When considering what might help sell their home quickly and maximize offers, International President’s Elite Coldwell Banker agent Melinda Davala Sarkis advocates that sellers keep it simple. “ I always suggest they put themselves in the buyer’s shoes, and follow the five senses.” She recommends that owners first ensure the house is visually pleasing by depersonalizing it enough to provide clean, clear lines. “ Start packing away the things you don’t need, and that will help create simplicity and calmness.”
Sarkis suggests having pleasant music playing during the open house, fresh linens on the beds and perhaps new towels in the bathrooms. “Include something that smells nice, such as a scented candle or fresh flowers and don’t forget taste and touch either.” Sarkis often ensures there is something for prospective buyers to eat or drink, such as cookies, mints or flavored water, and textures that invite contact. “ You want people to feel at home, because they are going to want to buy something that excites them and welcomes them.”
Spending a bit more time and money before your house goes on the market will also pay off. “Repainting is always a great option,” says Sarkis, “you have to lighten up the home and depersonalize it so while you’re at it, a fresh coat of paint makes it look new. And always choose a neutral pallet on the walls.” She also suggests that owners get new carpeting installed if they have rooms with carpet, install dimmers, switch out dated furniture, and fix any little quirks about the home that have bothered them. She reminds her clients that when listing their house not to dwell on the past. “Don’t get too emotional about changing the space. Remember, it’s not you living in it any longer…you are moving forward.”
Coldwell Banker has made it even easier for home owners to make these kinds of non-structural improvements to their homes that are going on the market through a newly launched program called RealVitalize. In a partnership with HomeAdvisor®, the home services digital marketplace, RealVitalize is a home improvement program that provides home sellers with resources to make certain home improvements and repairs. Coldwell Banker covers the upfront costs of the repairs – projects like staging, purchasing new appliances, kitchen and bathroom upgrades that use a service professional from the HomeAdvisor network – and then those expenditures will be repaid by the seller when the property sale closes or the listing expires.
“RealVitalize is great program,” says Sarkis. “Sellers don’t have to spend the money upfront for some really valuable improvements. I will definitely suggest clients use this for things like painting, refinishing hard wood floors and staging for open houses.” Sarkis points out that sellers can use the RealVitalize funding throughout the sale process. “This program really sets Coldwell Banker apart from other brokerages, and reaffirms that our company has faith in our clients and believes in the homes we list.”
As someone who has done her own fair share of moving over the years, and knows how stressful it can be, Sarkis encourages sellers to consider proactive ways to make the sale process as hassle free as possible. “RealVitalize is a great tool to help you cross needed repairs and improvements off your list, and have a fresh, shiny, new-looking house, which puts you in a better position than another home being marketed down the street.” Then she reminds her clients to let professional real estate agents do what they do best. “ I’m going to get the rest done. After all ,you didn’t hire me to try to sell your house. You hired me to sell your house.”