Understanding the Buyer

As the seller, you can control three factors that will affect the sale of your home:
  • The home’s condition
  • Asking price
  • Marketing strategy
However, it’s important to note that there are numerous other factors that influence a buyer, and you need to understand these consumer trends when you enter the sellers’ market. The more your home matches these qualifications, the more competitive it will be in the marketplace. Your real estate agent can advise you on how to best position and market your home to overcome any perceived downsides.

Location
Unfortunately, the most influential factor in determining your home’s appeal to buyers is something you can’t control: its location. According to the National Association of REALTORS(r), neighborhood quality is the No. 1 reason buyers choose certain homes. The second most influential factor is commute times to work and school.

Size
While some buyers want to simplify their lives and downsize to a smaller home, home sizes in general have continued to increase over the decades, nearly doubling in size since the 1950s. Smaller homes typically appeal to first-time home buyers and “empty nesters,” or couples whose children have grown up and moved out.

Amenities
Preferences in floor plans and amenities go in and out of fashion, and your real estate agent can inform you of the “hot ticket” items that are selling homes in your market. If your home lacks certain features, you can renovate to increase its appeal, but be forewarned: That’s not always the right move. Using market conditions and activity in your neighborhood as a gauge, your agent can help you determine whether the investment is likely to help or hinder your profit margin and time on the market.

Increasing Your Home’s Appeal

Remember the 60-second rule: That’s all the time you have to create a winning first impression. Here are some simple to significant ways to maximize your home’s appeal.

Exterior
  • Keep the grass cut and remove all yard clutter.
  • Weed and apply fresh mulch to flower beds.
  • Apply fresh paint to wooden fences.
  • Tighten and clean all door handles.
  • Clean windows inside and out.
  • Powerwash home’s exterior.
  • Ensure all gutters and downspouts are firmly attached and functioning.
  • Paint the front door.
    Buy a new welcome mat.
  • Place potted flowers near the front door.
Interior

  • Evaluate the furniture in each room and remove anything that interrupts “the flow” or makes the room appear smaller. Consider renting a storage unit to move items off-site.
  • Clean and organize cabinets, closets and bookshelves.
  • Clean all light fixtures and ceiling fans.
  • Shampoo carpets.
  • Remove excessive wall hangings and knick-knacks
  • Repair all plumbing leaks, including faucets and drain traps.
  • Make minor repairs (torn screens, sticking doors, cracked caulking).
  • Clean or paint walls and ceilings.
  • Replace worn cabinet and door knobs.
  • Fix or replace discolored grout.
  • Replace broken tiles.
  • Replace worn countertops.
  • Buy new towels for bathrooms
  • Buy new bedding for bedrooms
  • Replace old lamps or lampshades.
Special details for showings

  • Turn on all the lights.
  • Open all drapes and shutters in the daytime.
  • Keep pets secured outdoors.
  • Play quiet background music.
  • Light the fireplace or clean out the ashes and light a candelabrum.
  • Infuse home with a comforting scent, such as apple spice or vanilla.
  • Set the dining room table for a fancy dinner party.
  • Vacate the property while it is being shown.