, saving you even more time to find that perfect new home.
From the 1970s earth tones, to the 80s mauve and muted colors to the trip to Tuscany in the 90s with terra cotta and putty leading into the coffee and latte obsession of the early 2000s and then eventually the graying of America in the 2010s, a home’s color scheme can scream age loud and clear. But what makes it timeless and easy? Neutral colors.
If your plan is to sell, then you have to remove a bit of yourself – at least from the walls. Add your color personality with throw pillows or other accessories and perhaps more personal spaces such as a bedroom or home office. But for resale, keep the home’s more public spaces, such as the kitchen, family room and entry way, in the neutral zone making it easier for a prospective home buyer to see its potential.
And even if your home colors are neutral, I defy you to find a home realtor – the experts should know -that doesn’t tout the benefits of a freshly painted home interior. Look closely at the trim and baseboards. Home buyers will.
Has adding a dish towel just underneath the dishwasher to catch occasional leaks become part of the routine? Your family may be perfectly aware that you can’t have the microwave running while the slow cooker is plugged into the same wall – but during a home inspection? Failing electrical outlets are a red flag. The fan in the guest bedroom hasn’t worked since your mother-in-law was last in town – but you just don’t use that room much, right? Wrong.
Make a punch list now – don’t wait. Having a home with everything in good working order simply helps justify the asking price. Once things start to add on a “to do” list for a potential buyer, the offer price goes down.
Even if you are not looking to sell in the next few months, why wait? If you are going to invest in the repairs, why not enjoy them yourself for a while? Also, spreading out the cost of home repairs and upgrades over time will help lighten the load as well.