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Preparing Your Home to Sell – 10 Tips

 Below are two articles we have authored on both getting your home ready to sell and showing your home.  They contain valuable advice on getting the most out of every showing:

1) Leave - This is THE most important thing you can do as a seller. Nothing will make a potential buyer feel more uncomfortable than you being in the house. If the buyers like the house then they are picturing themselves living in the house, picturing if their furniture will fit in the house, and picturing what rooms their children will choose. If the seller is in the house they can’t do any of this because they feel like a guest. This is the last thing you want your buyers to feel - GET OUT!

2) De-Clutter – This is another simple thing that you can do that will make a huge impact. Most sellers have been in their house for many years and have collected all kinds of things. You need to either get rid of them or store them; this will make your house seem larger than another house that is cluttered with the same square footage. You are planning on moving anyway, so why not start a little early and make your house more sellable?

3) Clean – Believe it or not, this is a different category than de-clutter. This is one of the hardest things to do but also one of the most important. If a buyer comes to look at your house and the bathroom is dirty, the carpets are a mess, and it has a bad aroma, it just leaves a bad impression. Clean up the kid’s toys, put away anything that will fit into a drawer or a cabinet and make it look as if you don’t live there. Clean and pickup every time someone is coming to look at your house.

4) Paint – This is another cheap and very effective tool that can help your home sell quickly. Painting is one of the best returns on your investment when you are selling your home. There are two issues that should be addressed when getting your home ready to sell. The first is the easiest: make sure you touch up all the paint on the interior and exterior of your home. The second may call for you to be a bit more objective about your home. What kind of colors you have selected? Do you have eight different colors in your house? Unless you are an interior designer, you really need to consider repainting all of your rooms to a neutral beige or brown color. While this may be a feature of your home that you love, the average buyer will not like your color selections. Paint your walls neutral beige or brown color which will make your house appear larger and will also appeal to the majority of buyers.

5) Landscape – Everyone has heard this before “curb appeal”. It is a cliché, but it makes a huge difference. Buyers begin to form their opinions of your house when they see it from the outside. Make sure your grass looks perfect - pull any weeds, edge the sidewalks and driveway, plant some inexpensive annual flowers that add color to the landscaping, and put some new mulch down in the plant beds. This will not only add curb appeal to your house but also add VALUE when they are driving their friends and family by to “check it out”.

6) Wallpaper – TAKE IT DOWN!!! Wallpaper has made a bit of resurgence lately; but for the most part it is outdated and with the myriad of selections out there, it is extremely personal. Most buyers will prefer a different selection, so go to Home Depot or Lowes and buy some DIF (wallpaper remover) and get rid of it.

7) Closets – Like it not, buyers are going to look in your closets and this can be a major selling point for some people. So when you are de-cluttering don’t throw everything in your closets! With the many different options out there you can rent a “POD” system, a storage unit, or simply store it in a friend/family’s home while your house is on the market.

8) Carpets – Get them professionally cleaned. It is not that expensive and can make a world of difference.

9) Pressure Wash - Pressure wash the exterior of your house, your sidewalks and your driveway. It just makes everything sparkle and seem newer. Remember, CURB APPEAL!

10) Remove Non-Essentials – The idea here is to make it so that the buyer can see themselves living here – not your family. Remove your family photos and get rid of any large furniture that does not add to the look of the house or the room. Try to make it look like a builder’s model home.

Showing Tips

When showing your home as the seller, it is important to realize that the only reason buyers are looking at your house is to cross it off their list. It is their intention to eliminate as many homes as possible before they make their final decision. It is your goal not to be eliminated from the buyer’s list! In the current buyer’s market buyers can afford to be more picky and demanding than in recent years. The onus is now on the sellers to make their home as perfect as possible for every showing. The following 10 tips will help you maximize every showing that you have and will help you sell your house more quickly and for more money!

1) Leave - This is THE most important thing you can do as a seller. Nothing will make a potential buyer feel more uncomfortable than you being in the house. If the buyers like the house then they are picturing themselves living in the house, picturing if their furniture will fit in the house, and picturing what rooms their children will choose. If the seller is in the house they can’t do any of this because they feel like a guest. This is the last thing you want your buyers to feel - GET OUT!

2) Be Flexible - It can be very annoying to have some call and want to show your home in 20 minutes, however, you need to be flexible and allow them to see it. If they are calling on short notice that probably means they are looking in your neighborhood and for some reason your house did not pop up on their internet search – but they like it! If a buyer likes the looks of your house enough to call when they are in the neighborhood, they are motivated. Let them see it even if it is not in perfect shape.

3) Lights/Blinds – Turn every single light on in your house. This is very important and makes the house seem so much brighter and bigger. In addition the turning all the lights on, opening all the blinds and letting in as much natural light as possible is another way to make the home appear large and open.

4) Clean - Clean up and pick up every time a potential buyer is coming to look at your house. It is extremely difficult, but your home should always be ready to show within a 20 minute notice.

5) Pets – Get them out. Not all people like animals and in fact some people are scared of them. Even more than being scared some people simply won’t like the idea of living in a house that had dogs or cats and may choose a similar house based on this alone. If you are home, take the pet on walk or to the store. If you are at work, put the pet in a cage or at the very least a small room like the laundry room and post a sign on the door.

6) Temperature – Heating and cooling your home can be expensive, but you need to make sure that your home is at a comfortable temperature when you are showing it. If it is cold outside, the heat needs to be set to 70 – 72 degrees. If it is hot outside, turn the air conditioner to 68 – 70 degrees. Make your buyers feel comfortable.

7) Windows/ Fireplace – If it is a beautiful day outside and you do not need to have the air or heat on, open up your windows to create an airy feeling in the house. People love fresh air, and a house with a nice breeze blowing through it can create a very relaxing feeling. If it is cold outside and you have an electric fireplace, turn it on. This creates a warm inviting feeling and the buyers can imagine themselves enjoying the fireplace on a cold night.

8) Music/ TV – If you have a stereo system in your house, turn it on to an easy listening station. If you do not have a stereo system, leave the television on to create some ambient background noise. People in general are uncomfortable with silence, so make your potential buyers more comfortable with a little relaxing background noise.

9) Scents/ Candles - Use a plug in air freshener and/or candles to add to the ambience of your home. Make sure the scent you select smells fresh and clean. Vanilla and other fruity aromas are good as well but never choose something that is overly “flowery” or anything that is too strong. You want a nice subtle scent.

10) Brochures/Flyers – Always have a brochure or flyer with at least one picture on it for the buyers to take with them. Odds are they are looking at many other houses on the same day and they might forget what yours looks like. When they go home at night and talk about it, your picture will help them recall yourhouse and how nice it looked, felt, and smelled.

If you are ever in doubt as to if your house is “show ready”, stop by a local Builder’s Model Center and take a quick stroll through. Notice how every light is on, there is nice music playing in the background, it is clean and orderly, it smells nice and feels comfortable. This is not by accident!

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