Now that the weather is warm, the snow has all melted, and there’s a spring in everyone’s step again, I think we can declare that house-buying season is officially open! No one really wants to be in the market for a new house during freezing temperatures and snow storms so unless you’re really in a time crunch, you’re usually going to wait for it to warm up before you crack down and start going house to house. This means that if you have your house on the market, it’s time to get it in tip-top shape for your new pool of buyers.
Photo credit: iAD, St. Clair Place Neighborhood, Indianapolis
Every year, the National Association of Realtors studies what buyers are looking for in a house and what turns them off when looking at yours. Year after year, they find that buyers just can’t look past superficial things like layout, paint, and furnishings when shopping for their home. (Some sources say only 10% of buyers have the gift of oversight but I can’t say I know where that number comes from.) I know we want them to be able to imagine what our houses look like cleaned, decluttered, and painted, but that’s just not what the data tells us. So if you’re serious about selling your house, the numbers show us that we’re going to have to do a little work.
The best place to start when doing improvements and staging your home to sell is to consider who is going to be buying your house. No one can predict the future, but take a good guess. Is your home on the smaller-side? Do you live in a trendy neighborhood? A young person, couple, or family, is likely to be your home’s next owner*. Downsizing from a more established neighborhood after your kids have gone off to college? Your pool of buyers is probably an older couple or more established family, perhaps with older kids.
Keep the next owners in mind when painting and rethinking your decor and layout. Here are some ideas on what younger buyers are looking for* which include picking trendy neutrals (i.e. a warm grey) for your walls, painting those old dated cabinets white, and not assuming all young buyers are looking for a fixer-upper.
Remember, no matter who the next person is to call your house “home”, it belongs to them now. Researching current trends and making updates that might not be your style is okay because there’s another house out there that belongs to you – now you just have to find it!
*Not sure who will be looking at your house? Can’t figure out what trends are appropriate for your neighborhood? Be sure to get in touch with a realtor who knows your neighborhood. They have shown similar houses and know what kind of comments buyers make and what they’re looking for.