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Prepare Your Home

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Make a good first and lasting impression

Your home only gets one chance to impress buyers. If you want to compete with other homes on the market, your home MUST make a good first impression and an impression strong enough to outlast the other homes.

Jennifer can walk through your home and advise you how to prepare your home for the market. Often, the buyer is motivated by emotional responses to the staging of the home as much as the price of the home. Jennifer can point out things that are easy and inexpensive, yet go a long way toward triggering those "buy" emotions.

We prepare our homes for the market different than we live in them. We may have lived with broken blinds, a stain on the carpet or a sticking door for years, but buyers notice all the little faults. If buyers start thinking about all they will have to do after they move in, they will select another home – even if your home better meets their needs.

By cleaning out, making general repairs and updates, buyers are more likely to pick your home because it appears to have been well maintained over the years. Here are some things to keep in mind if you want to get top dollar for your home:

Inside the house

  • Get rid of all clutter and knick-knacks.
    Clutter makes the rooms appear smaller and takes buyer’s attention away from the features of your home. You are going to have to pack up your things before you move anyway, so why not pack some of it before you list your house so you have the best chance of selling it quicker and for more money.

  • Remove many, if not all, of your family pictures.
    People get distracted looking at your personal pictures rather than picturing where they will put their furniture, etc.  Help buyers envision themselves living in the house by removing your family pictures and personal items. 

  • Touch up paint.
    Walls should be clean and free of smudges. Repaint if necessary. To cover the smell of fresh paint, use water based latex paint and mix in 3 drops of REAL vanilla extract with each gallon. 
     
  • Neutralize paint colors
    Paint rooms neutral colors that most buyers can decorate around.  If you have a dark colored room, repaint it a lighter color. Lighter paint colors make the rooms appear bigger, brighter and warmer. 

  • Shampoo or replace carpets if needed
    All the blinds will be open and all the lights will be on during showings, so soiled carpets will be more noticeable.  
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  • Clean everything 
    Pay particular attention to kitchens and baths. Clean appliances inside and out. Don’t forget to clean light fixtures and ceiling fans.

  • Freshen up and add warmth
    Consider buying new bedspreads and floor mats. Install some curtains. Add placemats or decorative arrangements on dining room and kitchen tables. Add inexpensive floor and table plants to rooms that need a warmer feel.

  • Clean out rooms, closets and cabinets to display roominess
    If buyers see packed closets and cabinets, they assume there is a shortage of storage in your house.  Box up excess and store elsewhere. Store excess or worn furniture to avoid making rooms crowded. Clean out garage, attic and basement.

  • Make obvious repairs
    The purchaser will most likely ask for them anyway and it’s better to be proactive. Plus your home will show better. Repair loose doorknobs and sticking doors, tighten loose banisters and railings, repair cracks in walls, re-grout tile and caulk in bathtubs and sinks, replace dirty air filters, repair leaking faucets, then eliminate water discoloration in sinks, replace discolored or cracked receptacle covers and repair stains on ceilings. 

Outside the house

  • Enhance curb appeal.
    This includes paint, siding, windows, shutters, fixtures and most important the front landscaping. Trim shrubs so they are lower than the bottom of the windows and porch.  Plant flowers, edge the lawn and apply fresh mulch.

  • Make sure the front entrance looks great.  
    Buyers will be really looking at this area while their agent is getting the keys and opening the door.  Give the front door a fresh coat of paint, blow leaves from sidewalk and porch, replace door mat, polish kick plate and door hardware, make sure the doorbell and front lights work. 

  • Have the exterior of your home pressure washed.
    You will be amazed the difference it makes, especially on your deck, fence, patios and sidewalks. 

  • Create outdoor living areas
    Replace worn or broken patio furniture and play equipment. Put other outside toys and tools out of sight.

  • Make general repairs.
    Remember, you are more likely to sell quicker and for more money if your home appears to have been well maintained.  Repaint wood trim and porch railings, replace any rotten wood, straighten mailbox post, replace old mailbox, replace broken windows and torn window screens, clean gutters and eaves. 

Create a buying atmosphere during a showing

  • Open all blinds/curtains and turn on all lights and lamps.  Brighter rooms appear larger and have a warm welcoming appearance. Replace burned out light bulbs and use the highest watt bulbs possible.

  • Do not use strong air fresheners or perfumes. Instead simply place one drop of vanilla extract on a hot light bulb before buyers come to the house or bake a batch of cookies. If you smoke or have pets, make sure the house doesn’t have an odor.

  • Clean off vanities, straighten rooms and put all items away anytime you leave your home. The first time you leave the house a mess, you can be sure someone will call while you are gone and ask to show it! Walking into a messy house often makes people feel that you haven’t taken good care of the home. 
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  • Each time someone is going to look at your home make a quick run through your home and think about anything that you might have neglected, just use common sense.

  • Play quiet instrumental background music.

  • Always leave when your home is being showed to avoid limiting the buyers’ conversation or making them uncomfortable. Children and pets should also be absent or out of the buyers’ way during a showing, if at all possible.  

  • If you are home when the people arrive, leave quickly and be cautious about what you tell the agent or the buyer. You may hurt your negotiating power if you reveal too much information