The National Association of REALTORS announced that 4.25 million homes sold in 2011 and that was a down year. All statistics indicate that 2012 will surpass 2011 in the number of homes sold. Some cities are showing reduced sales numbers but that reduction is directly tied to inventory. In San Diego, and most of California, there aren’t enough homes available for the number of buyers who have returned to the market.
There are two basic buyer groups in the market today. The first group is investors who will take a home in terrible condition because they want to refurbish the home and then either rent it or resell it. If you are trying to appeal to these buyers you pretty much don’t have to do anything except be willing to sell at rock bottom prices.
The second group is first-time home buyers who want a home they can just move into and forget about it. despite their insistence they are willing to look at short sales and foreclosed homes, they actually want a home with all the upgrades already done. They want a home that will charm them. So how do you make your home charming?
The first way to charm buyers starts at the street. Since most buyers now use the internet and are viewing pictures of your home first, you have to make sure those pictures wow them. The first picture of your home is typically the front of the home so spend time fixing up the front yard. Make sure the lawn is mowed and trimmed. Add color with pony-packs of flowers. Trim the shrubs and rack the leaves. If you have some areas that need patching and paint, spend a weekend touching up the trim and power wash your driveway and sidewalks. Make the home sparkle – it will make a great first impression.
Next clean up the clutter. You are going to move anyway so start your packing now. A garage that has boxes stacked neatly tells a buyer you are serious about moving. So clean out those closets, get the kids to put their toys in the toy boxes and get the home “ready for company.”
Pretend your mom is coming for a visit. Make your beds everyday and clean the toothpaste off the bathroom counters. Pack away the art work on the fridge and keep the dishwasher cleared of dishes. Get the dirty clothes into the hamper rather than the floor. Clean off the kitchen counters and if possible move some of the canisters and small appliances into cupboards or better yet, get them packed up.
Keep the carpets and floors clean. You don’t have to mop your floors everyday but running a dust mop a couple of times a week to catch those dust-bunnies sure helps. Sorry guys, put the toilet seat down. Walking into a bathroom with the seat up is a turn off. Organize the shower products so the tub and shower don’t look like a bomb went off. Get the combs, brushes, make up and hair dryers off the counter tops. You want your bathrooms to look spacious and sparkle.
Backyards are the private space everyone is looking for. Make sure the patio furniture is clean and free of cobwebs. Add some new throw pillows to the furniture for a splash of color. If you have a table and chairs, make sure the table top is clean. If you have a barbecue that is a little past its prime, how about an inexpensive cover? If you are going to keep the barbecue uncovered, make sure it is clean and the tools are put away or hanging of hooks on the side. If you have a pool, how about folding your beach towels or adding hooks for them to dry on? Make sure your landscaping is tidy and neat. You don’t have to do as much work as the front, but who wants to relax in a back yard with the grass knee-high?
Now your home is ready to charm the pants off any buyer and the offer price and the number of offers will reflect the charm.