The Road to Best and Highest Offer
Sellers are from Mars and buyers are from Venus. That’s why selling your home today bears little resemblance to the time when your parents put their home on the market decades ago, or, more recently, when your best friends sold theirs. The path of least resistance and most profit is to surrender to the fact that today’s buyers handle the home-buying process very differently. You need to tailor your preparation to what buyers want, not what you grudgingly are okay doing.
Because today’s buyers shop online first, your home must pass the “swipe-test” and make a great first impression among all the other homes buyers will look at before even calling an agent and making an appointment.
Gone are the days of simply making do with small living spaces and bathrooms past their prime and renovating a house in stages as your budget allows. Young buyers in Westchester are typically highly educated and both partners work full-time. They value free time, leisure activities, and desirable lifestyle over investing blood, sweat, and tears into a months-long renovation. This means that you, the seller, alongside your seasoned and experienced local realtor, must tailor the preparation of your home to your largest potential pool of buyers.
In general, young buyers with families and older downsizing couples have little interest in homes that need total renovation. Even some systems and decor upgrades can be deal-breakers. Give serious consideration to upgrading big-ticket items, if needed, such as the roof, windows, and HVAC systems before you list your home. That way you can control the costs and take away any significant objections for the buyer before they even step into the front hall.
Smaller improvements that give you the best bang for your buck include: a fresh coat of paint, notably light and bright colors over dark and dated ones; new doors on kitchen/bathroom cabinetry; replacing older kitchen appliances; cleaning and re-grouting kitchen and bathroom tile; and replacing older faucets, kitchen handles and pulls, and light fixtures.
Last, but definitely not least, on your checklist, is staging. Start by donating gently used possessions and getting a dumpster to discard the household items that no one wants. Your agent will then find you a seasoned stager to help make the new streamlined version of your home sparkle.
First impressions are extremely important to the 2020 buyer, so pay attention to exterior curb appeal and interior style and ambience. Don’t worry if your home now feels cold and sterile and not to your taste, and all your friends say they can’t understand why you needed to change a thing in your lovely and welcoming home. Your friends and your peer group are not buying your house! Your only goal is to appeal to the largest group of today’s young buyers in order to generate and field offers.
So, hold your nose, listen to your realtor, and tally ho into the spring market!
- Fiona Dogan, Sotheby’s