Why The Little Things Matter (When Listing Your Home)

Posted by James Rea on Thursday, February 25th, 2021 at 10:46am.

When you're getting ready to sell your home, it's easy to overlook small problems. You know there's a lightbulb burnt out in the entryway, but that won't stop someone from buying, right?

Honestly, probably not. But it's surprising how quickly those little details, those simple fixes, can pile up. And, that pile-up can cause extra friction in the buying process, which, as a seller, you want to minimize.

That all-important first impression

Put yourself in the shoes of a home buyer. You roll up to what could be your new home – which is the right size and has the right number of bedrooms  – but the lawn is overgrown and the paint on the front door is dull and pealing.

Already, you probably want to move on to see the next home on the list of houses you have to visit today. But, instead, you sigh and grab the loose handle on the front door, juggling it until you get in.

Creating a more seamless buying experience

When you add friction to the buyer's experience, not only does it lower their chance of buying,  but it also irritates them.

Then, instead of potential buyers walking through and appreciating all the charming features they love about your home, they're on the lookout for more things that aren't quite right.

When this happens, their desire to buy gets precarious. Even if they do decide to purchase your home, the chance that they'll be happy with paying the asking price (or get into a bidding war with another buyer), plummets.

But by getting the small things right (like installing a new door handle), a seller can decrease the friction the buyer experiences as they walk through the house, allowing them to see and concentrate on all the things they love.

To help your buyer focus on those positive things that make them feel comfortable and 'at home' in your home, be sure to:

  • Keep your maintenance up to date
  • Only tackle low-cost, DIY upgrade to ensure a decent ROI

Maintenance and repairs

Before you list your home, it's imperative that it's well-cleaned and all maintenance and repairs are done.

The truth is the only people interested in buying a house they'll need to work on are individuals who are:

  1. Looking to flip a house
  2. Budget-buyers

Neither of these two types of buyers are likely to give you an offer you're going to like. They want the house for cheap, so they'll low-ball you and try to talk you down as much as possible. Meanwhile, those homebuyers who want a move-in ready home they can call their own are passing your home by.

You listing ready checklist

To make sure your home presents as a move-in ready future home, follow the checklist below:

  • Lawn is cut, the garden is tidy and any hedges have been properly trimmed
  • Clean the gutters
  • Clean grungy sidewalks
  • Replace burnt-out lightbulbs inside and outside the house
  • Tidy the yard – put away any lawn tools or children's toys
  • Declutter indoors and make sure nothing is lying haphazardly on floors
  • Ensure all doors close and latch
  • Refresh and peeling paint on both the interior and exterior
  • Fix any dripping faucets
  • Complete any maintenance you've been putting off
  • Fix any major mechanical issues, i.e. electrical, HVAC, natural gas, or plumbing

Check of each item as you complete it before you start to show your home.

Upgrades and renovations

Before you jump into any home upgrades or renovations, it's important to know that the return on investment for most renovations is not very good.

In fact, if you sink $100,000 into a kitchen renovation before selling, the chance that you'll get that money back is pretty slim. So, if you're considering doing any renovations before selling, the trick is to keep them small and focused.

With this strategy, you can decrease the time your home spends on the market and increase the chance that buyers will 'fall in love' with your home immediately – and be willing to pay more because of it.

If you're going to update, focus on:

  • Kitchen and bedroom hardware
  • Appliances
  • Door handles
  • Dated light fixtures

By staying affordable and DIY, you protect yourself from losing money on larger renovations your home buyer doesn't want.

Getting the little things right so you can sell the big things 

When you get the details right, not only is it going to help you get your asking price (or higher), you'll spend less energy and less time on the market. While it may take a few hours, and a little elbow grease, to get your home listing-ready, you'll be happy you did when you're signing the paper for a price you're happy with!

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