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I am a Realtor. I’m proud of that fact because I love people and I love homes. I’ve sold new construction homes before, and now I am happily planted in residential real estate. Having a career hanging out with homes for well over seven years I have seen a few things.
Some things I will never un-see, such as velvet wolf paintings, someone’s bong collection and enough 70s wallpaper to induce an acid flash back. I’ve seen enough blue shag carpet to make Liberace gag. I’ve seen bathroom fixtures the color of vomit. I have dealt with the overwhelming odor of cat pee and Dr. Pepper. I have been in the trenches and here is what I want to say to anyone who is looking to sell their home...
1. Your collection has to go.
I’m sorry. I know you love your collection of clown figurines, stuffed deer heads, porcelain dolls, or whatever thing you collect. Listen, I am a die-hard geek with an action figure collection myself, but when I go to sell they will be packed away. People have a hard time imagining themselves in a space. Empty rooms with no purpose confuse them. They get tripped up on visual cues all the time. If I had a dollar for every time someone didn’t consider a house because they didn’t like the décor I would be able to buy a new car. When buyers can’t place their stuff in it, they won’t consider it. Plus, porcelain dolls are just creepy.
2. If you haven’t refreshed your home in ten years, now is the time.
Very few things in the housing world get better with age. Avocado and Harvest Gold anyone? Peach and Sea Foam Green living rooms complete with Nagel prints? Exactly. The best thing to do is suck it up and go to Pinterest. I know that site is a black hole time suck, but it will give you great ideas on ways to update. But please, please, please don’t do the wallpaper on the fridge thing. That’s just tacky.
3. I know you love your pets, but not everyone else does.
If you have a large dog or an aggressive dog please crate them before a showing. There is nothing worse than a four-pound rage-aholic Chihuahua trying to murder a buyer’s shoe while they look through the house. Don’t let Precious be the reason you’re still on the market.
4. Remove 3/4th of what you own.
Remember that book about tiding up? It is magical because people can now see your counter tops and your floor. Clutter isn’t cool. You want to be on an episode of House Hunters not Hoarders.
5. Don’t forget the outside of your home.
If you have a dog please make sure you pick up all the poop land mines in the yard. Mow the lawn, invest in some shrubs and make sure the driveway looks nice. If it’s May make sure the Christmas lights are down.
The thing is, when your home is on the market it is no longer a home. I know that your kids were raised here, you had Christmas here and Precious ate her first couch leg here. The fact is the house is just a building. The memories you make are because of your family. Now we have to treat your home like a product. The less of yourself inside the home, the easier it is for buyers to picture themselves. Think like IKEA and show off the best parts of your home with minimalist, chic decor and a fresh coat of paint. Who knows, after that you might not even want to move.