Three years ago we lived in a cute, quirky mid century house in Saint Paul, Minnesota when my husband got a job offer in North Carolina. We loved our home in Minnesota. It was custom built, one of a kind, and in walking distance to the local lake and zoo. But North Carolina is a lot closer to family (both sets of grandparents live in South Carolina) and we knew it was the right choice to move our family.
So, we had a few weeks to prepare our house for market, interview realtors, and then my husband moved for the new job while I kept our house ready for viewings (while caring for our 4 and 6 year old...trust me, it was the hardest thing I've EVER done in my life!)
The GREAT news is that our house got an offer in under 2 weeks that went through to the final sale. It actually might have been under a week, but that part of my life is a blur and I can't remember the exact date! Reflecting back I can think of a few things that helped get an offer quickly. Sharing those ideas with you below!
1. Update the Home with Buyers In Mind
This is a mindset you can have years before you put your home on the market. It is still your home--but when you select new light fixtures or paint colors, keep in mind that your home is a large financial asset and worth investing in. Doing the work years or months ahead of resale will prevent a lot of last minute stress.
With that said, know the local market and don't overspend on your improvements. We spent $5,000 on our Minnesota kitchen and completely updated the space. Adding marble countertops wouldn't have fit the local neighborhood--instead we used butcherblock with a classic white subway tile backsplash.
And I have to mention paint colors. You may love the colors purple and lime green. And if you are planning to stay in the same home for 10 years--go for it! But if you plan to list it in the next year or two, instead of painting the walls a bold color: use throw pillows and curtains with your favorite colors. Keep the walls neutral!
2. Stage the Space
Be mindful of the layout and square footage in your home. Less furniture will make the room more spacious. If the oversized dining table makes it a challenge to get into the kitchen, remove it!
Our three bedrooms upstairs were small, but by showing bunkbeds in the kids' room and good use of closet space it showed the home was functional and family friendly. Oh, and details matter! In their room I used neutral white and teal bedding in the kids' room so it wasn't team boy or girl.
When guests are viewing your home with a realtor, they are trying to envision themselves living in your home. Their couch. Their bed. Their artwork. Trust me--you will sell your home more quickly if you declutter and limit personal photos in your home.
3. Treat It Like a Job
When we lived in Minnesota I stayed home with our two kids and ran a vintage Etsy shop part-time. But when it came time to sell the house, I closed the Etsy shop and all my energy went into preparing the house. From bringing in people to fix mechanical issues, to checking the fireplace, getting appraisals, cleaning, staging.... it was easily a full time job for a few weeks.
Remember, your home is an investment. The energy you put into your home before resale will pay off!
4. Clean, Clean, Clean
I have never cleaned so hard in my life. As a quick tip--when your house is on the market buy all the time -saving cleaning products you can find! Windex wipes and Clorox wipes were my BFFs. After viewings check the house, each time we had a viewing people tracked in dirt. I don't know how they managed it, but they did.
5. Share Your Listing in Local Facebook Groups
When it came time to put our house on the market, I shared it in several local Facebook groups related to mid century (1950s style) homes. Our realtor was surprised at how many viewings we had those first few weeks and owed it to the Facebook groups I shared it in. Don't underestimate the power of social media.
6. Use a Good Photographer
It pains me sometimes to see a beautiful home with terrible photography in its listing. Make sure you or your realtor uses a good quality photographer who documents your home well with natural light (during the day, curtains open, blinds open). People will be more likely to visit your home in person if they've had a good first impression in the listing.
Have you sold a home in the past? What worked and what didn't?