What to do When Your Home Won’t Sell
Is Now The Time To Sell?
10 Tips To Help Sell Your Home That Won’t Break The Bank
How To Determine Price
Preparing Your Home For Sale
For Sale By Owner Or With Agent?
Must Do Repairs Prior To Sale
Finding Hidden Buyers
Staging Your Home
Making Your Home Irresistible
Negotiating Tips For Sellers
10 Don'ts In Selling Your Home
What is a Short Sale?
Unable To Move Up? Raise The Roof


Preparing Your Home For Sale

The first step in preparing a home for sale is to remove all the clutter. Regardless of how neat you think you are, it's almost a certainty that you have an accumulation of items that will detract from your home's appearance. Make a room-by-room inspection and take notes. Remove most personal items, photos, plaques, awards, trophies, and such that you have accumulated. Prospective buyers are not interested that you won the state bowling championship, and they're not interested in your vacation or wedding photos. You want them to picture living in your home; they won't if it's packed with lots of personal articles.

The idea is to give the impression of spaciousness and light. Buyers are turned off by dark, dismal looking homes. Remove excess furniture. You want prospects to visualize where they would place their stuff. If you have so much furniture that it's difficult to easily walk through a room, you have too much.

Accentuate the positive. Try to draw attention to your home's best points, and make sure the rooms feel open and spacious. If the best feature happens to be outdoors, then, make certain it's visible from every vantage point possible. Keep blinds, curtains, and shutters open, and remove any obstacles to the view.

Make every room spotlessly clean. If that means having a professional come in and do the carpet, drapes, and furniture, then do it. The price you'll pay is small if it helps your home to sell more quickly, and sparkling clean homes will always appeal to the greatest number of buyers. Your house also has unique odors, sometimes objectionable, that only strangers detect. Ask an unbiased friend to give an opinion, and be sure to confirm this with real estate agents once you begin the interview process. Pets need to go, if at all possible, regardless of how well-behaved they may be. With allergies, phobias, odors, etc., you'll turn off some buyers if pets are left in the house. If animals must stay, farm them out when the house is to be shown, and better, until it's sold. Clean the windows, inside and out. Dirty windows can make an otherwise great house appear old and tired. Remember you're going for maximum emotional appeal.

Check out the kitchen. Is the counter obscured by a microwave, coffee maker, blender, food processor, toaster, and the like? Get rid of most, if not all, of them. Put them out only when they are in use, and then put them away. Once again cleanliness is king. Polish sinks, counters, and appliances. Scrub or polish the floor.

Touch-up or repaint walls and update colors if necessary. Repaint any room that doesn't appear bright and fresh. The kid's bedroom walls that once looked cute covered with their drawings will not appeal to buyers, regardless of how attached you are to your offspring's art. Repaint.

While some exterior work can be expensive, it is imperative that the exterior of the home be appealing. Drive down the street and make a mental note of how your home compares to those of your neighbors. When you return, pause in front of your house. Does it look inviting? Is the lawn nice and green (in season, of course) and neatly trimmed or is it sparse and weedy? Have shrubs and trees grown so much they obscure the house/cover windows? Are the gutters and roof in good condition and free of debris? It may be helpful to ask a friend or neighbor for their "honest" opinion. Sometimes it's difficult for us to be objective and to see what a fresh pair of eyes may see.

Is the drive or walkway stained, flaking, or have serious cracks? While replacing a drive is an expensive and messy ordeal, in a few cases it might be necessary. However, most of the time a good cleaning with TSP and a power washer is all that is necessary to restore old concrete and make it look as good as new. If your concrete has numerous small cracks they can be filled with special filler available at home centers.

Finally, consider hiring a home inspector to do a pre-inspection. You want to correct as much as possible prior to a buyer's inspection. Those owners who deal with the minor issues prior to listing, add appeal to their homes, and if major repairs are needed, it's best to know it early. Click on the section, Must Do Repairs Prior to Sale, for further help.


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