Step 5: Preparing Your Home For Sale

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7 Steps to a Successful Property Sale

When preparing your home for sale, you must think of it a bit differently. Today it’s your home, tomorrow it’s your asset. You need to examine it through buyer eyes.  It is one more house on the market competing for the the buyer’s attention.

In steps 1 through 4 of 7 Steps to a Successful Property Sale, our discussion was based on facts and figures relative to your home.  Step 5 is a little more “airy-fairy”.  It is more about how people “feel” in your home.  This “feel” involves all 5 senses:  sight, smell, taste, touch, and hearing.

  1. understand current market conditions
  2. assess the current value of your home
  3. set the right price
  4. calculate the bottom line
  5. prepare the home for sale
  6. create an advertising and marketing strategy
  7. review contracts and common sales practices for your marketplace

Understanding how a buyer begins the home search helps prioritize the projects you will need to complete before putting your home on the market.   Buyers start by choosing a community (usually the public schools play a large role in this decision); the second is the immediate neighborhood; third, the street; fourth is your home’s curb appeal.  Number five – you have 15 seconds to capture their attention after the door opens.  You only have control over the last two items in their search criteria.  Keep in mind that you only have one chance to make a first impression and it’s the one that really counts!

There are many things you can do to increase the appeal of your home. These things can be no cost or low cost or might entail more extensive expenditure.  It is the time to take advice from your realtor and make a list of items that need to be repaired or replaced.  Prioritize your list.  Some things are more important than others and if time becomes an issue it is important to know the ranking of projects.
Decluttering: Karen Kingston describes clutter as anything you do not use or love; things that are untidy or disorganized; too many things in too small a space; anything unfinished. If you need to rent a storage bin to declutter, do it; but, first ask yourself if you really want to move this stuff with you.
Cleaning: Cleaning is a no cost project and it nets you the most money. A home that sparkles will sell faster especially when the real estate market is in decline. Check for pet odors and other offensive odors. Do not use room deodorizers to make these smells go away – use elbow grease. Many buyers are allergic to the room deodorizers and it is a subconscious turn-off to them.
Repairing: When was the last time you walked in your front door? Did the door knob fall off in your hand or did the key stick? What about the kitchen drawers? Do any of the faucets leak? These are all small and inexpensive repairs but they make such a big impression on buyers. Take a tour of the interior and exterior and start a list of the “little” things – they count.
Refreshing: Focus on revitalizing your curb appeal by adding new mulch, trimming the trees and bushes, painting the front door. A coat of paint over a dingy soiled or strong color can change a “so-so” room into a room that “pops”. And what about the hardware on your kitchen cabinets? New towels for the bathrooms?

Concentrate on the tips from the professionals when you are preparing your home for sale. Make sure you are not spending a lot of money that will only net you a small return on your dollars.

An old blog I wrote on minor bathroom projects
Karen Kingston’s blog on decluttering 
On-line curb appeal
Curb appeal

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