Unlike in some places, at Lake Gaston buyers are turned off by fixer uppers. Thus, you’re far better off fixing every defect and raising the price rather than selling “as is” at a lower price. So, step back and walk through your home as if you were a very critical, nitpicking buyer. Then have every item repaired in a professional manner. Thus, if you’re not a good carpenter, you should hire one.
Now you need to stage the house to make a good first impression. And it’s really true, you only get one chance to make a good first impression, so declutter, declutter, declutter. And for hardheads like me, decluttering means getting rid of, not moving around. For kitchen and bathroom counters, the ideal one is empty or only has one item on it. If necessary, rent an off site storage building and move your excess items there. It’ll be the best $45 a month you’ll spend.
There’s no bigger bang for the buck than presenting a slightly under furnished, under accessorized home to its next owner. You’ll be surprised how much bigger and better your rooms look with less in them.
Next add a few cute lake accessories - bedspreads with lake motifs, a few cute lake pictures on the wall, a carved blue heron on the hearth. When we sold our first lake house for several hundred thousand dollars, we spent about $400 on lake accessories. What did the buyers mention? “I just love the atmosphere of this lake house.” So spend the $400.
Then, spend $20 and buy all white plastic clothes hangers for your closets. At a maximum, your closets (yes, the buyers will look in them) should be no more than 80% full.
With your lakeside windows, consider taking the curtains down completely or just having a ruffle or a valance. Buyers want their Lake houses light and airy – the more the better.
Now, the hard part – depersonalize. Pictures of my family are everywhere, but when I get my home ready for sale, I thin down to one per room. Also, put away any extensive collections - plates, dolls, etc. It’s hard for a buyer to visualize your home as theirs if your highly personalized items are everywhere.
Now, clean beyond clean. You know how some homes are just shiny clean? This is the way you want yours. If, like me, that’s not within your capability, hire the best maid you can.
Then, leave the curtains wide open, the air conditioning/heat at the normal temperature, and the water on so the buyers can use the bathroom. The extra energy cost will be worth it to avoid the worst selling scenario - while the realtor’s opening the curtains in your hot, dark house, the buyer says, “I don’t know, this home just doesn’t hit me. Let’s go look at another one.”
Lastly, a final touch. Fresh flowers are unbeatable if you’re able to keep them changed. If not, a few potted plants that you can persuade your neighbor to water if you’re not able to come at least once a week.
Now, on to "How do We Price our House?"