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Friday, January 22, 2010

Real Estate Tips PRIOR to listing your home

When PREPARING to sell your home (before it is on the market):
1. Less is more! De-clutter, remove items you don't HAVE to have. Rent a storage space, use a friends garage, whatever, just get it out! If you think you are "doing your part" by just cramming it all away in YOUR garage or closets, you are doing yourself a disservice- presenting that your home does not have enough storage.
2. Lights... Clean them, replace any burned out light bulbs, if your fixtures are really dated, consider replaceing them- this is often very inexpensive and can "update" a rooms appearance significantly.
3. Deep Clean.... Go through each room with an extremely critical eye...
Does trim work need to be touched up with paint/stain?
Does tile need to be re-grouted?
Shampoo carpets (rental of a commercial sampooer is about $25 for 4 hours- well worth it)
Wash windows
Dust/wash/Iron Window treatments
Clean appliances thoroughly
Touch up paint on walls- fill in any nail holes first
Clean heater vents- whether wall "Cadet" type heaters or just the vents. take covers off (turn off power first if wall heaters) and clean thoroughly.
Pay special attention to sinks, toilets, tubs and showers... put some muscle into it! Baking Soda works great to really scrub the grit out of there. Wash shower curtain if it's cloth. Replace shower liner if it is the least bit mildewy or gross.
4. Spruce up the yard/exterior... First impression is extremely important.
Pressure wash or at least sweep driveway. If it is rock, consider bringing in fresh rock and spreading it to fill in any pot holes/give clean look.
Plant planters full of plants that are available in color depending on the season... Be sure you take care of them, or don't plant them at all! I have seen so many "well intended" planters that end up looking worse than nothing at all because they don't get watered, weeded, etc...
Clean off roof (or have someone else if it's not safe for you) Baking soda along the ridgeline works great for moss. Don't do this on a windy day or it will just blow away.. Try to do it when rain is expected so the water will wash it down and kill the moss. Once it has died it will just blow away.
CLEAN SIDING! Especially near the front door or entry ways! Spray it, scrub it, touch up paint if needed. Touch up chaulking where needed.
Clean any decks or patios. Consider pressure washing, staining or sealing if necessary
Wash exterior of the windows
Clean up flower beds/landscapeing
Patch or re-seed any areas of the lawn that need it.

ALL of these things would cost probably a total of $100 (to rent the carpet shampooer and pressure washer if needed) and it is amazing how many people do not do these things! Buyers today are looking for TOTALLY move in ready. I have seen people walk away from homes that met EVERY check of their "must have" and "would like to have" lists, simply because it "needs too much work" and the only work was items from this list! It takes time, yes, but the more time you put into these sort of things, the less time your home will sit on the market. Many buyers right now are first time buyers taking advantage of the tax credit. For the most part they do not understand the demands of owning a home and can be intimidated by them.... make your house look EASY! Provide them a "fresh slate" --the idea of getting to get settled in without having to do the "little stuff".

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