How do you make your home a magnet for homebuyers?
Getting maximum interest in your home can be challenging, especially if you haven’t experienced preparing a home for sale before.
If you don’t get the right agent to assist you, chances are homebuyers will keep driving to the next home on their list and your Kingstowne VA property will end up lingering on the market for months.
In this article, I will share with you some secrets that will help make your home a magnet for homebuyers.
Remember: First impression is everything
When selling your home, the first impression is what counts. The more appeal your home has, the more likely it is to sell fast and be bought at a higher selling price.
Imagine that you are a homebuyer driving around a community to search for homes. If you pass by a home and are not impressed with what you see, what will you do? You will keep driving to the next home until you finally chance upon the home that appeals to you, right?
Considering the current market conditions in Virginia, any advantage that your home has will help it compete with the other homes on the market. If your home is physically attractive to captivate homebuyers, it has the advantage. So, if you are selling your home, try to look at your property from the street and ask yourself, “is my home appealing enough from the outside to make homebuyers want to investigate it further?”
Make your house feel like home
While curb appeal is a fundamental part of the equation when selling a home, it is not the only part of the equation. The interiors of your home matter, too. If your home is attractive enough from the outside but its interiors are not good enough to make your house feel like home, then any effort you make to make it attractive from the outside is futile.
Say a house hunter who is driving around your neighborhood stops by your home. Are you ready to have the interiors of your house checked? If he comes in, will he look at your house as a place where he can live in the future? Or will he look at it harshly thinking that you have not done anything to maintain it?
Prepare your house for sale and maximize your proceeds!
If you are selling your home, your top goal must be to sell it fast and for the best price possible. You and I can work together to achieve this goal. In fact, there are easy and inexpensive strategies you can do to make your home appealing to prospective buyers while I do the rest of the job.
#1: Improve your home’s curb appeal
In Northern Virginia real estate, there is a saying that “curb appeal is king.” This saying applies whether you are getting your home in Kingstowne VA ready to sell or are simply updating it to adapt to your needs.
You may think that enhancing your lawn doesn’t sound as exciting as modernizing your kitchen, but when it comes to preparing your home for sale, it is in many ways just as crucial as improving the interiors of your home.
Remember: Your curb appeal shows your neighborhood pride; it reflects who you are.
Take a fresh look
Especially if you have lived in your house for so long, you might find it hard to see its flaws. As you get started with improving your curb appeal, try looking at your house as though you were looking at your neighbor’s. Does it have overgrown bushes or faded paint areas? How about weeds, a missing shutter or poorly mulched beds?
If you look at your home from a buyer’s perspective, it will be easier for you to not overlook the minor problems with your home. You may think that weeds are just weeds, but they can be a major turnoff to buyers. Imagine losing a prospective buyer just because you failed to pull out those visible weeds from your flowerbeds. You wouldn’t want that to happen, would you?
Pay attention to details!
There are lots of details involved when improving your curb appeal. These improvements are easy to make and won’t burn a hole in your pocket, but they do yield big results.
Here are some of the small projects you can do to make your house catch the interest of homebuyers when they view your house from the street:
1. Give your entrance a facelift
Nothing sells a house faster than a clean, fresh look. To make the entrance of your home warm and inviting, give it a new coat of paint or a new front door. You can also place large planters with flowers in them on either side of the door to create a focal point where prospective buyers can focus their eyes on.
2. Wash all your windows.
3. Clean out your garage.
The Virginia real estate market is very competitive. If you want to increase your chances of a speedy sale for top dollar, one of the small projects you can undertake as you prepare your home for sale is cleaning your garage. A clean garage impresses homebuyers. They want your house as perfect as possible, so don’t expect them to overlook details.
Consider these helpful tips for cleaning out your garage. At the end of the day, you’ll be amazed how much more your organized garage can actually hold!
Take everything out and focus on cleaning the ceiling, floor and walls. Start from the top and work your way down.
Pile up all the items you took out of your garage and examine which of them you should keep, throw out or sell. If you find it hard to decide, take it from “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up” author Marie Kondo: "If an object isn’t bringing you joy, get rid of it.”
Organize. Do some shelving to organize your essential garage items and free up some space. You can also mount ceiling hooks to hold sports equipment, bicycles or camping gear and stack containers to maximize your vertical space.
4. Landscape your yard
Okay, so you’ve put time and thought into your enhancing your entryway and cleaning out your garage, but what about your lawn?
I can never stress enough how important landscaping your yard is when it comes to improving your curb appeal. A well-groomed lawn gives buyers the impression that your house is well taken care of, both outside and inside.
When prospective homebuyers visit, your house’s yard is what they notice first. When they see that your lawn is boring or unkept, it will give them the impression that your property looks far from inviting.
I mentioned earlier the importance of a great first impression in luring homebuyers, and your lawn has a lot to do with that. Here are some strategies you can try to enhance your lawn:
Create shade areas. Do you have a landscaping plan? If yes, then make sure it provides shade for all areas of your property. You can plan shade trees in the northwest corner of your home to provide shade during times of the day when the owner of the home needs shade.
Go for ground cover or low shrub. You can plant shrub around your yard to add visual appeal to your curb. Since you are living in Virginia, however, you must check local Virginia ordinances regarding plantings. Some local governments prohibit tall shrub due to safety concerns.
Consider the height of your porch. The landscaping design you choose for your home should take into the various structures. If your house is only one or two steps above the ground, you don’t necessarily need to border it by tall shrubs---ground cover or low-growing shrubs will do.
Choose the right varieties of flowers. The climate in Virginia is just right for growing flowers. Flowers play a huge role in landscaping, not only because they add color but because they make your lawn look alive. And that’s basically what attracts buyers—a property that looks alive.
Planting flowers is not only cost effective; it is also a dazzling way to improve your curb appeal.
If you want to add some visual appeal and excitement to your home and catch the eye of house hunters, plant flowers! It will also give you the opportunity to relax and enjoy the beautiful weather in Virginia.
Here are flowers that are easy to grow and thrive in this part of Northern Virginia:
Bright red salvia plant
The flowers you choose for your home depend on your personal preference. You might want an assortment of plants and colors, or incorporate different shades of green and various textures with just a few pops of colors here and there.
And oh, how you set up your plants in your lawn also matters! If you have a front porch, it is best to set potted plants on your front steps. Now if you have a sidewalk that leads to your front door, it will be nice to plant flowers along each side of the concrete path. You can also hang plants next to your front door. Play around with your options to determine which setup suits your space best.
If you haven’t maintained your lawn for long, chances are weeds have already started to gain a foothold in there and you’ll have a hard time accomplishing any of the landscaping enhancements I suggested above. Check out this video to know how to get your weedy lawn back in control:
Whether you are dreaming of a refreshed look for your home to improve its curb appeal or simply want to love what you see when you pull into your driveway, it helps giving your home’s exterior a fresh coat of paint.
Choosing a paint color for the exterior of your home is quite a commitment, especially when you consider the nuance of color. But don’t worry, here are classic exterior color choices for Virginia homes you can pick from:
Bright and elegant white
When it comes to painting your home, you will never go wrong with white. It does not only make your home look spotless; it also creates the perfect backdrop to showcase your beautiful landscaping.
Exterior color schemes that include tans, browns and creams usually blend seamlessly with landscaping and help highlight the architectural details of a home.
Bold and stately
Dark exterior paint colors that include mid to dark grays, hunter greens and navy blues are beautiful options if you want to find the middle ground between classic charm and current trends.
6. Power wash your outdoor space
As a real estate agent, it is easy for me to tell which homes on the market are going to appeal to active homebuyers. Active buyers can tell that, too!
If you are thinking about how to get maximum interest in your property, remember that nothing impresses homebuyers more than a clean house. I mentioned earlier how important details are in preparing your home for sale, and that pretty much includes ensuring that your house is sparkling clean so it is always ready for showings.
Here’s the secret: Buyers are drawn to properties that give them a “like new” feel. And you shouldn’t wait for them to enter your house to give them that feel. To make them even want to see your house’s interiors, your driveways and sidewalks should be clean enough to invite them in.
So you have already enhanced your curb appeal. What’s next? Make your house feel like home.
Staging your home: Yes, it’s worth it!
Even if it’s your first time to sell a home in Virginia, you’ve probably heard of home staging before, and you probably know that this has to do with cutting the clutter and rearranging your furniture for optimal buyer appeal.
Well, there is actually more to home staging than making your house look beautiful. It’s more about making your house feel like home. It’s about tapping into prospective homebuyers’ emotions when searching for a property and making them visualize your house as their future home. Home staging is your gateway to success!
Do you know how much difference home staging can make in your home sale? A world of difference!
Yes, staging your home can make a world of difference in how quickly it sells. In fact, professional home staging can literally be the difference between finding a buyer for your home in days versus not being able to sell your home at all. I know that sounds pretty much like an exaggeration, but every home stager will agree how true that can be, so take it from me.
Check out this video to see how home staging makes your home look bigger:
Take a look at these home staging statistics and see how it actually works.
As a homeowner, your goal is to make your home attractive to buyers so you can sell it quickly and command top dollar. If you want to achieve this two-fold goal, stage your home. Highlight your house’s best assets and minimize its less-than-ideal aspects. Pare down and cut the clutter.
Local Realtor and stager Sharon Goetz once said, “The biggest crime is that people have too much stuff.” I strongly agree.
I have gathered here some valuable home some staging tips from reputable Virginia-based home stagers that will make your home a magnet for homebuyers.
1. Give every room a purpose.
According to Stephanie Kelley, you shouldn’t be in a guessing game with potential buyers as to the use of the rooms in your home. Place your furniture in their proper places and let your home speak for itself.
I’ve discussed earlier how painting the exteriors of your home can give your property a new look. Well, do you know that painting the interiors of your home also affects your home’s selling price? And there’s a study to prove it!
Zillow Digs recently conducted a study on 50,000 homes and found that homes sell for more or less depending on the colors used to paint their rooms! For example, kitchens painted yellow sell for an average of $1,360 more, while kitchens painted white sell for an average of $82 less.
3. Use proper lighting.
Do you know why a big window at the end of a hallway or an exterior view engages you? Because you are psychologically programmed to move towards light.
According to Virginia home stager Stephanie Kelley, one of the keys to making your home look light, bright and livable is to have at least three lamps in each of your rooms. Who wants to live in a dark and gloomy home anyway?
Think of these four ways you can maximize lighting at your home:
Ask yourself: “What is this room going to be used for?”
There are rooms that need just enough lighting, while there are rooms that need layers of lighting, like your kitchen. When installing your light sources, think of functionality and practicality.
Use it to set the mood.
Adjust the brightness of your light sources depending on the mood you want to set for a particular room. You can use dimmers to achieve just the right feel to every room.
Use lighting to highlight a space.
Imagine if your dining room does not have a pendant lighting above your dining table. The room looks unimportant, doesn’t it? But when you install a chandelier there, it highlights the table and makes the room look important.
Use it to create drama.
Giving your room a mix of light sources adds some drama to your home. In fact, lighting can be considered a decorating touch all by itself. If you want to maximize the use of your lighting, you can incorporate different light sources in a room instead of using just one large glaring light in the middle of your ceiling.
Here are some lighting design rules you may want to consider for your home:
4. Clear furniture away from walls.
Are you guilty of shoving all your furniture away from the middle of your room, thinking that will help make your room look more spacious? You might not have heard this before, but this is actually a big decorating and staging faux pas. Doing this doesn’t make your room look bigger---it only makes it look odd.
I suggest that you float your furniture instead, or pick layouts that will emphasize the function and natural flow of each of your rooms.
5. Don’t over personalize.
Again, your goal as a home seller is to make prospective homebuyers identify with your home and allow them to visualize it as their future home. How can you do that if your home is filled with overly personal stuff like photos, refrigerator magnets, certificates or books?
As Goetz put it, “it’s tough love.” Don’t let buyers raise an eyebrow at your taste or disagree with your religion. Don’t remind them that the house they’re in is your residence and not their future home.
6. Don’t overstuff your closets and bookshelves.
Home stagers in Virginia suggest that as you prepare your home for sale, you empty out your bookshelves and closets by at least 20%. Some even suggest that you empty it out by 50%! Why? Because cramming these spaces with too much stuff will only make them look smaller.
Always remember: Homebuyers love space---a lot of it. You are staging your home not because you are selling your stuff, but because you are selling your square footage, so show off as much space as you can.
Nobody wants to buy a home that looks beaten up. If you think you have failed to keep your home well maintained throughout the years, you have a problem. Otherwise, this part should be easy for you.
When staging your home, even the littlest things matter. Little issues with your light fixtures and faucets can make your home look beaten up if you don’t repair them, and that’s the last thing you want prospective buyers to see in your home.
Yes, I know every house is subject to wear and tear. But the good news is that there are repairs you can still do to make it seem ship-shape!
Ø Install new caulking around your showers, tubs and sinks
Ø Make sure all your light bulbs are working
Ø Sweep your chimneys
Ø Change your outdated cabinet hardware
Ø Repair your broken window screens or door knobs
Ø Make sure that all your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are functioning
Ø Replace broken tiles and shingles
If you are not the handyman type, chances are you will overlook these small details and ultimately turn off your buyers. And I’m not just talking here about the repairs. From enhancing your curb appeal to staging your home, it pays to have a good eye for details.
If you hire me as your real estate agent, I will help you spot the defects of your home and will even recommend service partners to facilitate all the needed improvements and repairs.
As more and more Kingstowne VA houses hit the market and more and more buyers try to snag a good deal, expect the competition to be tight so keep this in mind—YOUR HOME NEEDS TO BE A CUT ABOVE THE REST. I can do that for you.
Call me today at 703-431-3755 so we can discuss when we can walk through your home together and devise a winning strategy to make your property a magnet for homebuyers. Before you know it, I have already sold your home!