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WHAT: You’ve decided to sell your house. What is the first step you need to do to get your house ready for the market? First, you should look at your home through the eyes of a prospective buyer and determine what needs to be cleaned, painted, repaired and tossed out. If you were buying this home what would you want to see? Your goal is to make your home look good, maximize space and attract as many buyers as possible.
WHEN: Contrary to what many people believe, home prices tend to rise or fall because of general demand patterns rather than the time of the year. The market tends to balance out between buyers and sellers year-round. For example, although the demand in the real estate market tends to be higher in the summer because parents want to enroll children in classes at the beginning of the school year, the number of houses available on the market is higher also.
HOW: Buyers usually seek the least expensive home in the best neighborhood they can afford, which means they want a home that fits in the neighborhood but is not over-improved. Improvements should be made so that the property looks good, but at the same time, is consistent with the neighborhood. The cost of these improvements also should not exceed what can be made up from the sale. A well-cared for property is more desirable to buyers because if what they can see is maintained, what they can’t see has probably also been maintained. The following are some suggestions on how to improve the appearance of your house to potential buyers.
– Water, mow, weed, & edge lawn regularly.
– Trim hedges,prune trees, and tend to flowerbeds regularly.
– Mend cracks in walkways, driveway, walls, foundation, and patios.
– Patch up or repaint doors and windows with peeling paint.
– Clean and align gutters.
– Inspect and clean the chimney.
– Repair and replace loose or damaged roof shingles.
– Repair and repaint loose siding and caulking.
– If applicable, keep sidewalks clear of snow and ice.
– Keep your garage door closed.
– Move RVs or old and beaten up cars elsewhere while the house is on the market.
– Be sure your front door area has a warm, “Welcome” feeling!
– Repaint walls or replace carpets with neutral colors.
– Fix all cracks, leaks and signs of dampness in the basement or attic.
– Fix all cracks, holes or damage to plaster, wallboard, wallpaper, paint, and tiles.
– Replace broken or cracked windowpanes, moldings, and other woodwork.
– Repair leaky faucets and showerheads.
– Clean and remove clutter to make your house appear bigger and brighter.
– Rent storage to keep the garage and attic should clear.
– Remove excess or very large furniture.
– Hire a professional cleaning service, once every few weeks while the house is on the market.
– Remove as many items from kitchen counters, closets, and attics to make your house seem more spacious.
– Make your kitchen and bathroom look as bright and fresh as possible.
– Use your nicer guest towels in the bathrooms.
– Hang up fresh curtains.
– Install new cabinet knobs.
– Make sure kitchen and bathroom are clean and odor free.
– Replace burned out light bulbs.
– Open drapes and blinds.
– Don’t let pets wander around the house.
– Don’t leave dirty dishes in the sink or laundry in the washer or dryer.
– Make the beds.
– Put on soothing music.
– Make a fire in the fireplace on cold days.