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Preparing Your Home For Sale

Properly preparing your home for sale can make the difference between a quick sale at full price, and a home that sits
unsold for months... even after several price reductions.

The first order of business is to forget your emotional attachment to your home and look at it through the eyes of a potential buyer. Be impartial, and recognize the weaknesses of your home.

How does your home stack up?

Remember, potential buyers are going to be viewing lots of other homes, and if yours doesn't stand out, it will be much more difficult to sell.

Buyers buy what they see. If what they see is dirty, messy, and worn looking, you don't stand a chance.

It's just like if you were going to sell your car. The first thing you would do is clean and "detail" the car inside and out. Your house is no different!!

With a mental picture of a model home in your mind, make an "attack list" of items to be completed on your home. It may be a short or long list, depending on the condition of your home, but keep in mind that all your efforts now will pay off big on closing day.

The objective is to make your home appear well maintained, spacious, organized and clean. Many factors such as how light it is, the colors, sounds and smell subtly effect the buyers impression of your home.

Start by walking out to the middle of the street and take a good, focused look at the overall appearance of the exterior of your home. Good "curb appeal" will make the critical proper first impression. Remember, if a home is unattractive from the outside, buyers won't bother to see the inside!

This means well groomed, healthy looking lawn, trees, shrubs, and flower beds.

Check your driveway and clean any oil stains with cleaning solutions, and move any old vehicles, trailers, or boats off the premises to a storage facility.

Replace or repair any loose or missing roof shingles or tiles.

If needed, replace or repaint the mailbox.

Your front door is a focal point of potential buyers. Make sure it is scrubbed clean or completely refinished if necessary.

Fix any broken windows or screens.

Completely repainting the exterior of your home may be necessary if it is peeling or blistering, but often simply doing the trim, window sashes, shutters, and garage door is sufficient.

Remove any political or other signs.

Now do the same to the side and rear yards. Remove all debris, junk, and clutter. Clean and neatly arrange any lawn furniture, barbecues, etc.

Next move to the inside of your home.

Begin with a complete, top to bottom, military-style scrubbing of every room, nook and cranny. Be especially diligent in the kitchen and bathrooms, which should pass the white glove test. Clean houses sell!

Attack the garage and basement, if you have them. Now is the time to get rid of any old junk, and clean and organize everything else.

If the interior hasn't been painted in several years, you should probably go ahead and do it. A fresh coat of white or off-white paint will make the place look bigger and lighter, and give it a "new" smell. It doesn't cost that much, and makes a big difference in buyer perception. If not, do a thorough job of touch-up painting.

Have the carpets cleaned. If carpets are worn, replace them. This is a fairly big cost, but it makes a huge difference in how the home shows. You should more than make up for the expense with a faster sale at a higher price.

Install the highest intensity bulbs allowable in all the light fixtures. This will make the rooms appear larger, brighter, and more cheerful.

Clean all windows and curtains/blinds.

Clean out the closets to make them look bigger. Store out of season clothes elsewhere and neatly arrange what's left.

Too much clutter will make a home feel small and disorganized. Move out excess furniture, especially worn or outdated items, and take down pictures that hide the walls. Clean off the magnets from the refrigerator, and box up any other clutter-causing nick knacks.

Clean all the heating/cooling system vents, and replace the filters.

Fix or replace all of the little things that you have been meaning to get to. Make sure that everything is working properly (toilets, appliances, doorbell, etc.)

If you have lived in your home for a while, by the time you finish with your attack list you will probably have truckloads of stuff to either sell, give away to charity, or take to the dump. Your motto should be: "If in doubt, move it out"!!

Consider having a huge garage sale. Not only will you reduce the clutter in your home, but you can use the proceeds to pay for some of your touch-ups and repairs. Plus, movers charge by the pound, so you'll save there too!

Make sure that your cars are clean as well. It all adds to the impression that you are people that take good care of your things.

If you smoke, DO NOT SMOKE IN THE HOUSE!! A smoky smelling house turns buyers off faster than nuclear waste, even buyers who smoke themselves!

If you have smoked in the house much, you will probably need to paint the interior, and have the carpets, drapes, and furniture deep cleaned.

This brings us to pets. While household pets may be nice for everyday living, they are one of your worst enemies when it's time to sell.

If you have pets, you'll have pet odors, whether you notice them or not. About 25% of prospective buyers will not consider a home with pets in it - either because they have allergies, or simply think it is dirty. Plus, a dog barking, sniffing, and scratching hardly makes a potential buyer feel relaxed and comfortable.

If at all possible, see if a neighbor, friend, or relative will take the animal until the home is sold. I know you may be quite attached to your pet and this may be a touchy subject, but it's up to you if you want a sale for top dollar.

It can be a lot of work, but it will be worth it. Clean, organized, clutter-free homes are always the first to sell!


email: info@fvhg.com

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