Preparing Your House To Sell Understanding The Buyers Fantasy

By Reba Collins

When selling your home, theres so much to do and getting the highest selling price possible is probably the most important thing to be considered. Yes, there are a lot of things to think about but the bottom line is getting the most you can possibly get. Sometimes, your situation will dictate whether or not you can fully utilize the suggestions were going to cover in this article but understanding the whats going on in the buyers mind will help you to get focused on what needs to be done first and what can wait until later.

The first thing you need to understand is the psychology of your potential buyers. These people, in their minds, are trying to size-up your house and how it will fit into their lives. They are trying to figure out if they will be happy having your house as their home.

A lot of people who look at your home will not like it. Its usually the un-changeable things they dont care for, like the floor-plan, the location, what school youre zoned to, whether theres a pool or not, if you have big trees or not, and so on, you get the picture. These are the things that cant be changed and these people just dont like them. Dont worry, everyones different and you cant change these things either.

There will, however, be plenty of people who love your un-changeables. For these people it will be the changeable things that convince them to actually make an offer or just keep looking. So, what are the things that will convince these potential buyers to fall in love with your house?

First, put yourself in one of these buyers shoes, this shouldnt be hard because you were there once, when you bought YOUR house. This person is in a state of mind that can be compared to a fantasy, well call it buyers fantasy. They come through your house trying to see what it would be like living there. In their minds eye, they see themselves always wearing a smile and laughing with their friends and family. They see themselves entertaining, relaxing, doing the things they love and loving the place theyre doing it.

Unapparent to them, all the things they see themselves doing leaves little time for cleaning, organizing, or home maintenance and repair. The last thing you want to do is take them out of their buyers fantasy by reminding them of the responsibilities that come with owning a house, especially THIS house. You want them to live in their fantasy the entire length of their visit, you even want them to remember the fantasy in such a way that they want to return and soon.

So, what to do you need to do set the buyers fantasy in motion? Heres a short list.

First Impressions

Curb Appeal The front outside of your house is the first thing the prospective buyer sees. Its the beginning of his buyer fantasy. He sees his friends and family admiring him when they arrive at his front door. It had better be good, this will reflect on him.

Your house must, with an emphasis on must, look good from the moment he drives up with his realtor, in other words, from the car. First impressions are very important and the front of your home is the first thing the potential buyer sees. So, at minimum, make sure

the landscaping is maintained at all times

the lawn is mowed and edged

the grass is green

the hedges are neatly trimmed

the landscaping or flower beds are weed-free and mulched


seasonal color? all the better

Obvious repairs need to be made.

make sure gutters are attached

shutters are attached

the doorbell works

screens have no tears

replace rotten wood

paint is in good shape, if not, paint or at least touch-up

If you normally park more than two cars in the driveway or on the street in front, see if you can find another place to park until the house is sold. Maybe a neighbor will help you out, or park one car in the garage.

What you want to do is feed the buyers fantasy that the lawn is always green, cut, and beautiful. You dont want to remind him that he will have to do it. You want him to think theres plenty of room for his cars even if he decides he needs another one. You certainly dont want him to think about any minor repairs that will need to be done, so just do them yourself.

The Insides

First Things First When a potential buyer steps into the house, it needs to smell clean. You dont need or want to burn incense or candles, spray air fresheners, or have a Glade Plug-In going. It just needs to smell clean. You should try to eliminate cooking odors as quickly as possible after a meal is cooked and there should be no pet odors or cigarette smoke odors. Pet and smoking odors are one of the first things that will turn a potential buyer away. Even if they smoke and own pets themselves, they dont want to buy another persons odors.

Kitchen & Bathrooms Once inside, the two rooms that go through the most scrutiny are the bathrooms and the kitchen. These rooms MUST be immaculately clean. They also must look like they have lots of room. To accomplish this:

clean thoroughly, especially the floors, toilets, sinks and tubs

be sure there is no mold or mildew to be found

check the grout in the tubs and sinks, it needs to be white bleach it or re-grout if its necessary

clear your counter-tops as much as possible in the bath, leave out only one decorative item, in the kitchen leave out only the necessary appliances, as few as possible

clear everything off the front and top of the fridge

put all cleansers and cleaning items out of sight

pack for moving some of the stuff in the cabinets, you only want them to be about 60%-70% full

put all personal items away, there should be no clutter, no bills or mail laying out, no personal items pinned to a bulletin board or attached to the fridge with a magnet

Remember, you want to continue the fantasy. The potential buyer should be able to imagine that when they move in, there will be plenty of space to grow. You dont want to remind him that hell have to do any cleaning, seeing cleaning products is a reminder. The personal items? Do your best, its hard for the buyers fantasy to be fulfilled when your photos and personal items are everywhere, you want him to imagine his personal items in those spaces, having yours there makes it harder for his imagination.

Living Areas / Bedrooms

The rest of the house needs to follow the same rules as above.

everything needs to be clean

keep floors mopped and vacuumed

make all beds every morning

keep clutter out of sight

if you have a room thats an odd color, paint it an off-white color. Light colors make rooms look bigger and off-white will go with every decorating scheme the buyers fantasy doesnt include any time for re-painting

if you have repairs to make, get them done

if carpets need to be cleaned, clean them

Making your space appear bigger is your goal, again, you want the buyer fantasy to continue. You want your house to appear so roomy that the buyer wont be able to fill the space. Eliminating some of your furniture may help a room look bigger and packing away some of the stuff in your closets will help sell your house as one that has lots of storage space. Your goal should be for your closets to only be 50%-60% full.

Packing Tip

Heres a tip to help you get your cabinets and closets down to 50% full go ahead and start packing for your eventual move. Yeah, why not? Your goal is to sell your house, right? So youll be moving, right? Then go ahead and get some of it done and heres a helpful tip to get you started and make unpacking in your new home easier as well.

Most people have stuff they

A. use every day

B. use sometimes

C. rarely use

Start by packing your C items in nice stackable boxes that arent too large so theyre easy to handle. Mark the side of the each box with where the stuff came from, i.e., the closet, which room it came from, i.e., Brittanys Room, and put a BIG letter C on the side. Maybe even use some bright paper, like yellow or orange and tape it to the side with the letter written really big with a Magic Marker. Stack these boxes in the garage, people dont much care how crowded the garage is, they just figure youve started packing. The buyers fantasy doesnt put those items back into the house.

If that doesnt get your closets and cabinets down to where you want them, then start packing your B items. If you use bright colored paper to mark your Cs and Bs, use one color for all your Cs and a different color for all your Bs.

When its time for you to move, you will then have to pack all your A items. Again, use yet a different color of paper. Now, when you get to your new home, you wont have to unpack everything at once and youll know which boxes youll need immediately.

Hopefully your situation will allow you to use some of these strategies to help you get the most money from your home. But dont let all this stuff stop you from getting your house on the market, dont use all the things that need to be done as an excuse to not get going. Do what you can, get the house listed, start showing it and keep plugging away.

Good luck with the process!

About the Author: Reba Collins is a homeowner and work at home mom. Follow her journey to sell her home of 18 years at her blog ~

. Find out how she copes with all it takes to sell her home and whether or not she follows her own good advise. Also find links, reviews for products, services, contractors and more!


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