When preparing your Austin home to sell, you’ll want to make sure the entire house is spotlessly clean and show ready. In an ideal world, you’ll prepare every surface to be scrutinized by a discerning buyer. But, in the real world, you’ll have limited time to prepare. You’ll want to prioritize the time you do have by focussing on the areas that are most noticed. We’ve toured thousands of buyers in our careers and can tell you exactly where buyers look most and thus, where you should focus the limited time you have. Here are the five areas sellers should pay extra attention to when preparing to sell.
The first place a buyer will see is the front yard, so sellers should really focus there first. Remember, if a buyer arrives early for a showing, they won’t be able to get inside your house. They’ll stare at the outside of your house while they wait for their Realtor to arrive. Don’t give them a reason to question whether or not this is the house for them before they walk inside. Trim all bushes, make sure the lawn is cut, edged and fertilized, power wash the house so there is no staining, repaint shutters and trim, plant some colorful flowers, consider adding some garden statues or art if your neighborhood supports that. Most importantly, when a buyer pulls up in front of your house, does it look show ready and inviting? How does your yard compare to the neighbor’s yard? Does it stand out? If so, great. Let’s move on to the next area a buyer will spend a lot of time.
The front porch is where a buyer waits while their Realtor opens the keybox. This can take anywhere from a minute to several minutes depending on how quickly the keybox talks to the satellite. What are buyers doing during this time? Finding reasons to discount your house, mostly because they are bored. Is the porch clean? Is there any evidence of birds or rodents? Are the potted plants dead? Is it cluttered? Is the front door freshly painted or stained? Is the doormat tattered? Is the lock difficult to open? If so, repair the lock so a buyer can get inside as quickly as possible. Stand on your front porch like a buyer would. Close the front door, look high and low for anything that can be cleaned up or improved. Make buyers excited to walk in your home. Next, we’ll head inside.
About the first place every buyer goes is the kitchen. It’s where many buyers will focus their attention during showings. Even if they are not chefs, the kitchen is a natural gathering place for the family. Many buyers will often just go in the kitchen and stand there. Take a close look at your kitchen. Is the stove spotless? Are the counters clean and free of grime? Are the cabinets wiped down? Is the hardware on the cabinets properly secured? Is the backsplash and vent hood free of grease? Is the counter free of clutter? Are the dishes in the dishwasher or put away? Is the dish scrubber in the dishwasher or under the sink? Though you might think your kitchen looks clean and tidy, if it looks like you just made breakfast or that you still live there, that’s not what buyers want to see. They want to see a beautiful, clean kitchen they can see their family in. They don’t want to feel like they are standing in someone else’s kitchen. Keep as minimal out as you possibly need and have a plan to quickly put things away if you get a last minute showing request.
After buyers explore the kitchen, they immediately go for the master bathroom. The master bedroom is on the way, so they’ll pause there to make sure it will fit what they want in it, but the master bathroom is a place they are drawn to. Spend extra time making it spotlessly clean. Wipe down shower doors, make sure, tile is free of mildew and soap scum, scrub the bathtub so it is clean and inviting, erase all toothpaste splatter from the mirror, clean the counters, put out fresh towels, mop the floors and put bathroom necessities in drawers or cabinets, we also recommend to clean your windows so that they look spotless. Again, you want to make the space inviting, but take away as much evidence as you can that you live there.
Baseboards and Air Filters
This is an odd one I know, but buyers look at the details. Baseboards and air filters are one area that, if neglected, make buyers question what else has been ignored that they can’t see. Baseboards are a hard, tedious area to clean, so if you don’t want to scrub on your hands and knees, hire someone. For a few hundred dollars, you’ll present a spotlessly clean house and not have buyers questioning “what else could be wrong” with your house.
Air filters are an easy switch. Replace them, even if they’ve been replaced recently, and vacuum around the air return. It might even be necessary to take the grate down and wash it. If you have pets, this is a must do. Austin is very pet friendly, but people love their own pets, not other peoples.
Bonus Tip: Write a Letter to the Next Buyer Telling Them Everything You Love About Your House
You know your house better than anyone. You know where to get the best pizza. What grocery stores have the best selection. What amenities in your neighborhood you enjoyed the most. How many kids are on the street and what ages. How your kids loved walking to the park. These are all things that someone touring your house for the first time may not know and probably might want to know. Spend a few minutes writing a letter to the next buyer. Tell them everything you loved about your house, your neighbors and the area. Give them a reason to buy your house over the next one they see. Leave a stack on the kitchen counter. I promise, coming from your voice it will be much more believable than their Realtor’s.
Considering Selling Your Austin Home?
If you’re considering selling your Austin home, let our Austin real estate specialists help you determine the most time and cost effective ways to get the most money for your home. We’ve worked with thousands of buyers in our careers and know how they think, what they pay more for and how to get them to make a decision quickly. Check out our Austin Home Selling program to learn how our home selling system is guaranteed to sell your home faster and for more money. Then, call us at (512) 827-8323, email us at info@11OaksRealty.com or fill out or to schedule a no obligation consultation.