Selling Your Home: Where to Begin?

Selling Your Home: Where to Begin?
Selling Your Home: Where to Begin?
First Impressions
Remember what first attracted you to your house when you bought it? What
excited you about it most? When deciding how best to present your home for
sale, it is helpful to try to get back into that buyer’s frame of mind.
A spruced-up house makes a great first impression on potential buyers. An
attractive property grabs their attention and makes them excited about finding
a house that looks and feels well cared for. Because buyers believe they’ll
encounter fewer problems if they buy it, your house becomes more appealing
and stands out from the competition. So if you prepare your home correctly,
you’ll save time selling it when it’s on the market.
A good first impression makes an impact on a number of levels. It’s not just
the way your house looks to potential buyers, but how it feels and smells to
them, how their friends and family will react, how they imagine it would be to
live there.
With simple improvements throughout your house, you can grab the attention
of potential buyers and help them see why your house is right for them.
Plan Ahead
Create a plan to enhance your property. Keep a notebook, and as you stroll
through your home and yard, make a list of what needs to be done. Consider
what your property looks like to people driving by or walking through your
door. What will they like or dislike? What needs fixing, painting, cleaning?
What can you improve? Whether you paint your house or fix up the yard, your
efforts don’t need to be costly; even inexpensive improvements and minor
repairs go far towards attracting serious buyers. But remember, those
seemingly insignificant problems you’ve learned to live with can actually
discourage potential buyers.
Here are some ideas for increasing your home’s appeal in order to sell it
quickly at the best price:
Interior
Clean Everything
Buyers expect a spotless house, inside and out, so clean everything,
especially your windows and window sills. Scrub walls and floors, tile and
ceilings, cupboards and drawers, kitchen and bathrooms. Wash scuff marks
from doors and entryways, clean light fixtures and the fireplace. Don’t forget
the laundry room. And put away your clothes.
Cut the Clutter
People are turned off by rooms that look and feel cluttered. Remember,
potential buyers are buying your house, not your furniture, so help them
picture themselves and their possessions in your home by making your rooms
feel large, light, neutral, and airy. As you clean, pack away your personal
items, such as pictures, valuables, and collectibles, and store or get rid of
surplus books, magazines, videotapes, extra furniture, rugs, blankets, etc.
Consider renting a storage unit to eliminate clutter in your garage and attic.
It’s hard to get rid of possessions, but cleaning and clearing out the clutter can
really pay off in the end. Packing away your clutter also gets you started
packing for your next move. Make your garage and basement as tidy as the
rest of your house. Simple little tasks such as storing your tools and neatly
rolling up your garden hose suggest that you take good care of your house.
Don’t let anything detract from making your best first impression.
Closets
They’re an important consideration to many buyers. By storing clothing you
won’t use soon, you’ll make closets look more spacious.
Paint
A new coat of paint cleans up your living space and makes it look bright and
new. To make rooms look larger, choose light, neutral colors that will appeal to
the most people possible, such as beige or white.
Carpet
Check its condition. If it’s worn, consider replacing it. It’s an easy and
affordable way to help sell your home faster. Again, light, neutral colors, such
as beige, are best. If you don’t replace it, you can suggest to potential buyers
that they could select new carpet and you’ll reduce your price; buyers like to
hear they’re getting a deal. At the very least, have your carpet cleaned.
Repairs and Renovations
It’s best to avoid making major renovations just to sell the house since you’re
unlikely to recoup those costs in your selling price. Make minor repairs to
items such as leaky faucets, slow drains, torn screens, damaged gutters, loose
doorknobs, and broken windows. Make sure repairs are well done; buyers
won’t take you seriously if your home improvement efforts look messy, shoddy,
or amateurish.
Leaks and Moisture
Water stains on ceilings or in the basement alert buyers to potential problems.
Don’t try to cosmetically cover up stains caused by leaks. If you’ve fixed the
water problem, repair the damage and disclose in writing to the buyer what
repairs were made.
Exterior
Curb Appeal
The "Wow" factor — that first visual, high-impact impression your home makes
on potential buyers — can turn a looker into a buyer. To determine your
property’s curb appeal, drive through your neighborhood and note other
properties; then approach your own house as if you were a potential buyer.
How does it look? Does it "wow" you? Will its curb appeal attract buyers? Note
what needs improving, such as trimming trees, planting shrubs, or painting
gutters. Little things convey that you’ve cared for your home, and this is your
opportunity to sell that important message to buyers who are shopping from
the street, simply cruising neighborhoods looking for houses for sale. To get
them through your door, do what you can to make your property look like
someone’s dream home.
Paint/Stain
If it’s peeling or blistering and you can’t remember the last time you painted it,
your house needs some attention. That also goes for stain that is significantly
faded. A newly painted or stained exterior will help sell your house faster, and
whether you do it yourself or hire someone, you’ll also increase your home’s
value.
In the Yard
Grab people’s attention by enhancing your yard and landscaping. If your
house looks inviting and well-maintained from the street, people will imagine
that it’s attractive on the inside, too.
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Prune bushes and hedges; trim trees.
Keep your lawn looking healthy and green by mowing it often,
fertilizing it, and keeping it edged and trimmed.
Clean up and dispose of pet mess.
Weed your gardens; add fertilizer and mulch and plant colorful flowers.
In winter, keep your driveway and sidewalks shoveled, de-iced, and
well-lit.
Stack firewood, clean out birdbaths, repair and paint fences.
The Front Door
An attractive entry catches a buyer’s eye and says, "Welcome," so highlight
this area of your house with decorative touches, such as a wreath on the door
or new shrubs and flowers around the steps. For an even grander entry, clean
and paint your front door, or replace it with a new one for a few hundred
dollars. Don’t forget to fix and polish doorknobs, repair torn screens, and then
put out that new welcome mat.
Cleaning and Maintenance Checklist:
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Windows, sills, and screens
Walls and floor
Tile
Ceilings
Cupboards and drawers
Kitchen
Bathrooms
Light fixtures
Ceiling fans
Carpet and rugs
Mirrors
Garage
Attic
Basement
Laundry room
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Yard
Gutters
Replace furnace filter
Dust furniture, TV and computer screens
Closets
Remove clutter
Pack personal items
Repair
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Leaky faucets and plumbing
Torn screens
Slow drains
Gutters
Loose doorknobs
Deck boards
Broken windows
Electrical fixtures
Water stain damage
Broken appliances
Damaged walls and ceilings
Worn carpet and rugs
Damaged sidewalks and steps
Improvements
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Stain or paint deck
Store tools
Roll up garden hose
Paint or stain exterior
Prune bushes and hedges
Trim trees
Mow lawn, fertilize, edge, and trim
Weed gardens, plant flowers
Shovel driveways, de-ice
Stack firewood
Clean out birdbaths
Caulk windows and doors
Repair and paint fences
Seal asphalt driveway
Make sure doors close properly
Enhance entryway
Replace welcome mat
These elements are no secret – selling anything is about presenting it as favorably
as possible, and a home is no exception. With the right Realtor® and the right
presentation, you may find that selling your home is a painless, quick, profitable
process!
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