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Getting Your Home Ready to be Seen by Buyers
You Never Get a Second Chance to Make a Good First Impression
Let's address the Outside First - You want great "curb appeal"
Next let´s look at the Garage - remember when you used to park cars? Buyers still think that is what they are used for - imagine that.
Now we turn our attention to the Inside of your home - This is where I encountered most objections. Don't disappoint me now.
First we are going to remove the clutter - it all holds special memories and they will be out later, but we don't want to keep the buyer from seeing the value in your home. You have a great family, but the buyer thinks of them as just strangers. Remember you will be able to put them all out in your NEW HOME. The home you are living in now really belongs to the new buyer we´re going to find very soon. Pack it up and put it out of sight. This includes removing:
Clutter on the kitchen counters and above the kitchen cabinets in that nice display area.
Clutter on the tables, in the magazine racks, in and on the entertainment center.
Lots of Photos and memorabilia on the walls: You have to depersonalize your home so buyers can envision themselves in your home and won't be distracted Buyers from seeing the great features of your home. Are there lots of family photos in picture frames around the room and on the walls? It is time to remove them& and put them away until you are in your new home. Fill the holes and paint touch up.
Clutter on dressers, night stands, bathroom counters, bathtubs, shower stalls, toilets. It all has Got to Go!
Closets - need I say more? Are you moving because YOU want more closet space? Hmm? Guess what - so do all the other home buyers out there and we're going to fool them. You are going to remove at least 40% of the stuff in the closets. I bet this is where you are storing all the clutter I had you removed in the previous steps here. Am I right? It won't work. I want your buyers to think the closets are huge because your closets don't look JAMMED with stuff like theirs is. Am I making sense? Let them move in and find out what you know. Maybe they will read this and ask me to sell their home so they can get more closet space, too.
Collectors have to pack up and store their collectibles in a safe place. Children could easily break a valuable piece or be attracted to it and walk off with it. "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure". All valuables have to be out of sight. If they are very valuable, you may want to have them insured on a special insurance rider, too. This includes medicines, guns, money, etc.
Personal memorabilia such as Disney character, Star Wars and Pin up posters were cute and colorful then, but they won't do now. Remove them. You decide if they should be saved or thrown out, but take it away.
How about the squeaky doors, sticky windows or the sliding (?) patio door only Arnold Schwarzenegger can open without hurting themselves. Or the beast of all beasts - the grinding, screeching automatic garage door. There are many lubricants on the shelves at Lowe's and Home Depot. Silicon spray or bees wax or WD-40 are some more popular ones. Quiet that house. Now we are almost there.
Do you have to wind your way through your home like a professional fullback on the field of battle at the Super Bowl just to maneuver through your rooms? If you can honestly say yes, it is time to remove or rearrange some furniture and increase the usable space in that cramped little room. Oops, we already had our garage sale. Hmm. Looks like we need a second try at selling the other stuff you could not sell the last time. Maybe this time the right buyer who appreciates classics will come. Kids moving into a dorm or their first apartment may even thank you for your generosity. Maybe you can bribe them to help you with the second to the last step.
Fill holes, Paint and Touch up? You were hoping I had forgotten, didn´t you?
Sometimes, all you need to do is paint touch up. Don't go running to the garage to find that can of paint you have been saving for years. The paint won't match now. Go into a corner of the room that gets little sun light and carefully remove a section of paint and the drywall paper about the size of a quarter. Now go to an area of the room that gets a lot of sun and get a paint sample there, too. Take it to your favorite hardware or paint store and let the computer do a paint color match. One for dark area touch up and the other for sunny area touch up. If your paint is old, dirty, dingy, a canvas for an aspiring Picasso, more drastic measures are required. In this case, get enough paint, brushes and rollers for everyone to help paint the entire room.
Okay, we´re down to the last and probably the most important step - The Carpets!
How about those carpets? Are you the last person with orange shag or mauve or the ugly carpet winner of 2006? Clean, neutral carpet sells homes. If your carpet is UNIQUE, buyers will pass on your home. Don't waste you time cleaning unattractive carpet. Replace it. There are a number of carpet stores who specialize in preparing homes for sale and will work with you on payment. Some may defer payment until close of escrow (within reason, now).
We're done! Look around. If you are saying, "Now I can remember why I bought this home - it is a nice home and really looks great."
We're now ready to put your home on the market and make a very lucky buyer very happy.