OK, last time we talked about how important it is for your home to give a great first impression when you're trying to sell it. You need to make sure the outside of the home is appealing from the road. You cannot rely on the quality of the interior. You can't bank on the fact that the inside of the home is finished so amazingly that people will be flocking in to pile their offers up at your feet. Oh, you may be right--about the interior being amazing--but the hard truth is that if the package isn't appealing . . . chances are nobody's going to peer inside long enough to see what's in there.
So, the first step in moving your house and getting that SOLD sign in the front yard is to fine tune the package. Unfortunately, that's easier said than done.
And really, surprisingly, it's not the work that's the hard part--it's not the painting and cleaning and organizing and weeding that's difficult. Actually, the difficult aspect is distancing yourself enough from the home to actually SEE the painting, cleaning, organizing and weeding that needs to be done.
Oh, you might disagree with that . . . but hold on . . . it's true--it's just a fact of human nature. For example . . . and this is horribly embarassing to admit--but, in the pursuit of open, honest discussion, I'll throw it all on the line. For example, in my home, a year or so ago, I started painting my kitchen cabinets. It was a complicated process and I did it in sections--this chunk of cabinets, then that one, and so on, as I worked my way around the kitchen.
Well, everything went well until I hit late fall last year and the weather turned. I was doing this outside and I decided not to continue until the weather improved in the spring. I had, at that point, half of the kitchen done with the new dark color. The other half was still white.
Well, I just realized the other day that my kitchen is still not completed. And I mean, I just realized it. I'm so used to seeing it the way it is, that it never dawned on me until I was playing with the kids in the kitchen and I laid down on the floor to pretend to be dead. (I was the monster and they had killed me). Well, while I was lying there, I looked around the kitchen noticing how different it looked from this perspective. I was seeing it from a whole new angle.
And that's when I saw the cabinets and realized how one half of the room was unfinished. Looking at it from a new angle made my mind process what it was seeing completely. When I see things from my usual perspective, I think my brain just glosses over what it's used to seeing--the cabinets have been unfinished for months . . . so my brain doesn't pay them any extra attention. However, when I saw them from a new angle, my brain noticed the difference.
I don't know the psychological or scientific explanation for what happened--but I know that by looking at something--my kitchen--from a new point of view . . . I saw things I literally hadn't seen for months: I realized I had work to do--that I still had to finish those cabinets.
Well, the same is true with your home. And that's why I said earlier that seeing the work you need to do is sometimes harder than actually doing it. See, your brain is used to seeing what it sees when you pull up to your home. When you walk in the front door or the back door . . . your brain largely tunes out what it's seeing--it's used to it--it's always there. You don't notice it.
Haven't you ever been at somebody's house that is extremely messy. Haven't you sat there and looked around at the mess and just felt an overwhelming depression settle in on your soul? Has anybody else felt that or am I a freak? Anyway, I've felt that and I've been blown away by the fact that the people living there have no concept of the mess. It's not a mess to them--it's normal.
Well, that's what happens with our homes--we become accustomed to certain things and we can't see them for what they may be: turnoffs to new potential buyers.
But hold on . . . don't let that get you down. Because there's good news--there's a solution to this: you just need to do what I did in my kitchen: you need to look at your home from another perspective. You need to find a way to disassociate yourself from your home. To find a way to forget that you live there. You need to find a way to see it as a place you might buy.
You need to get critical and you need to take notes. It's not easy, but it can be done. And doing this is going to open your eyes to a world of things that need to be fixed--things I guarantee will surprise you.
It's called the Great Disassociation and we'll dig into how you do it in another post.