A prepared seller has a clear
20 Ways to prepare your home
With a little effort on your part, your home can be sold more quickly and at a better
price. The following tips have proved invaluable to owners and are worth your special attention:
- First impressions are lasting! The front door greets the prospect. Make sure it is
fresh, clean, and paint the trim.
- Keep lawn trimmed and edged, and the yard free of refuse. Reseed the lawn
and fertilize if necessary, weed the gardens, and add mulch. Deep green grass
makes a lasting impression. In winter, be sure snow and ice is removed from
walks and steps.
- Decorate for a quick sale. Faded walls and worn woodwork reduce appeal. Why try to tell the prospect how your home could look, when you can show him by redecorating? A quicker sale at a higher price will result. An investment in neutral new kitchen wallpaper will pay dividends.
- Let the sun shine in. Open draperies and curtains and let the prospect see how cheerful your home can be. (Dark rooms do not appeal)
- Do the windows and window screens work well and look good? Have the windows spotless.
- Are the appliances operating properly and sparkling?
- Fix the faucet! Dripping water discolors sinks and suggests faulty plumbing.
- Repairs can make a big difference. Loose knobs, sticking doors and windows, warped cabinet drawers and other minor flaws detract from home value. Have them fixed.
- From top to bottom. Display the full value of your attic, basement and other utility space by removing all unnecessary articles. Brighten dark, dull basements by painting walls and adding brighter light bulbs.
- Safety first. Keep stairways clear. Avoid cluttered appearances and possible injuries.
- Pack excess linens and clothing to make closets look bigger. Neat, well-ordered closets show the space is ample.
- Bathrooms help sell homes. Check and repair grout in bathtubs and showers. Make this room sparkle. Don’t let the Handy Man add gobs of caulking when grout is what you need.
- Arrange bedrooms neatly. Remove excess furniture. Use attractive bedspreads and fresh looking window coverings.
- Have I removed or mentioned to Dan any attached items that are not included, such as special chandeliers, shelving or garden plants?
- Am I familiar with similar homes on the market that I may be competing against?
- Have I asked Dan for a list of ways I can improve the marketability of my home without wasting time and money?
- Can you see the light? Illumination is like a welcome sign. The potential buyer will feel a glowing evening when you turn on all your lights for an evening inspection.
- Am I ready to disclose any structural defects such as roof, foundation or wiring problems?
- Have I started looking for my new home? Do I know what I want in another home?
- What do I need to do to prepare for my upcoming move?
Showing your home
- Whenever possible leave your house for showings, if not, follow the tips below.
- Three’s a crowd. Avoid having too many people present during showings. The potential buyer will feel like an intruder and will hurry through the house.
- Music is mellow. But not when showing a house. Turn off the blaring radio or television. Let the your agent and buyer talk, free of disturbances.
- Pets underfoot? Keep them out of the way–preferably out of the house.
- Silence is golden. Be courteous but don’t force conversation with the potential buyer. He wants to inspect your house–not to pay a social call
- Be it ever so humble. Never apologize for the appearance of your home. After all, it has been lived in. Let the trained agent answer any objections. This is his/her job.
- Remain in the background. The agent knows the buyer’s requirements and can better emphasize the features of your home when you don’t tag along. You will be called if needed. Allow the buyers to take “psychological possession.”
- Why put the cart before the horse? Trying to dispose of furniture and furnishings to the potential buyer before he has purchased the house often loses a sale.
- A word to the wise. Let Dan discuss price, terms, possession and other factors with the customer. I am eminently qualified to bring negotiations to a favorable conclusion.
- Use Dan. I ask that you show your home to prospective customers only by appointment through my office. Your cooperation will be appreciated and will help us close the sale more quickly.
10 must dos – to Make Your Home More Salable
- Get rid of clutter. Throw out or file stacks of newspapers and magazines. Pack away most of your small decorative items. Store out-of-season clothing to make closets seem roomier. Clean out the garage.
- Wash your windows and screens to let more light into the interior.
- Keep everything extra clean. Wash fingerprints from light switch plates. Mop and wax floors. Clean the stove and refrigerator. A clean house makes a better first impression and convinces buyers that the home has been well cared for.
- Get rid of smells. Clean carpeting and drapes to eliminate cooking odors, smoke, and pet smells. Open the windows.
- Put higher wattage bulbs in light sockets to make rooms seem brighter, especially basements and other dark rooms. Replace any burnt-out bulbs.
- Make minor repairs that can create a bad impression. Small problems, such as sticky doors, torn screens, cracked caulking, or a dripping faucet, may seem trivial, but they’ll give buyers the impression that the house isn’t well maintained.
- Tidy your yard. Cut the grass, rake the leaves, trim the bushes, and edge the walks. Put a pot or two of bright flowers near the entryway.
- Patch holes in your driveway and reapply sealant, if applicable.
- Clean your gutters.
- Polish your front doorknob and door numbers.
5 Ways to Speed up Your Sale
- Price it right. Set a price at the lower end of your property’s realistic price range.
- Get your house market-ready for at least two weeks before you begin showing it.
- Be flexible about showings. It’s often disruptive to have a house ready to show on the spur of the moment, but the more often someone can see your home, the sooner you’ll find a seller.
- Be ready for the offers. Decide in advance what price and terms you’ll find acceptable.
- Don’t refuse to drop the price. If your home has been on the market for more than 30 days without an offer, be prepared to lower your asking price.
7 Essentials for a successful open house
- Hire a cleaning service. A spotlessly clean home is essential; dirt will turn off a prospect faster than anything.
- Mow your lawn, and be sure toys and yard equipment are put away.
- Serve cookies, coffee, and soft drinks. It creates a welcoming touch. But be sure the kitchen has been cleaned up; use disposable cups so the sink doesn’t fill up.
- Lock up your valuables, jewelry, and money. Although the real estate salesperson will be on site during the open house, it’s impossible to watch everyone all the time.
- Turn on all the lights. Even in the daytime, incandescent lights add sparkle.
- Send your pets to a neighbor or take them outside. If that’s not possible, crate them or confine them to one room (a basement or bath), and let the salesperson know where to find them.
- Leave. It’s awkward for prospective buyers to look in your closets and express their opinions of your home with you there.
Make your home irresistible
- Put fresh or silk flowers in principal rooms for a touch of color.
- Add a new shower curtain, fresh towels, and new guest soaps to every bath.
- Set out potpourri or fresh baked goods for a homey smell.
- Set the table with pretty dishes and candles.
- Buy a fresh doormat with a clever saying.
- Take one or two major pieces of furniture out of every room to create a sense of spaciousness.
- Put away kitchen appliances and personal bathroom items to give the illusion of more counter space.
- Lay a fire in the fireplace. Or put a basket of flowers there if it’s not in use.
- Depersonalize the rooms by putting away family photos, mementos, and distinctive artwork.
- Turn on the sprinklers for 30 minutes to make the lawn sparkle.
7 Terms to Watch for in a Purchase Contract
- The closing date. See if the date the buyer wants to take title is reasonable for you.
- Date of possession. See if the date the buyer wants to move in is reasonable for you.
- The earnest money. Look for the largest earnest-money deposit possible; since it is forfeited if the buyer backs out, a large deposit is usually a good indication of a sincere buyer.
- Fixtures and personal property. Check the list of items that the buyer expects to remain with the property and be sure it’s acceptable.
- Repairs. Determine what the requested repairs will cost and whether you’re willing to do the work or would rather lower the price by that amount.
- Contingencies. See what other factors the buyer wants met before the contract is final—inspections, selling a home, obtaining a mortgage, review of the contract by an attorney. Set time limits on contingencies so that they won’t drag on and keep your sale from becoming final.
- The contract expiration date. See how long you have to make a decision on the offer.
Moving Tips for Sellers
- Give your forwarding address to the post office, usually two to four weeks ahead of the move.
- Notify your credit card companies, magazine subscriptions, and bank of the change of address.
- Develop a list of friends, relatives, and business colleagues who need to be notified of the move.
- Arrange to have utilities disconnected at your old home and connected at your new one.
- Cancel the newspaper.
- Check insurance coverage for moved items. Usually movers only cover what they pack.
- Clean out appliances and prepare them for moving, if applicable.
- Note the weight of the goods you’ll have moved, since long-distance moves are usually billed according to weight. Watch for movers that use excessive padding to add weight.
- Check with your condo or co-op about restrictions on using the elevator or particular exits.
- Have a first open box with the things you’ll need most—toilet paper, soap, trash bags, scissors, hammer, screwdriver, pencils and paper, cups and plates, water, snacks, and toothpaste.
- Recommend Dan to your friends and family.
6 Items to Have on Hand for the New Owners
- Owner’s manuals for items left in the house.
- Warranties for any items left in the house.
- A list of local service providers—the best dry cleaner, yard service, etc.
- Garage door opener.
- Extra sets of house keys.
- Code to burglar alarm and phone number of monitoring service if not discontinued.