When you’re starting the process of selling your home, be prepared to see your home in a whole new light.
A really, really bright light. That’s because buyers will notice all the great things about your home…and also all the not-so-great features that you’ve learned to live with over the years. Small issues, like a creaky stair and outdated fixtures, are easily identified and fixed. However, there are potential issues that can’t easily be so easily resolved. In fact, they might be a “deal-breaker” that can turn off a potential buyer immediately.
Don’t panic just yet. A good real estate agent doesn’t just sell a house, they sell a house to the right buyer. In the case of “deal breakers,” what can seem like a negative to an average person might be something highly-sought by another. Or, with the right staging and a few strategic changes, the true opportunity can be made clear to even skeptical buyers. Here are a few of the most common scenarios where this can happen:
The deal-breaker: Your home is located near a super-busy intersection.
What was once a quiet street turned into a constant traffic jam once a few developments popped up over the years. Or, what was once empty fields turned into everyone’s favorite shopping destination. No matter what happened, it now takes at least five minutes to leave your driveway.
The bright side: Traffic doesn’t matter when you work from home.
For a growing number of workers, a commute involves going from their bedroom to their home office. This type of buyer might not care about the traffic and can instead time their errands around the busiest times of the day. Attract them by turning that spare guest room into an ideal home office and maybe adding a few smart home devices that make life more convenient for the work-from-home life.
The deal-breaker: Your home is located next to an eyesore.
Your neighbors have very different ideas of what “tasteful” decor means, or a new business popped up that takes away from the whole neighborhood vibe of your block. Or, your home is located next to a cemetery — which never bothered you, but the view might turn off prospective buyers.
The bright side: That’s what landscaping is for.
While you can’t stop your neighbor from getting the mail in his robe, you can obscure a less-than-ideal view by rethinking your exterior landscaping. Privacy fences, hedges, bushes, and even bamboo (depending on your area) help define your property line while hiding eyesores. It’s a small investment, but one that will pay off.
The deal-breaker: Your home doesn’t get any natural light.
It could be the floorplan, the angle of your lot or just bad luck with window placement, especially if you live in an older home. No matter what time of day, your home tends to have a cave-like feel that’s at odds with the light and airy look that most potential homeowners look for.
The bright side: Paint, window treatments and lighting go far to boost brightness.
You’d be surprised at what a difference re-painting your rooms can make in terms of natural light. Keep color choices simple and opt for a white shade that isn’t too stark, like Benjamin Moore’s Simply White (a favorite among decorators for small, dark rooms). Remove any heavy curtains in favor of sheer or linen panels — and while you’re at it, update any blinds you have. (Dusty, worn-out blinds can filter what little light into dim shadows.) Finally, subtly increase the lighting in any dark spaces. Instead of relying on just overhead or floor lights, add in table lamps at eye level, under-cabinet lights and task lighting. The type of lighting matters, too: Nix torchiere-style lights, which focus light upwards (creating dark shadows on either side). While you’re at it, replace any “soft white” bulbs, which cast yellowish tones, in favor of “bright white” bulbs.