Real Estate Seller Tips
you are thinking of selling your home, chances are you're caught
up in a mass of emotions. You may be looking forward to moving
up to a new home or facing the uncertainty of a major move
across country. You may be reluctant to leave your memories
behind or eager to start new and exciting adventures. Remember,
I am here to help you with any of your needs. Call or e-mail me
- Emotion vs. Reason
conversing with real estate agents, you will often find that
when they talk to you about buying real estate, they will refer
to your purchase as a "home." Yet if you are selling
property, they will often refer to it as a "house."
There is a reason for this. Buying real estate is often an
emotional decision, but when selling real estate you need to
remove emotion from the equation.
need to think of your house as a marketable commodity. Property.
Real estate. Your goal is to get others to see it as their
potential home, not yours. If you do not consciously make this
decision, you can inadvertently create a situation where it
takes longer to sell your property.
first step in getting your home ready to sell is to
reason you want to "de-personalize" your home is
because you want buyers to view it as their potential home. When
a potential homebuyer sees your family photos hanging on the
wall, it puts your own brand on the home and momentarily
shatters their illusions about owning the house. Therefore, put
away family photos, sports trophies, collectible items,
knick-knacks, and souvenirs. Put them in a box. Rent a storage
area for a few months and put the box in the storage unit.
not just put the box in the attic, basement, garage or a closet.
Part of preparing a house for sale is to remove
"clutter," and that is the next step in preparing your
house for sale.
Clutter, Though You May Not Think of it as Clutter
is the hardest thing for most people to do because they are
emotionally attached to everything in the house. After years of
living in the same home, clutter collects in such a way that may
not be evident to the homeowner. However, it does affect the way
buyers see the home, even if you do not realize it. Clutter
collects on shelves, counter tops, drawers, closets, garages,
attics, and basements.
a step back and pretend you are a buyer. Let a friend help point
out areas of clutter, as long as you can accept their views
without getting defensive. Let your agent help you, too.
kitchen is a good place to start removing clutter, because it is
an easy place to start. First, get everything off the counters.
Everything. Even the toaster. Put the toaster in a cabinet and
take it out when you use it. Find a place where you can store
everything in cabinets and drawers. Of course, you may notice
that you do not have cabinet space to put everything. Clean them
out. The dishes, pots and pans that rarely get used? Put them in
a box and put that box in storage, too.
see, homebuyers will open all your cabinets and drawers,
especially in the kitchen. They want to be sure there is enough
room for their "stuff." If your kitchen cabinets,
pantries, and drawers look jammed full, it sends a negative
message to the buyer and does not promote an image of plentiful
storage space. The best way to do that is to have as much
"empty space" as possible.
that reason, if you have a "junk drawer," get rid of
the junk. If you have a rarely used crock pot, put it in
storage. Do this with every cabinet and drawer. Create open
you have a large amount of foodstuffs crammed into the shelves
or pantry, begin using them – especially canned goods. Canned
goods are heavy and you don’t want to be lugging them to a new
house, anyway – or paying a mover to do so. Let what you have
on the shelves determine your menus and use up as much as you
the sink is very critical, too. Make sure the area beneath the
sink is as empty as possible, removing all extra cleaning
supplies. You should scrub the area down as well, and determine
if there are any tell-tale signs of water leaks that may cause a
homebuyer to hesitate in buying your home.
are great for accumulating clutter, though you may not think of
it as clutter. We are talking about extra clothes and shoes –
things you rarely wear but cannot bear to be without. Do without
these items for a couple of months by putting them in a box,
because these items can make your closets look "crammed
full." Sometimes there are shoeboxes full of
"stuff" or other accumulated personal items, too.
people have too much furniture in certain rooms – not too much
for your own personal living needs – but too much to give the
illusion of space that a homebuyer would like to see. You may
want to tour some builders’ models to see how they place
furniture in the model homes. Observe how they place furniture
in the models so you get some ideas on what to remove and what
to leave in your house.
garages, attics, and sheds accumulate not only clutter, but
junk. These areas should be as empty as possible so that buyers
can imagine what they would do with the space. Remove anything
that is not essential and take it to the storage area.
have a garage sale.
Up the House Interior
your sink fixtures should look shiny and new. If this cannot be
accomplished by cleaning, buy new ones where needed. If you
don’t buy something fancy, this can be accomplished
inexpensively and they are fairly easy to install. Make sure all
the hot and cold water knobs are easy to turn and that the
faucets do not leak. If they do, replace the washers. It is not
difficult at all.
to make sure you have good water pressure and that there are no
stains on any of the porcelain. If you have a difficult stain to
remove, one trick is to hire a cleaning crew to go through and
clean your home on a one-time basis. They seem to be wonderful
at making stains go away.
Walls and Painting
all the ceilings for water stains. Sometimes old leaks leave
stains, even after you have repaired the leak. Of course, if you
do have a leak, you will have to get it repaired, whether it is
a plumbing problem or the roof leaks.
should do the same for walls, looking for not only stains, but
also areas where dirt has accumulated and you just may not have
noticed. Plus, you may have an outdated color scheme.
can be your best investment when selling your home. It is not a
very expensive operation and often you can do it yourself. Do
not choose colors based on your own preferences, but based on
what would appeal to the widest possible number of buyers. You
should almost always choose an off-white color because white
helps your rooms appear bright and spacious.
your carpet appears old and worn, or it is definitely an
outdated style or color, you probably should do nothing more
than hire a good carpet cleaner. If you do choose to replace it,
do so with something inexpensive in a fairly neutral color.
or replace broken floor tiles, but do not spend a lot of money
on anything. Remember, you are not fixing up the place for
yourself. You want to move. Your goal is simply to have as few
negative impressions upon those who may want to purchase your
all of your windows to make sure they open and close easily. If
not, a spray of WD40 often helps. Make sure there are no cracked
or broken windowpanes. If there are, replace them before you
begin showing your home.
the same things with the doors – make sure they open and close
properly, without creaking. If they do, a shot of WD40 on the
hinges usually makes the creak go away. Be sure the doorknobs
turn easily, and that they are cleaned and polished to look
sharp. As buyers go from room to room, someone opens each door
and you want to do everything necessary to create a positive
those who smoke, you might want to minimize smoking indoors
while trying to sell your home. You could also purchase an ozone
spray that helps to remove odors without creating a masking
of all kinds create odors that you may have become used to, but
are immediately noticeable to those with more finely tuned
olfactory senses. For those with cats, be sure to empty kitty
litter boxes daily. There are also products that you can
sprinkle in a layer below the kitty litter that helps to control
odor. For those with dogs, keep the dog outdoors as much as
possible. You might also try sprinkling carpet freshener on the
carpet on a periodic basis.
not do anything expensive, such as remodeling. If possible, use
savings to pay for any repairs and improvements – do not go
charging up credit cards or obtaining new loans. Remember that
part of selling a house is also preparing to buy your next home.
You do not want to do anything that will affect your credit
scores or hurt your ability to qualify for your next mortgage
Up Outside the House
real estate advice tells you to work on the outside of the house
first, but unless there is a major project involved, we believe
it is best to do it last. There are two main reasons for this.
First, the first steps in preparing the interior of the house
are easier. They also help develop the proper mind set required
for selling - beginning to think of your "home" as a
marketable commodity. Second, the exterior is the most
important. A homebuyer’s first impression is based on his or
her view of the house from the real estate agent’s car.
take a walk across the street and take a good look at your
house. Look at nearby houses, too, and see how yours compares.
your landscaping at least average for the neighborhood? If it is
not, buy a few bushes and plant them. Do not put in trees.
Mature trees are expensive, and you will not get back your
investment. Also, immature trees do not really add much to the
appearance value of the home.
you have an area for flowers, buy mature colorful flowers and
plant them. They add a splash of vibrancy and color, creating a
favorable first impression. Do not buy bulbs or seeds and plant
them. They will not mature fast enough to create the desired
effect and you certainly don’t want a patch of brown earth for
homebuyers to view.
lawn should be evenly cut, freshly edged, well watered, and free
of brown spots. If there are problems with your lawn, you should
probably take care of them before working on the inside of your
home. This is because certain areas may need re-soding, and you
want to give it a chance to grow so that re-sod areas are not
immediately apparent. Plus, you might want to give fertilizer
enough time to be effective. Always rake up loose leaves and
big decision is whether to paint or not to paint. When you look
at your house from across the street, does it look tired and
faded? If so, a paint job may be in order. It is often a very
good investment and really spruces up the appearance of a house,
adding dollars to offers from potential homebuyers.
choosing a color, it should not be something garish and unusual,
but a color that fits well in your neighborhood. Of course, the
color also depends on the style of your house, too. For some
reason, different shades of yellow seem to illicit the best
response in homebuyers, whether it is in the trim or the basic
color of the house.
for the roof, if you know your house has an old leaky roof,
replace it. If you do not replace a leaky roof, you are going to
have to disclose it and the buyer will want a new roof, anyway.
Otherwise, wait and see what the home inspector says. Why spend
back yard should be tidy. If you have a pool or spa, keep it
freshly maintained and constantly cleaned. For those that have
dogs, be sure to constantly keep the area clear of
"debris." If you have swing sets or anything elaborate
for your kids, it probably makes more sense to remove them than
to leave them in place. They take up room, and you want your
back yard to appear as spacious as possible, especially in newer
homes where the yards are not as large.
Front Door & Entryway
front door should be especially sharp, since it is the entryway
into the house. Polish the door fixture so it gleams. If the
door needs refinishing or repainting, make sure to get that
you have a cute little plaque or shingle with your family name
on it, remove it. Even if it is just on the mailbox. You can
always put it up again once you move. Get a new plush door mat,
too. This is something else you can take with you once you move.
sure the lock works easily and the key fits properly. When a
homebuyer comes to visit your home, the agent uses the key from
the lock box to unlock the door. If there is trouble working the
lock while everyone else stands around twiddling their thumbs,
this sends a negative first impression to prospective