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First Steps to Selling Your Home

August 1, 2008

This past week my team (licensed assistant, house painter and home stager) and I visited clients at a house they are preparing to sell.

Since they will be living in the home while it is marketed, we wanted to help organize a punch-list of  items they should do to maximize their home's value.

Just like on TV, there are some relatively inexpensive things you can do to make sure your home sells at the top of the range and in the shortest time possible. Plus, a clean, spruced up home will cause you less drama in the escrow process. And by drama, I mean less requests from the buyer for you to credit them money or make repairs.

We brought in a team of professionals to make assessments and then compiled an easy, organized to-do list for the project. Turn-key!

Here are some general guidelines courtesy of First American.

General Guidelines

  • Clean everything! Cleanliness signals to a buyer that the home has been well cared for and is most likely in good repair. A messy or dirty home will cause prospective buyers to notice every flaw.

  • Unclutter your home before you show it. This includes trinkets and nick knacks. Have a garage sale or rent a storage unit. Empty closets and throw away any un-sentimental items. The less “stuff” in and around a home, the roomier it will seen. There are moving companies that will pick up items for storage and hold them for you. When the time comes to move out completely they will pack any remaining items and move everything to your new home!
  • Let the light in. Raise the shades. Open the blinds. Pull back the curtains. Put brighter bulbs in the the lamps. Remove any items that block potential buyers from looking out of any and all windows. Bright, open rooms feel larger and more inviting. Dark rooms feel small and gloomy.
  • Let fresh air in. Get rid of odors that may be unfamiliar or unpleasant. Strong, overbearing potpourri may also be unpleasant – get a second opinion. People are most offended by odors from tobacco, pets, cooking and musty or sour laundry. Fresh flowers can be used to your advantage. Other smells that attract positive attention include fresh baked bread and cinnamon.
  • Fix anything that is broken. This includes plumbing, electrical systems/switches, windows, TV antennas, screens, door and fences. If it can’t be fixed, replace it or get rid of it (No window screens are better than broken ones). A buyer will make a much lower offer if your house is in disrepair and will probably still insist that everything be fixed before taking occupancy. You’re better off if you leave potential buyers no reason to offer less than you are asking.
  • Send pets away or secure them from the house when prospective buyers are coming. You never know if people will be annoyed or intimidated by your pets or even allergic to them And you never want a prospective buyer to have to avoid animal droppings.
  • Send the kids to grandma’s or take them on a walk around the block when showing the property. Children can be noisy and distracting to someone interested in looking at a home.
  • Paint! There is nothing that improves the value of a home for a lower cost than a fresh coat of paint. And it is often easier to paint a room than it is to scrub it. Stick with neutral colors, off-white is safest. Be sure to avoid black, violet and pink.
  • Keep noise down. Silence is a restful sound that offends no one. Turn off the TV and radio. Soft, instrumental music is fine, but avoid vocals. If necessary, close the windows to eliminate any street noise.
  • Fix squeaky floorboards. Don’t run any noisy equipment like a vacuum cleaner or table saw while people are looking at your home, and, if possible, ask your neighbors to avoid irksome noises.

Have any other suggestions? Let me know!

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