Preparing Your House to Sell

2012-04-25_1209.pngThe process of preparing a home for sale can take a month or more. Ideally, call us first so that we can help you from the beginning where to spend your money! However, you can bring us in at any point you feel comfortable. So, here’s how to start:

1. Take a Fresh Look at Your Home
Hop in your car, drive around the block, and then scrutinize your home as a prospective buyer will see it for the first time.
First, consider what's called "street appeal;" does it need washing or painting? Does the driveway need repair work? Is the landscaping in good shape? Remember, be very critical; your buyer will be. Next, pull into the driveway and take a good, hard look. Is the yard neat and trimmed? What about the view from the front yard? Then, walk inside and size up the interior as though seeing it for the first time. Take a tour and imagine what your real estate agent might say about each room, look into cabinets, open doors, check out the bathroom. Then, make a mental note of the things that might put off potential buyers, along with another list of the things that first attracted you to the house. Remember, the home's become a great place for you, but a new buyer will see things that you don't.

2. Clean Out the Clutter Before You Start to Sell
Before putting your home on the market, get rid of clutter in every area -- closets, attic storage, kitchen cabinets, drawers, bath vanities, and shelves -- everywhere. Remember, this is no time to be sentimental: if you don't use it, lose it. Potential buyers are seriously put off by clutter. You’re moving anyway, right? Might as well start packing away now the things you don’t use regularly! Then, have a great moving sale with all the stuff you've collected and use the proceeds for paint or whatever other materials you need for repair projects. If you just can't bear to part with some possessions, store them in the attic or rent a storage facility or some other place that's out of sight to a potential buyer.

3. Get More for Your Home: Repairs Pay Off
So, patch up the roof, touch up all the paint, repair the screens, spruce up the porch framing, and make your entry area really shine. Don't forget to water the lawn and landscape beds, and take the time to trim, mow, edge and get rid of sick or dying plants. Inside, fix the grout in the bathrooms and on tile floors, adjust any doors that need it, fix any scratches on the walls, cover any stains, and be sure to fix any plumbing problems. Remember, do what your home needs before the first
buyer appears at your door.

4. Updating Your Home: Call Teresa & Donna First!
If you are considering updating some areas of your home, let us come and take a look beforehand. We can assist you with what updates are needed and where to get the most “bang for your buck”. If you need the name of a good contractor, we have access to many of them that we work with every day. There is, however, an alternative to the sweat equity you get from a total fix-up --but it carries a price. An "as-is" sale keeps you from doing all this work, but a buyer will assess about twice the price you would have paid for the repairs. Then, the buyer will deduct that amount from your asking price before making an offer.

5. To Sell, Sell, Sell -- Clean, Clean, Clean
After you've cleared out the clutter and made all the repairs and updates, it's time to really clean. Have the carpets professionally cleaned, strip and polish the floors, scour the bathrooms, go over the laundry room, polish the furniture, scour out the cabinets, wash the windows and window coverings, and spiff up the ceiling fans and kitchen appliances. In short, clean everything. Don't forget the exterior; paint or power-wash everything that needs the work. Remember, this is a ceiling-to-floor, roof-to-foundation clean-up project.

6. Putting Your Home on the Market: Show It to Sell It
After you have cleaned, shined, mowed, and generally whipped your property into shape, it's time to attract a buyer. One sure-fire way to do this that works every time is to “stage” your home. Staging your home is included in the services that we provide to market your home and it is a critical one. We have seen it “sell” a home over and over again. Regardless of who markets your home, you or a broker, there are other, small things you must do to attract buyers. For example, even if it's bright daylight, open the blinds and turn on the lights. Also, open all the interior doors to make the home appear roomier. Be sure to remove all your kids and pets -- they're cute, but a prospect wants to see your home, not your pride and joy. In addition, make sure your pet's litter pan is clean so the home smells clean and fresh, not like air freshener. Remember, you need to make sure your home is available to be seen by a prospective buyer with as little notice as possible. That means less than an hour, or even five minutes, if possible.

7. Get a Sense of the Market
Before you put your home on the market, we can schedule a time with you to check out the competition: homes with similar prices and in similar neighborhoods. Remember, you don't have to go out and buy new furniture just to look like that beautiful new model in the new development -- what you want is the feel of that new model -- clean, uncluttered, and fresh. After location, the most important item to a buyer is a well maintained home. Many flaws can be overlooked if the buyer knows he can move in without a lot of trouble and expense.

Remember, you can call us at any time during this process with questions. The earlier we are involved, the more assistance we can give! We are also working with buyers every day and the sooner we know about a house that is coming on the market, the earlier we can begin to “match” your house with buyers. GIVE US A CALL OR SEND US YOUR CONTACT INFORMATION – we are here to help!
The Red Door Group Donna Sulek  and Teresa Hoffman
The Red Door Group Donna Sulek and Teresa Hoffman
Sales Executive