Not many houses languish on the Northern Virginia home market, but there are a few reasons why it may be taking longer to sell than you expected. Most of these problems are easy to fix if you’re willing to invest the time and money. Unfortunately, the longer it sits on the market, the more it turns off potential buyers so you will want to get on these fixes fast.
First and foremost make sure you are pricing the home right. The most common mistake sellers make is trying to go for the big bucks. Listen to your realtor; they know what they are doing and will be able to determine the fair market value for your neighborhood.
Now that the price is right you want to entice buyers with professional pictures. Most buyers will start their search online, so you want to make sure they see high quality, well-done pictures. But, while you want great-looking photos you also want to make sure they are realistic. You don’t want potential buyers to show up and feel as though you’ve tricked them.
What’s in those photos? With your home itself, the first thing you should address is the curb appeal. Make sure your home and landscaping are clean, well-maintained, and sculpted. And, if at all possible, make sure the neighbor’s yard is also clean (easier said than done). Putting in a few weekends of painting, mowing, weeding, planting, and mulching can really help to draw people in.
And once they step inside you don’t want them disappointed, so make sure the inside is as clean and decluttered as the outside. And, if pets or smokers live in the house, don’t forget to include removing odors on your to-do list. Have the carpets, drapes, and even furniture cleaned. And, if possible, remove the pets, and all pet toys and dishes, when showing the home. I realize this may be difficult, but you don’t want a potential buyer worrying about unknown pet stains.
Now that you know the buyers aren’t distracted, you want them to be able to picture themselves in the home. And a good way to accomplish this is to make sure the walls are a neutral color. That neon green bathroom might perfectly fit your personality, but a new owner may only see too much hassle to bother.
Unfortunately, some fixes may require a little more than simple elbow grease.
Many of those fixtures/features that drew you in when you bought the house have since gone out of style. Today more buyers are expecting wood floors, not wall to wall carpeting. Shiny brass fixtures, wallpaper, faux crystal faucet handles, and strip vanity lights are also all currently out of style. One final “out of date” item--popcorn ceilings. This is a change you’ll want to think long and hard over because it is an expensive and messy fix, but necessary.
If you’re getting ready to put your house on the market your to-do list may have just gotten a little longer. And while these changes range in difficulty and price level, they can be worth it in the end with, hopefully, a faster sale.
As always, I am here to help with all your NORTHERN VIRGINIA area home buying questions and needs. Feel free to give me a call and set up a visit. I’m happy to tour your home and help you create a manageable “to-do” list that makes sense for your situation.
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