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Prep Your Home To Sell


Below are crucial steps to ensure your home draws the highest price


It is vital that your house stand out to buyers. Understand that they are comparing your house to ALL the similarly priced houses in your area (YOUR COMPETITION). Buyers often see 6 or more properties at a time. They are often overwhelmed by the number of decisions they have to make. People cope with the overload of information by first deciding what they can ignore. Finding reasons to rule out most of the houses they are seeing is the first logical step. Don’t give Buyers reasons to rule your house out! The trick is to start with the simplest and least expensive items first, and work your way up from there. After a gazillion showings, I have noticed several common, INEXPENSIVE items that stick out like a soar thumb when sellers skip them.




(START WITH THE EASIEST AND LEAST EXPENSIVE…)


CLEAN, CLEAN, CLEAN

As obvious as this first step sounds, any real estate agent will tell you that this important first step to presenting a property, is ignored unbelievably often. Whether you haven’t cleaned your house since 1988, or you cleaned it yesterday, it is time to do an extensive, all-out deep cleaning! This includes YARD WORK and EXTERIOR CLEAN UP as well. Cleaning costs you virtually nothing except time, but when done extensively, it will give you the biggest return for the money/effort. The more you show potential buyers and their real estate agent how much YOU care about the property, the higher the perceived value. If you don’t care about your property, why should they?


DECLUTTER

Have a thrift sale, get a dumpster, sell stuff on Craigslist and Facebook and call Hope Gospel Mission for large items to be hauled away for free. Get in the mindset that your ARE moving soon. Get a storage shed for everything else you want to keep but doesn’t fit neatly into a hidden spot in the house. Store everything you don’t use on a monthly basis that won’t specifically contribute to staging the property. This will also give you a tremendous head start for moving since you will have to pack up and move everything anyway. Use the few bucks you make selling items to put toward the next few suggestions…


FIX / REPLACE THE SMALL STUFF

Replace all the burned out light bulbs and make sure all the bulbs in every multiple-bulb fixture match in size & color. Fix or replace the doorbell button, door handles and locks, loose railings, patio bricks, chipped paint, squeaky drawers, doors that stick, large and small holes in the walls or sheetrock, light switch covers, new shower curtain, garbage cans, etc. Replace your mailbox if it is old.

Since I also work as a Buyer Agent, I see gazillions of Listed homes. It is just as important to impress the buyer’s agent as it is to impress the buyer. The biggest red flag to me is when there are lots of little things in a house that are broken. If the home owner doesn’t care about the inexpensive, easy to fix stuff that everyone can see, why should we assume the sellers have taken care of the important home maintenance items that may cost my buyers big down the road? Here is how small and inexpensive the red flags are to fix:


HAVE YOUR CARPETS PROFESSIONALLY CLEANED

This is usually a couple hundred dollars. The stains and smells you’ve become used to will stand out like flashing neon lights to buyers. You shouldn’t consider this optional if you have pets.


PAINT

A fresh coat of paint in every room will make your house look like new. If you aren’t great at painting, hire a professional to give it a professional look. Fix all the holes and imperfections in the walls and ceiling. Use neutral colors. Sloppy work is a waste of energy since it doesn’t give you much advantage over not painting in the first place. Paint all the trim on the exterior, railings, patios, doors, basement floors and walls.


TRANSFORM THE WORST ROOM OR AREA OF YOUR HOUSE TO THE BEST IT CAN BE

Usually this is the basement or utility room. if you don’t have a finished basement, a fresh coat of Battleship Gray colored paint on the cement walls and floor go a long way. This doesn’t have to be an expensive or overwhelming project, but CLEAN YOUR BASEMENT, even if it is meant for utilities only. Get rid of the cobwebs and secure & cover loose wires, exposed pipes and other eye soars (keep accessible for inspector & new home owners). Replace light bulbs and add more lighting if necessary. If the laundry is downstairs, make the area leading up to and around the washer and dryer as comfortable as you can. Fresh paint in the laundry room, as well as large, nice looking rugs are a good start. If you currently describe your basement as a “dungeon” but can be prepped it so a teenage girl won’t describe it as “scary” or “ew,” it will put you ahead of many competing properties.


UPDATE YOUR OUTLET AND LIGHTSWITCH COVERS

Fairly easy project, combine with updating Light Fixtures

UPDATE YOUR LIGHT FIXTURES

A $300-$600 Menards run during a sale, and a call to Switch-It Electric (715-797-5934), who specializes in specifically these types of projects rather than wiring houses and updating panels. 

UPDATE YOUR KITCHEN CUPBOARD HANDLES

Again, Menards has a huge selection of newer style handles that will partially update your kitchen for $50-$200. Alternatively, check out these websites: https://www.knobdepot.com/ or http://www.99centknobs.com/


THOSE ARE MY FAVORITE ITEMS AS FAR AS EFFECTIVENESS VS COST.




HERE ARE SEVERAL OTHER TIPS FROM VARIOUS SOURCES…

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IDEAS FROM OTHER SOURCES ON THE WEB:

Highlight your home’s strengths, downplay its weaknesses and appeal to the greatest possible pool of prospective buyers with these home-staging tips.

1. Boost curb appeal. This is something you always hear, and with very good reason. Many people thinking of touring your home will do a quick drive-by first, often deciding on the spot if it is even worth a look inside. Make sure your home is ready to lure in onlookers with these tips:·Power wash siding and walkways

·Hang easy-to-read house numbers

·Plant blooming flowers and fresh greenery

·Mow lawn, and reseed or add fresh sod as needed

Pull weeds, especially from driveway and sidewalk cracks

·Wash front windows

·Repaint or stain the porch floor as needed

Traditional Porch design by Portland Maine Architect Whitten Architects


2. Welcome visitors with an inviting porch. Even if you have only a tiny stoop, make it say “welcome home” with a clean doormat, potted plants in bloom and — if you have room — one or two pieces of neat porch furniture. Keep your porch lights on in the evenings, in case potential buyers drive by. Illuminating the front walk with solar lights is a nice extra touch, especially if you will be showing the house during the evening.



Traditional Kitchen design by Los Angeles Interior Designer Suzie Parkinson SÜZA DESIGN

3. Get your house sparkling clean. From shining floors and gleaming windows to clean counters and scrubbed grout, every surface should sparkle. This is the easiest (well, maybe not easiest, but certainly the cheapest) way to help your home put its best foot forward. You may want to hire pros to do some of the really tough stuff, especially if you have a large house. Don’t skimp — this step is key!



Eclectic Kitchen design by Burlington Media And Blogs Tamar Schechner

4. Clear away all clutter. If you are serious about staging your home, all clutter must go, end of story. It’s not easy, and it may even require utilizing offsite storage (or a nice relative’s garage) temporarily, but it is well worth the trouble. Clean and clear surfaces, floors, cupboards and closets equal more space in the eyes of potential buyers, so purge anything unnecessary or unsightly.

But it’s my style! Guess what? It may not be the style of those seeking to buy a house in your neighborhood. So even if you have an awesome vintage-chic look going on, rein it in for the sake of appealing to the most number of people. You can bring your personal style back into play in your new home.



Modern Kitchen design by Providence Interior Designer Kate Jackson Design

5. Strike a balance between clean and lived-in. Yes, I know I just said to get rid of all your clutter (and you deserve a big pat on the back if you did it), but now it’s time to judiciously bring back a few elements that will really make your home appealing. Think vases of cut flowers, a basket of fresh farmer’s market produce on the kitchen counter or a bowl of lemons beside the sink.



Eclectic Dining Room design by Providence Interior Designer Kate Jackson Design

6. Style your dining room table. The dining room is often a blind spot in decorating the home. Between dinners, a large dining table can look bare and uninviting, so styling it up with visitors in mind can increase the appeal. An oversize arrangement can look too stiff and formal, so try lining up a series of smaller vessels down the center of the table instead.



Contemporary Dining Room design by Portland Interior Designer nicole helene designs

7. Take a good look at your floors. At the bare minimum, give all floors a thorough cleaning (and steam clean carpets), but consider having wood floors refinished if they are in poor shape. If you don’t want to invest in refinishing floors, the strategic placement of area rugs can go a long way.



Contemporary Family Room design by Dallas Design-build Ellen Grasso Inc

8. Rearrange your furniture. In the living room, symmetrical arrangements usually work well. Pull your furniture off the walls and use pairs (of sofas, chairs, lamps) to create an inviting conversation area.



Contemporary Living Room design by Providence Interior Designer Kate Jackson Design

9. Choose sophisticated neutral colors. Now is not the time to experiment with that “fun”-looking lime green. But that doesn’t mean you need to go all white, either. Rich midtone neutrals like mocha and “greige” create a sophisticated backdrop that makes everything look more pulled together.



Traditional Bedroom design by Los Angeles Interior Designer Talianko Design Group, LLC

10. Create a gender-neutral master bedroom. Appeal to everyone with a clean, tailored master bedroom, free of personal items and clutter. You can’t go wrong with clean, crisp linens, tasteful artwork and a blanket folded at the foot of the bed.



Closet design by Other Metros Closets And Organization The Stow Company

11. Open those closets! Open-house visitors will peek inside your closets. Closet space can be a make-it-or-break-it selling point for buyers, so show yours off to their full advantage by giving excess stuff the heave-ho. Again, this is really important, so even if you need to store a few boxes elsewhere, it’s worth it. Aim to have 20 to 30 percent open space in each closet to give the impression of spaciousness.



Contemporary Kids design by San Francisco Interior Designer Artistic Designs for Living, Tineke Triggs

12. Clean up toys. Of course there will be families with children looking at your home, but just because they have kids too doesn’t mean seeing toys strewn everywhere will sell them on the place. When people are house hunting, they are imagining a fresh start. Show them that in this house, it is possible to have a beautifully organized kids’ room, and they might be swayed.



Contemporary Bedroom design by Other Metros Interior Designer Joel Snayd

13. Use “extra” rooms wisely. If you have been using a spare bedroom as a dumping ground for odd pieces of furniture and boxes of junk, it’s time to clean up your act. Each room should have a clearly defined purpose, so think about what potential buyers might like to see here. An office? A guest room? Another kids’ room? Whether you buy inexpensive furnishings, rent them, or borrow some from friends, making a real room out of a junk room will have a big payoff.



Traditional Bathroom design by Austin Architect Webber + Studio, Architects

14. Try a pedestal sink to maximize space. If you have a small bathroom but a huge cabinet-style sink, consider swapping it out for a simple pedestal version. Your bathroom will appear instantly bigger.



Traditional Bathroom design

15. Use only perfect personal accents. Especially in the bathroom, it is important that anything left out for visitors to see is pristine. If you have a gorgeous fluffy white bathrobe, hanging it on a decorative hook on the door can be an attractive accent — but if your robe is more of the nubby blue floral variety, you might want to hide it away. Look at every detail with a visitor’s eye — bars of soap should be fresh and clean, towels spotless, the garbage always emptied (you get the idea).



Traditional Staircase design by Philadelphia Architect Archer & Buchanan Architecture, Ltd.

16. Entice people to explore the whole house. By placing something that draws the eye at the top of the stairs, in hallways or in corners, you can pique curiosity and keep potential buyers interested throughout a whole home tour. A piece of artwork, a painted accent wall, a window seat, a vase of flowers, a hanging light or even a small, colorful rug can all work to draw the eye.



Media Room design by Toronto Media And Blogs 8Foot6

17. Show how you can use awkward areas. If you have any room beneath the stairs, or a nook or alcove anywhere in your home, try to find a unique way to show it off. By setting up a small work station, a home command center with a bulletin board, or built-in shelving, your awkward spot becomes another selling point.



Traditional Kitchen design by Chicago Architect COOK ARCHITECTURAL Design Studio

18. Beware pet odors. Really, this can be a big one! If you have pets, get all rugs steam cleaned and be extra vigilant about vacuuming and washing surfaces. Also be sure to keep any extra-loved pet toys and doggie bones hidden when tours are scheduled.



Traditional Exterior design by Burlington Architect Smith & Vansant Architects PC

19. Create a lifestyle people are looking for. Generally speaking, you want to play up what your neighborhood or area is known for. Have a house in a quiet, grassy suburb? Hanging a hammock in your backyard and a bench swing on your porch could be the perfect touch.



Eclectic Patio design by London Interior Designer Celia James

20. Stage the outdoors too. Even if your condo has only a teensy postage stamp–size balcony, play it up with a cute cafe table and chairs, a cheerful tablecloth and even a little tray of dishes or a vase of flowers. When people look at this scene, they won’t be thinking “small,” they will be thinking, “What a charming spot to have breakfast!”



Traditional Landscape design by San Francisco Landscape Architect Shades Of Green Landscape Architecture

21. Think seasonally. Make sure your garden is in beautiful shape in the summer, and that any extra features you have, like a pool or a fire pit, are cleaned and ready to go. Take advantage of the cozy vibe of the season in autumn and winter, by building a fire in the fireplace and simmering hot apple cider on the stove.





Grimy bathroom walls are a major red flag to buyers. Here is an easy way to get rid of surface mold: Mix a spray bottle with one part water and one part bleach. Just spray it on the wall, and watch the mold disappear. Give it a fresh coat of paint, and your grimy bathroom will go from red flag to red-hot.

Don’t replace a yucky shower door: Just scour it. A grimy glass shower door can really wash out your sale. Instead of replacing it, clean it with a mixture of one part muriatic acid and about 10 parts water. Scrub with steel wool. After wiping it down, reinstall the door and you’ll have a shower that’ll help you clean up at the open house.

Avoid dated tile by painting. Bathrooms sell houses, but dated tile in a bathroom doesn’t. A low-cost alternative to replacing the tile is to use paint. First coat the tiles with a high-adhesion primer. Next, brush on a special ceramic epoxy covering. For a fraction of the cost of new tile, you will have an up-to-date bathroom that brings in big bucks.

Pedestal sinks are a big hit with buyers. They show off square footage in small bathrooms beautifully. First, your old vanity has to go. Next, just hook up your new sink, and your bathroom will have dramatic appeal that brings in big bucks. Plus, buyers will see how much floor space your bathroom has.

A master bedroom should appeal to both sexes. When you are selling, your master bedroom should appeal to buyers of both sexes. Get rid of features that seem too gender-specific. Paint the walls a neutral color, and choose bedding that matches. Then accessorize with items that complement the overall color scheme.

Do you have an overpowering brick fireplace that sticks out like a sore thumb? Here’s an easy way to tone it down with paint. Use a rag or brush to rub a light coat of paint on the bricks, one at a time. This will give them a new tone without covering them completely. And, if you use a paint color that matches the walls, your fireplace will go from sticking out to standing out.

Updating an old fireplace screen is a cheap (and quick) fix. After removing the screen and wiping it down to get rid of the dust, mask off the windows so you won’t get paint on them. Then, using a can of heat-resistant spray paint, give the screen a facelift. Hold the can about 18 inches away, and use long, even strokes. For less than $5, you will have a fireplace screen that’ll keep your sale from going up in smoke.

Turn an unattractive fireplace into a selling feature. Need to turn an unattractive fireplace into a selling feature? First, that dated brass screen has got to go. Next, give the fireplace a good cleaning, scrubbing it with soap and water. Then, using a stone color enhancer, polish the bricks to make them shine. In no time you will have a fireplace that will turn your house into the hottest property on the block.

Stain dated kitchen cabinets instead of replacing them. Dated kitchen cabinets can be a big turnoff to potential buyers. Instead of paying big bucks to replace them, just stain them. First, apply the stain in even strokes, going with the grain of the wood. Add some stylish hardware, and your kitchen will have the up-to-date look that buyers love, for less than $200.

Stainless-steel appliances are definitely in with buyers. Instead of buying a new dishwasher, here is a low-cost way to resurface an old one: First, remove the front panels, and clean them. Next, apply a stainless-steel stick-on covering, and cut it to size. For just $20 your dishwasher will go from outdated to ultra-modern.

Fill existing hardware holes instead of making new, unsightly ones.Removing old kitchen hardware can leave your cabinets with stripped-out holes. Here is a trick to reusing the existing ones.

First, dip a toothpick in glue and place it in the stripped hole. Cut off the excess piece. Once the glue dries, you’ll be ready to put in the hardware that buyers love.

Save money on granite countertops. Granite countertops are a huge selling feature, but they can be expensive. Here are a few ways to save on this investment:

First, do the demo yourself. Also, ask the vendor for remnants from previous projects. Remember, any money you spend will definitely be returned in the value these beautiful counters add to your kitchen.

New kitchen appliances bring high returns from sellers. Studies show that new kitchen appliances bring high returns from sellers, so get rid of old appliances that make the rest of the kitchen look dated. Once you install the new equipment, it will scream “new kitchen,” and you will see that spending a little money will make you even more.

Need to dress up a window but don’t want to shell out big bucks for window treatments? Here’s a trick: Use place mats. First, apply a hook-and-loop fastener to the place mats and attach them in a row to a basic curtain rod. Now that the place mats are attached to the curtain rods, pin them together at the bottom, and you’ll have a stylish valance that costs about $12.

Adding drama to old hardwood flooring is easier than you might think.First, isolate damaged boards, cut them out and replace them with new pieces. Rent a sander from a local hardware store, and give the floor a good sanding. The last step is to stain the boards with a rich color, and watch your floor go from drab to dramatic in no time.

Buyers love built-in bookshelves. There’s a fine line between filling them with clutter and staging them to sell. The trick is to arrange neutral items in clusters. Make sure that no single accessory stands out too much. That way, you’ll show off your attractive built-ins, and not your personal belongings.

Curb appeal is vital to attracting buyers. Here is how to stop traffic using color. First, with two tones of paint, add a faux finish to any corner keystones. Next, bring out the color of walkway pavers using a stone sealer. Plant flowers in bloom, and you’ll have buyers swarming like bees to your front door.

A nice outdoor deck can be a big selling feature, but an old one is a major liability. To give your outdoor space new life, first sand the wood. Cover it with a light-colored stain instead of paint to give it a rustic, grainy look. Furnish it for entertaining, and watch your open house turn into a party.

Breathe new life into a worn patio. Do you have a red-brick patio surface that needs to be freshened up? Here is an easy way to give it new life with paint. First, roll a light coat of paint onto the bricks. Next, lightly spray them with water and then dab them before they dry to give them an outdoor look. When you are done, you will have a patio that looks fresh and reels in buyers.

Staging rooms to show off their true potential is essential when selling your home. Clear out clutter or other personal items that will distract buyers. Paint the walls a neutral tone, and furnish the space to show off how functional it is. When buyers come through and imagine themselves there, you can bet an offer isn’t far behind.

A shabby wood-panel wall is not a strong selling point. Instead of ripping it out, cover it up. Use wood filler to carefully fill in all the cracks between the panels. Then, use a sponge to wipe away the excess filler. Once it’s dry, paint the room. You’ll see an unattractive wall go from standing out to blending in.

Use tape outlines on the floor instead of actually moving furniture around. Rearranging a room to stage it for your open house? Here is a tip to save time and effort: Instead of lugging the heavy furniture around the room to see what feels best, put outlines on the floor with painter’s tape. Arrange the room according to your outlines, and save your energy for counting offers.

Vinyl tile is an inexpensive way to update your home. Laying vinyl tile is an inexpensive way to update your home, but there’s a right way and a wrong way to do it. You need to avoid laying patterns that look too perfect. Instead, make sure to switch up the direction and placement of the tiles to mix the tones. That way, you end up with a floor that has a natural feel.

Let the sun shine in. Buyers love light and airy living rooms, but dark and dingy isn’t on their list. Open up your window shades to let some light in. Cheat some sunshine with a light-colored paint and lots of artificial lighting. You can never have too many lamps. Last, arrange the space with lightly colored furniture, and you’ll have a living room that brightens your chances of a sale.

Stage rooms with one purpose so buyers will know what it is. Potential buyers are confused by extra rooms that have a mishmash of uses. To avoid this problem, first clear away clutter and excess furniture. Paint the walls a neutral tone and then furnish the room with a desk to stage it as a home office in which buyers will want to get down to business.

Unpleasant pet odors won’t win over buyers. We all love our pets, but unpleasant pet odors can make a negative first impression. Be sure to get rid of old carpet that can trap offensive smells. Replace it with fresh new carpet in a neutral color. Plus, if you paint the walls to match, your living room will look bigger. It’ll go from designed to smell to designed to sell.

Pack up unnecessary items and furniture before you show the house. An overpacked living room is a red flag to buyers that your home lacks storage space. Pack up unneccesary items and furniture, and move items to your garage or a nearby storage facility. Clear the way for a sale by letting buyers see your square footage, not your personal belongings.

Storage space sells! Potential buyers love homes that have lots of storage space. Since they will open your closets, it’s a good idea to clear out unnecessary clutter, and organize your shelves to show off how much storage you really have. Plus, it gives you a chance to start packing, as you will definitely be moving once buyers see all that closet space.

Create a nice flow in your rooms. Buyers are attracted to homes that have a good flow. You can create circulation by replacing square or rectangular dining tables with round ones. Cutting the corners adds room to this maneuver and creates a spinoff effect that adds flow to your home — cash flow, that is.

Create a better flow in the house by starting with the floor. Want to create better flow in your house? Start with the floor. Join two rooms together by using the most cost-efficient material in the book: vinyl tile. First, use a snap-line to create a center point between the two rooms. Next, the fun part: Peel and stick the new vinyl tile down, and watch your kitchen and dining room go from old to sold!