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12 Things To Do Before You List Your Home For Sale

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Being mentally prepared to sell your home is one thing, but being physically ready takes work. This time of year is when most sellers start mulling over the idea of listing their home for spring. If you’re one of those people considering putting your home up for sale here’s a list of things that will help make sure the home is visually ready to accept buyers.

Curb Appeal  The first thing a buyer sees is the outside of your home. Make sure your shrubs, bushes, and trees are trimmed, and your lawn is neat after the winter thaw. If there is still some snow or mud left over, try to shovel and/or spray the walkway clean. Create a welcoming path into the front door that will leave your buyer ready to see more as their agent turns the key.

Spring Clean  If a house is well maintained and clean the
buyers will assume the parts of the home they can’t see were meticulously cared for as well. If they see dirt, dust and other remnants of a disorderly house they may start to question what’s going on in the hidden parts of the home that they are missing. Make sure you do a thorough deep clean before you list your house and then maintain that sparkle as your home continues to be available for showings. It will also help you be prepared for any last minute showing requests if you manage to keep your home clean along the way.

Make Minor Repairs  If you have a leaky faucet, a loose doorknob or a missing drain cover, get those items fixed before you list the home. Small repairs might not be a big deal to you, but to a buyer, it’s the minor details that stick out as they walk through your home. It would be a shame if something as small as an outlet cover turned them off before they even had a chance to consider your home.

Paint and Patch  Remove any large paintings and frames and make sure to patch the drywall behind them. Any mounts would be better taken down BEFORE you list so that buyers are concerned about what the wall will look like once you remove your TV. Don’t go overboard painting your home, just make sure it’s touched up and clean looking. And choose neutral colors that any buyer could see their decor fitting in with nicely.

Get Ready To Move  I tell my clients, “you’re selling your house, so the plan is to move anyway. Might as well start packing and make that one less thing to worry about later!” This will help declutter your home and give the buyer more opportunities to visualize themselves living in the space, but also help you have less to do later when you do finally have an interested buyer that wants to purchase. Just make sure to tuck the boxes away in a storage space or rent a space for a short time so that your home isn’t filled up with boxes instead of personal items.

Update The Small Stuff  If you have outdated door handles, hardware on cabinets or light fixtures these items can easily transform an outdated house into a much more modern feel very quickly and cheaply. Spend a day replacing all of your old fixtures and hardware. You’d be surprised what some cabinet handles and new light fixtures can do to spruce the place up.

Check Your Light Bulbs and Batteries  If you have smoke detectors beeping or bulbs that are out, fix those. People don’t want to walk into a house that’s chirping at them, and they want to be able to SEE the house. These are minor issues that don’t take much energy on your part as a seller, but when a buyer walks in and can’t turn on lights, they feel like there is something to hide in the dark.

Create An Ambiance Set up your living room, clear off old magazines and books and set your table. Make it home-like so when people walk through they get a sense of warmth. Also, as you start to show your home, it’s always a good idea to have the lights on so people can easily walk through and quickly see your hard work!

Window Treatments  If you plan to take your curtains because they were homemade by your grandmother, remove them before you list your home. It’s best to replace them with something neutral and appealing as well as something that allows the natural light in. If you have blackout curtains in your bedroom, take them down. Put up something light and open so that people can see the windows and the way the light comes into the room.

Clean Up Your Sinks  Tuck away your sponges, toothbrushes, unsightly towels and soaps. Unless it’s decorative, have a designated bin or drawer for these items so you can easily pack them up for showings.

Make Sure Windows And Doors Open Properly  If you have doors that stick, windows that one open or cabinets that are falling off the hinge, test them and tighten or replace them before you list your home. Buyers get frustrated at a home inspection why they realize some windowns and doors don’t work properly that they didn’t test before because the weather wasn’t cooperating.

Your Patio And Back Yard Matter Too!  If your deck hasn’t been stained in a decade or your yard is filled with muddy patches throw down some seed and do a quick stain on your deck. Buyers will usually walk around the outside before they even step in and you don’t want them not to take a look at the inside because the backyard turned them away! 

If you’re considering selling a home this season, NOW is the time to start getting your home prepared! Spring will be here before you know it so get started working on your home’s appeal now, so you are ready to ROCK when the market is prime time to sell! 



For Home Sellers – Showing Your Home In The Snow

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As winter is in full swing, showing your home can be frustrating. When the weather reports numerous inches of snow but the calls for requests to view your house are still coming in, what are your options? Surely you don’t want to consider turning down showings because of some inclement weather, and let’s be honest, if they are still willing to traipse through the snow to see your house, they are probably a fairly serious buyer. 

So what should you make sure you have done when the snow hits and you have to be “show ready”? 

Have your agent bring booties to your home. If they haven’t already, make sure you have a basket by the door with a sign that requests potential buyers to please remove their shoes or place bootie covers on so they don’t walk through your house with wet, soggy boots on. This is especially important if you have carpet! You can’t trust a buyer will remove their shoes just because you asked, but providing them with a much easier and more convenient option to removing their laced up knee-high boots altogether makes them refusing to grant your request that much more unlikely. 

Make sure your walkway is cleaned off and shoveled. I, for one, hate shoveling. If it’s just a little bit of snow I usually let it sit and curse myself later for having a sheet of ice to deal with because I didn’t just run a shovel down my driveway. But when you have people coming to view your home make sure you at least shovel a path to the door they will be using and a path to the lockbox. This makes it much easier for the agent to show your home and much more considerate to your potential buyer. It’s even better to cleanly shovel the whole drive. 

Have salt on hand. Just because you shoveled doesn’t mean that it won’t freeze over. Make sure you regularly salt your stairs, walkway, and any other areas outside where the buyers might be walking. You definitely don’t want someone to slip and hurt themselves on your property. 

If it’s really bad, request a new showing time. Most likely, in REALLY bad weather, buyers are going to postpone their tours. But if conditions are truly dangerous and it’s extremely difficult for you to leave the house safely, it’s completely understandable for you to request the buyer to reschedule. It does not reflect badly on you and the weather is out of your control. I typically recommend that sellers offer a new day and time when doing this rather than cancelling completely. This makes it more likely that the buyer will still choose to view the home in the future, and shows that you are flexible and trying to accommodate and work out and unfortunate situation. 

Having a home for sale in winter can be a tough experience. Between the holidays, the market slowing down and the blasts of cold and snowy weather cramping your style it gets difficult to feel like you’re on top of your game. But a little (or a lot) of snow doesn’t have to ruin your weekend of tour appointments as long as your prepared to put in a little leg work and make your outside as safe and show ready as the inside! 

Tips For Investors As The Season Kicks Off

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The season has begun for investors. If you’ve ever considered buying and flipping, you’ve probably done your research. First impressions and appeal are necessary for selling a house. There are a myriad of major and minor renovations that you can do to get the home back up to par and make top dollar back on your investment.

What are some of the common (and not so common) parts of flipping a home to take into consideration as an investor:

Cosmetic details can make or break a buyer’s decision to write an offer. Paint, carpet, flooring, light fixtures, cabinets, and countertops are all part of the buyers’ perception of insides of the house. If what they can see with the naked eye looks appealing they want to take a closer look. If the obvious cosmetics of the house are not at their best, you might have turned potential buyers away before they even get to the big ticket items you’ve invested into the salability of the home.

Curb appeal is your first impression! Even if you don’t hire professionals to come in and landscape the yard and surrounding exterior, make sure to clean it up. Get rid of dead trees and bushes. Throw down some mulch and mow the lawn. Don’t let the yard give buyers a funny taste in their mouths, so they don’t make it in the front door.

Appliances and utilities are essential to buyers. If you buy a new dishwasher or a refrigerator make sure it matches the decor of the rest of the kitchen, and the other appliances. If the furnace or water heater are on their last leg, you might benefit from replacing. At the very least make sure to have it all serviced and got a seal of approval from licensed contractors so that if the buyers have questions they know everything has been tested and functions.

Driveways matter. Many times driveways get overlooked. However, once an inspector comes in the holes, divets, and uneven asphalt or concrete come to light. Better to have it evened out and had the imperfections patched before you even get to that point.

STAGE: Some investors feel that staging a home is an added and unnecessary expense. But if you want to give the buyer a feeling of “home” staging is the way to go. It will help them envision how they can transform the space into their own home and if there are smaller rooms it can give them a sense of how they can be utilized without giving them a chance to try to picture how their furniture will NOT fit.

Clean up your mess! If you’ve been working on the house (or hired others to) make sure the dust and debris is cleaned up before you start showing! It can be a small thing to overlook but make all the difference to the buyer’s impression of the home!

Don’t OVER improve the house. Many new investors are so concerned with the finished product that they forget that every little fixture and detail adds up. If the home doesn’t NEED something to make it stand out, don’t fix it. If you’re flipping a condo, you’re not going to put in the same fixtures that you would put into a million dollar house. You won’t get that investment back, so be mindful of where you spend your money.

Don’t skip a home inspection! Even if you plan to completely gut the house you need to know what you’re dealing with. Unless you are a licensed inspector yourself, I HIGHLY recommend spending the little bit you’ll need to make sure the significant functions of the home are running smoothly before you close and inherit all of the defects. You’d be surprised how the naked eye can’t see a number of huge issues unless you’re a trained professional.

If you’ve ever considered buying and flipping homes you’ve probably done your research about the major renovations that sell a house. You want to make sure your investment brings you a return and not a hole in your wallet. Make sure to take careful steps along the way so you can find the process of flipping a house to bring you the joy, excitement, and MONEY you hoped!
Good luck and happy hunting!

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