Saturday, May 9, 2009

It's Like Going to the Prom All Over Again

Have you noticed it's prom time again? I've seen the guys decked out in tuxes picking up corsages at the store. I've spotted young ladies coming out of the salons with fancy up-do's. And when I drove in my neighborhood last evening couples were posing in front of flowering bushes for parents trying to capture the perfect photo.

Getting ready for the prom these days is serious business. Months of planning goes into the preparation process for this big event. Money is set aside. Appointments and reservations are made. Many dresses are tried on until just the right one is found. The tux that goes best with the dress is ordered. Nails are painted and flowers are ordered. Every detail is covered--hair, makeup, jewelry, purse, shoes, wrap, reservations, transprortation, spending money, etc. It is a lot of work, but worth it when everything comes together in the end to make a memorable night.

Did you know getting your house ready to hit the market with the best success is a lot like preparing for the prom? It takes time, planning, and some serious effort to get it to all come together for the big event--the official listing of your property for sale.

Here are some tips for getting your home "Prom Night" ready and increasing your odds of selling quickly and for the best possible price:

  • Start the planning process early ~ I love it when a client comes to me for a consultation as early as a year before they plan to list their property seeking advice on what steps they should get started on now to be ready to list later.
  • Determine how to look your best from head to toe ~ Use a Professional Home Stager to help you evaluate your home from a buyer's perspective and formulate a prioritized action plan to most effectively and efficiently prepare your home to be market ready inside and out on listing day. This professional direction will priceless in helping you maximize the equity you have in your home.
  • Plan your budget ~ Getting your house market-ready usually requires some investment. Your Professional Home Stager and Realtor® can advise you on the best way to allocate your funds to get the biggest bang for your buck. And many of the items that will help your home show better, like new towels and bedding and updated lamps and accessories, you will get to take with you to your new home.
  • Create a checklist to keep you on track ~ Use six months, five months,...three weeks, two weeks,..., etc. And divide each list up by areas inside and outside your home.
  • Make needed appointments well ahead of time ~ Decide which tasks you can complete yourself and where you will need help from a professional. Will you need a handyman, a house cleaner, electrician, plumber, window washer, painter, wallpaper remover, landscaper, an off-site storage place, etc.? Call them now and get them scheduled.
  • Don't forget the flowers ~ Fresh flowers in a nice vase or fresh fruit (lemons, green apples) in a couple of key areas like the entryway, dining room, or living room add a nice touch.
  • Take photos before the dance when you are looking your absolute best ~ If you've followed your checklist, your home will be ready from head to toe, shined, white glove clean and looking its very best. This is the time to have your MLS photo and video tour taken, allowing you to maximize your first impression with more than 85% of your potential buyers who will start their search online. Your house will be sending the clear "this is the one!" message to buyers.
  • Keep your touch up tools handy ~ Have a system for keeping your house show ready. Keeping the house as straightened up as possible is the best way to go. Make the beds and straighten up each morning and clean up any messes as they happen. A large basket on each level of your house that can be stowed on a shelf or in a cabinet works well for cleaning up any items that are out when you get the call for a showing. Dirty laundry can be tossed in the washing machine. Clean "show only" towels should be placed in each bathroom. Keep cleaning wipes under the counters in the kitchen and bathrooms for quick touchups. Clean up after your pets on a daily basis and keep their things in an out of the way place like the garage or laundry room. Get everyone in the habit of keeping those toilet seats down. As a general rule of thumb, it's always safest to leave the house "show ready" whenever you go out.

Much like the prom, selling your home is a big deal. Plan ahead, get advice and help from professionals, and plug away at your to do list. When the big day arrives for you to make your market debut, you will be all set to stand our from the crowd and be the belle of the ball. You efforts will be well-rewarded when in no time at all your buyer knocks on your door knowing your house is the one that is the perfect fit for their glass slipper!


Mary Fasnacht of Feels Like Home Interiors helps home sellers in Washington County, PA and the surrounding Pittsburgh area prepare their homes to make the best possible impression in today's challenging market helping them to be successful sellers. Please visit her website or call her at (724) 884-7148 to find out more about how she can make a difference for your home or listings .