Are you and your home ready to sell?
Recently I had occasion to go back and reread the very first column that ran in this space in September 2000. The topic was getting your home ready for sale, and since we are hopefully at the end of the real estate downturn and at the beginning of a busy selling season, it sure wouldn’t hurt to remind anyone who may selling their home of a few pertinent tips.
We all know that neat, clean, uncluttered and neutral is the best face to present to the world when selling your home. All of this is true, but it’s never been truer than now as homeowners face fierce competition in a still unsteady market. Don’t give a potential buyer any excuse to move on to the next property. Just a hint of mold or pet odors can be enough for someone to eliminate your home from the second look list.
Because of the Island’s exposure to moisture and salt, homes are subject to more wood rot, peeling paint and water stains. Get rid of it all, there’s nothing like a fresh coat of paint to give your house an instant facelift. And please repaint the front door. Even if it was done recently, there’s nothing like fresh paint, especially in a jazzy island color to make buyers remember your house.
Since we all live either on or near the water and want to maximize our views, homes on the Island tend to have a lot of glass. To say that keeping glass clean when you’re surrounded by salt water is a challenge is a monumental understatement. Unfortunately, glass windows and doors are one of the first things potential buyers are going to see. Make sure they’re not salty, dirty or streaked. You don’t want buyers to think your living under rather than on the water.
It’s also important to make sure all your systems are in working order. Appliances should be operational and sparkling clean. If an appliance isn’t working, buy a new one, it’s worth the investment to have buyers think you care enough about your home to keep it in tip top shape. Same thing with heating and air conditioning systems. Nothing will have buyers and their real estate agent running for their cars faster than a broken air conditioner when its 90 degrees.
If your home is one of the Island’s cozy cottage types you need to make it appear as spacious and open as possible. You may enjoy the 50 family photos lined up on your kitchen bar, but buyers will come away asking, "Where do I put the breakfast dishes?" The same thing is true in tiny bathrooms and bedrooms. Put it all away, even if you have to take it to your mother-in-law’s house or rent a storage space.
If you have a garage and/or carport, make sure it’s obvious that you have plenty of room for parking yours and your guests’ cars. This could be a make or break issue on an island where parking is at a premium.
The absolute best advice anyone can give you when selling your home is to relax and be flexible. Never turn away a showing or an offer. You never know who may be walking through that jazzy front door or what their agenda is.
More than nine years ago, I said “living on an island is almost like living in a parallel universe. There’s the Island, and there’s the rest of the world.” Since, the rest of the world also wants to live on an island, do your best to make them never want to leave.