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Selling Your Home: Proper Preparation is Paramount

Home Staging

So you’ve made the decision to sell your home. Congratulations. Now what are you prepared to do to make sure you get what you are asking and that you sell quickly (to get that maximum return)?

If you will allow me to offer the following suggestions, I think I can help you sell you home.

Just a couple things before we get started. Always think like a buyer. Do your best to look at your home objective and from the buyer’s perspective. If something doesn’t look right or stands out when you look at your home, it will be 10 times the stand out to a buyer. Be ready to put some work into your home to get it into the kind of shape that is advantageous to showing and selling.

1.) Curb Appeal – first impression of your house and a mown and edged lawn, trimmed bushes, weeded/mulched beds, flowers, maintained fences/porches/driveways all put your best foot forward, early. Get rid of those old doormats and put fresh, new ones (sans the cutesy sayings, please) at the entrances. Paint, gutters, spotless windows (inside and out) are other things to consider and although they may be a bit more costly to repair/clean up, you can make up these expenses on the sale price. The exterior is the first thing your buyers see, so everything you can do to “clean up” will help.

2.) Cut the Clutter – before you even put the For Sale sign on the front lawn, go through every room in your house and start picking out things that clutter the room AND the closets. These are things you should feature at your garage sale. You can make a couple extra dollars, cut down on the amount of stuff you have to move and you “de-clutter” your house.

Open up your closets and show how large they are; take things off the counters and show how much space you have; clear things out of the bathroom and open up a typically small space; get things out of the basement and the garage and show off how large these spaces are. Create a flow to every room by removing any oversized furniture or pieces that create cramped spaces. Let the buyer see open spaces.

In the same realm of cutting the clutter, take a look and see how you can “open up” the views of your house. Not using a fireplace? Put a large basket of flowers in front of the grate. Is there a large bay window in front of the house? Clear everything away from in front so that there are views into and out of the house. Every home has views, good and bad; maximize the good and minimize the bad.

3.) Paint and Carpet – now that you have more room in the house, you may notice that the carpets have some natural traffic spots and that the paint may have faded a bit on the walls. Simple fixes for sure. Call a carpet cleaning company and have them do every room in the house. After the carpets are cleaned (or maybe before), head to Home Depot and get some neutral colors for your rooms. Fresh coats of paint are about the easiest and least expensive ways to prepare your home for sale. Neutral colors are best as they let the buyer imagine and tell the carpet cleaners to keep the solution to a minimum to avoid offensive smells.

To your advantage, the smell of a clean carpet, mixed with a fresh coat of paint is a huge plus to a buyer.

Which brings me to my next point…

4.) The Nose Knows – we have all experienced it…you walk into someone’s home and are immediately hit with an odor. The odor could be pleasant, like fresh baked cookies or vanilla candles, or the odor could be less pleasant, like recently cooked fish or ammonia. Either way, there is a smell. When you are selling your home, be MANIACAL about odors – good and bad.

Start with the kitchen and bathrooms, typical areas for strong odors. Make both of these rooms spotless — odor, mildew and mold free. You cannot make these rooms clean enough and they are very important for the sale.

If you have pets, go through the house with a fine-toothed comb. Clean up ALL the pet hair, deodorize the litter box, clean the pet beds and then keep the animals outside as much as possible. Let your agent know that you have pets. They will give the potential buyers fair warning. Surprise allergic reactions leave bad impressions.

Put cedar chips in closets, deodorize carpets, scrub hardwood floors with oil soap, use room sprays (but be careful as they may not be for everyone and may stimulate allergies) and light some candles that have a pleasant but not overpowering smell – vanilla candles are a favorite.

5.) All the World’s a Stage — set the stage at your house. De-personalize your rooms by removing any wild or decorative items that could be offensive (think of your teenager’s room and the posters on the wall). Increase the wattage of the light bulbs in the laundry room, kitchen and bathrooms and when you are showing the house, turn on lights in every room. Set the dining room table as if you were getting ready for dinner, turn the gas fireplace on during the showing, vases with flowers, bowls with fruit, photos of your family enjoying the house in at least three places are all ways to stage your home for sale.

Now go across the street and look at your house. How do you feel about the house? Be honest with yourself. Is it appealing to you and does it feel like a home? If it doesn’t, you’ve got some more work to do. If you can honestly say that it does, you’re ready to put it on the market and start showing it.

Good luck with your sale. Please give me a call if you have any questions or are considering selling your home, or purchasing one in the area.

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