In The Beginning:
It began as one of those builder grade foreclosed houses at the end of a quiet street. This house had many imperfections that included; a missing broken window, the not-so-private backyard, the honey oak wood trim, mismatched flooring, a burgeoning forest of weeds and dandelions as far as the property lines were marked intently on the ground. We bought it for a steal back in 2007, when the market was in the middle of a crisis.
Even in the middle of a downturn at the time, we saw these imperfections as a blank slate with tons of potential. We knew it was risky and we went for it anyway. Over the years, 9 to be exact, with some much-needed TLC, we turned this once forgotten foreclosure into our home boasting with pride and joy.
And then, it happened…
We did such a great job at turning that house into a home that we made someone else fall in love with it at first sight!
In fact, we maximized it’s potential, gave it some TLC during those 9 years and it more than returned it’s grace to us and paid us back in-kind.
To our surprise, we made another family fall in love with our home at first sight! Within a few short hours of already signing a contract for another house, they broke their contract and made an offer on our house, SITE UNSEEN!
You read that right!
We had our minds blown too when we heard those words uttered from the mouth of the new owners! We literally put our blood, sweat, and tears, not to mention some serious moolah, into this house thinking that we were going to stay there forever.
But then life happened, and we sold it after just 1 day of being listed on the MLS (Multiple Listings Service).
It’s a crazy mad roller coaster ride! I know!
This entire process was, I know it! Lol
Before I begin to show you what we did to sell our home so quickly, let me first begin by telling you to change your mindset.
You heard me right because, in order to make this possible, you must first change your mindset about how you see your home.
What you do with it, will determine how others see it for the very first time.
9 Questions to Ask Yourself About Why You Are Selling Your Home:
Ask yourself some really tough questions and answer those questions honestly.
1-Why am I selling my home?
2-Is the size of my current home too small for my family and I?
3-Is there enough space for my family and I to grow old together here?
4-Do I see myself living here for x amount of years or longer?
5-What can I do to improve my home’s value?
6-How can I add value without breaking the bank?
7-What are some positives and negatives about this home?
8-Does the neighborhood or my neighbors bother me?
9-What do I love the most/least about this home?
If you can sit down with your spouse, partner, and/or family and have a candid conversation about why it is you are selling your home. Then you are ready to tackle this adventure together.
Because let me frank with you when I say this: There is a whole lot of work to get your home ready, from getting it listed to get it SOLD!
-Some blood was spilled (someone had some paper cuts from folding all those cardboard boxes and decided to cut tape with their teeth)
-There was a lot of sweat (from going up and down the stairs several times to carry an obscene amount of boxes),
-And of course, some tears were shed too (tears of boredom from the kids-they never want to move ever again.)
But I assure you, folks, it was very well worth it!
Be sure to check out our DIY’s Before and After pix for more helpful ideas that you can implement in your own home to add value or help in the sale of your house.
The Nitty Gritty:
Without further ado, here’s what we did to make that happen for us and you can do the same too!
- Declutter! Declutter! Declutter! I cannot stress this point enough. Think less is more in this case. You want bare, or close to that, surfaces throughout your house. Think “model home” in this case. You are selling a vision of a “would be perfection” to your prospective buyer, not a vision of your cluttered left-overs. If you must keep your clutter, keep it hidden and out of sight especially during showings so that your prospective buyer can envision themselves living in this fantasy dream home that you have created for them.
*Side Note: There was a house right down the street from us (literally like 4 houses down) that was listed for the past 2 years, that sat untouched with no offers, most likely because it still looks like the photo above of our basement before we cleaned it out.
The main reason why it was still on the market well-after our house sold. The reality is that people do not want to see “you” strewn about. Instead, they want to be able to envision themselves living in the space that you are selling.
This was the reason why I was so nervous about selling our house. In every photo that they have uploaded to the MLS, it was apparent that there were gobs of clutter that needed to be gone.
Therefore, in order to sell your home, you need to not make it about you.
I know this is tough to digest because as proven by me, that’s how my before pic looked like before we decided to declutter and get serious.
Been there, did that, it will be ok. YOU GOT THIS!
2. Mean Green Cleaning Machine! Also another point I cannot stress enough about. Clean your house like your life depends on it! So clean, you can eat off the floors, like having your last-meal on it type of clean. I’m serious about this. There’s just no other way around it. You want your house to be immaculate, as in stain-free, without a reasonable doubt as to where that mystery odor is coming from kind of clean.
3. Light the way! Be sure to turn on all the lights if the showings are in the evening. If it is during the day, be sure to open all the shades. The idea here is to let in as much natural light as possible to show how bright airy, and expansive your home looks and feels. This is another reason why any sort of light neutral shade of paint that reflects the most light will win the hearts of your prospective buyer.
4. Be like the Swiss and Go Neutral (see step #3) Paint your walls a neutral color or stick with plain white walls. Again, you want the eyes to continue glossing over the entire space allowing your home to look bigger and more expansive. Staging each room with some smartly placed and appropriately-sized furniture will help the prospective buyer imagine themselves living in their dream home. Use your own furniture if it is in great condition or consider renting out some from a staging company for the duration of your home selling process.
5. The Holy Trinity When staging, decorate in vignettes of odd numbers, preferably 3’s and 5’s, for a more contemporary or modern look. If you have a more traditional looking home, like a classic Victorian home, then symmetry would work better. You would decorate in pairs using an even number or 2’s or 4’s, like pillows on a couch or place settings on a dining room table.
6. Go Up, Up, Up: Take advantage of the high ceilings, if you have them. Draw the eyes up with long sheer drapes as close to the ceiling as possible and just barely skimming the floors. Or you can leave an extra 2-4 inches billowing on the sides of windows for a soft and romantic feel in the living room and bedrooms.
7. Deodorize the Premises Use a scented candle from the fancy store at the mall or a room spray, also from said store in the mall. Bake some chocolate chip cookies, brew a fresh pot of hazelnut coffee, or simmer some oranges, lemons, and cloves in a small slow cooker a few minutes before any showing. You want to enhance your prospective buyer’s ole factory by giving them a lingering memory of how pleasant your house smelled.
8. Out of Sight, Out of Mind Be sure to clean, hide, and put away anything that is pet related, dirty, unsanitary, or just a plain eyesore. Put away your pet’s food bowls, hide/get rid of chew toys, and most importantly – absolutely & without a doubt get rid of pet dander, pet hair, and pet stains that can offend your buyers! Because pet hairs inside of your nice stainless steel fridge is a major turn off to any potential buyers giving them the impression that your home is dirty and unkempt!)
9. First Impression is Everything! Be sure to trim the bushes, pull the weeds, mow the lawn, or shovel your driveway & front porch. Flank your front door with container flowers, a nice and clean welcome mat, and a pretty wreath to set the tone for the rest of your house.
10. Keep it Generic: Stash away your family photos especially wedding photos and children’s photos. You want to encourage your prospective buyer to envision their own memory-making process not your own. After all, you are selling them your property to them, not your memories.
11. Rinse, Wash, and Repeat all the steps above on up until closing. This is probably one of the hardest things to do, aside from de-cluttering your entire house. You have to continue the upkeep and keep it clean all up until you’ve sold your home and signed the closing paperwork. Just keep swimming, you’re almost there…
12. Sit back, Relax, and Enjoy the fruits of your labor because you deserve it after all that hard work! Now that you have gone thru each and every step, from 1-11, you deserve a much-needed break. Go crack open a bottle of wine and celebrate your hard work.
Best of luck to you!
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