Selling a home has always taken some effort on the part of the owner but, now more than ever, it is real work because, in Miami, there are many homes on the market, some at very low prices. An owner has to be willing to make a real effort to prepare the home and maintain it ready for showings in order to sell for a good price or, in some cases, to be able to sell at all.
Today, the four most important factors in selling real estate are market conditions, location, price and property condition. There's nothing you can do about the first two, which also determine the price. Condition is the only element that you control, so here are some specific pointers.
Get ready for "the show." If you want to find the buyer willing to pay the most, then you have to spend some time preparing your home for "the show." You are going to be putting on a big show to entice a buyer to fall in love with your home and to become so emotionally involved with it that he or she will spend serious money to buy it.
You have to be ready to spend some time living on a stage because, during the time it takes to sell, you are not going to be living in your home as you know it, but in the home that you want someone else to buy. You will need to keep your property in "showing" condition at all times: kitchen and bathrooms clean, toys picked up and put away, closets neat, garage clean and grass trimmed. With small children, specially, this can be easier said than done.
First impressions count. Your house has to be welcoming to potential buyers the moment they step off the car, and give the impression of supreme cleanliness, care and neatness. Before you put your home on the market, think about how to differentiate it from the competition in your neighborhood. Maximize its curb appeal by cleaning the driveway, planting some flowers and repainting the front door, at the least.
Remember that you are selling the space, not your stuff. The goal is to make a prospective buyer feel at home – like it’s theirs, not yours. Put away your personal items, keeping in mind that the buyer doesn't want to buy "your" home. That buyer wants to buy "his" or "her" own home, without your personality, your decoration, your clutter, or your family pictures. You need to provide a desirable blank canvas so that they can put their own personal stamp on it.
Pay special attention to the kitchen and bathrooms. They should feel fresh, clean, odor free and uncluttered. A coat of paint, new white towels, a nice bowl of fruit in the kitchen, pretty candles and an unused bar of soap in the bathrooms will usually do the trick.
Focus on cleaning. Walk through every room, looking at it from the perspective of a critical buyer and you'll be surprised at how, suddenly, you become aware of dust and stuff that has been sitting around for years. Clean, clean, clean. Kitchen, bathrooms, carpet, windows, sideboards, yard, garage, everything!
Declutter. Rent storage space if you have to, but take out every non-essential piece of furniture. Pack away your books and your collections. Take pictures down, leaving one or two per wall. Every room must look neat and spacious. Less is more: Reduce and eliminate items to open up your space so prospects focus on all the great features of your home.
Spend as little as possible. Buyers will not pay you extra to cover the money you spend preparing your home for the market, so make a very tight budget and stick with it.
Concentrate on minor retouching only, such as putting new knobs on kitchen and bathroom cabinets, painting the living room in a modern, neutral color, installing a new light fixture by the front door, and sprucing up the landscaping with colorful flower beds. Don't go into extensive and costly renovations, like installing a new bathroom. If your house or condo is in such bad shape that it needs a major overhaul, then you might be better off lowering the price to a level that will allow the buyer to do the work.
Hire a Realtor®. He or she can advise you about cosmetic improvements you can make. Real estate agents are in and out of a lot of homes and they hear their prospects' comments after they view a property. Get the information on what does and doesn't work.
Note: For a room-by-room list of things you need to do to sell your home in Miami for the highest possible price, please contact the author at Alicia@AliciaWillen.com.