Recipe for Preparing YOUR Home for Sale!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Recipe for preparing YOUR home for sale!

I recently gave a seminar on "Preparing the home for sale". There are plenty of 1st buyer seminars out there - but there seemed to be a void when it comes to educating sellers (1st time sellers, in particular) - Here are some excerpts from that seminar...

Today’s Buyer:

Today’s buyer is savvy and well informed. They are looking for a turn-key home – not a fixer-upper.

Homeowners face a difficult challenge in selling their home in today’s market. The home must stand out – it must be memorable!
Sellers can only control how the home is priced and how it looks. Sellers cannot control the market, competition or interest rates.

The second most important incentive sellers can offer, after an appropriate price, is presenting a home that can compete with a model home. The biggest mistake that sellers make is that they will give up $50,000 to $100,000 in price rather that spend $20,000 to put in a new bath or a new kitchen with granite counters. Buyers don’t have the time, money or imagination to do these upgrades, so they prefer a home that’s already upgraded. When it comes to upgrades, Buyers then to think in thousands, seller tend to think in hundreds.

According to Remodeling Magazine, when you consider its value at resale, a home improvement project typically costs only 20 to 25 cents on the dollar.

Curb Appeal: Your home’s first impressions begin even before the front door. Your home must have appeal from the street. If it doesn’t appear welcoming on the outside, buyers will either keep on driving or form negative opinions before they come in the front door.

Stand across the street, then look at the property from each corner – is the landscaping overgrown? “If you can’t see it, you can’t sell it!” Add color to beds and plants of varying heights. Add fresh mulch or ground cover. Remove any dead plants and cut back all shrubs to window height. Clean all debris and moss from roofs and gutters.

Look at the condition of the lawn. Does the mailbox need replacing? What about the shutters and the window screens? And just how welcoming is your welcome mat? Does it say “Go Away” or “Attack Cat on Duty”? Then you might consider replacing that.
When choosing a door mat – the wider the better. This gives the impression of a wider entry way.

Upgrades that provide Return On Investment:

Buyers look for and appreciate updated kitchens and baths. These are the remodels you stand to gain the largest payback on! Spend your money on the rooms that have running water as a general rule. A buyer is likely to subtract literally hundreds of dollars if they see a dated bathroom vanity with 70’s faux marble top and chipped sink. A small, new furniture-style one piece vanity popular with buyers can be purchased at any home improvement store for about $100.00. Such an update provides value.

For bathrooms, inspect all tile, grout and hardware. Clean or repair grout. Use vinegar to remove soap residue from shower heads and shower doors. Look at the floor ~ tile in a neutral stone look can be a very cost effective update.

Brushed nickel is still the finish of choice – just updating simple knobs and towel bars can give a bath a fresh look. Go with a spa-like motif and invest in neutral towels, shower curtains and accessories ~ you can always take them to your new home. Keep bath products to an absolute minimum. Clutter undermines all your hard work!

Everyone knows a kitchen can sell a house! While it’s true that stainless appliances and solid surface counters such as granite are the #1 choice of buyers, your budget may not permit. Laminate counters with a solid surface "look" can give an updated feel if you cannot afford granite.

If you can’t replace appliances; ensure they are squeaky clean and in proper working order. Wash cabinets to remove any grease build up and consider replacing hardware. Backsplashes and under cabinet lighting add additional value to a kitchen. Tile backsplashes are inexpensive and can be installed by any do-it-yourselfer.
Remove “stuff” from counters, above cabinets and top of fridge – it shouts “Hey, this kitchen has no storage!”.

Remember, glass front cabinets and hutches are for display – not storage. Use them accordingly. Take all magnets, artwork off the fridge.
Lastly – look at the flooring.

The New Neutrals of Paint Colors:

Paint is THE most cost-effective investment you can make! The new neutrals add warmth and definition to a space. It can define a focal point such as a fireplace or view.
It can make your home stand out from the rest in your neighborhood.
These new neutrals are derived from colors in nature – think sand, mushroom, wheat!
Tans, honeys, and sages sell!

“The way you live in your home and the way we sell your house are two different things.”
Staging is a concept developed 30 years ago by Barb Schwarz. Although the process has been around for some time, it’s just now gaining popularity in our area. Staging uses proven guidelines and techniques to prepare a home for sale.
When I do a Staging consultation – it is a detailed process of going thru each room, taking notes and pictures, looking at the ceilings, the walls, doorways, flooring, furniture and its placement and accessories. I come back with about a 20 page plan made specifically for that house.

In every room, stand in the doorway and look thru the eyes of a buyer. What do you really see – pack everything you can live without while your home is on the market. This includes any family photos, collections of any kind, guns, swords, hunting trophies and religious and political items. The buyer needs to “picture” himself living there, with his things.

Dining Room Before Staging:

Dining Room After Staging:

Your closets and cupboards should be pared down to half of their current contents. I suggest that all the hangers in the closet be the same.

Truth is, buyers lack imagination. “They only know what they See, not the way it’s going to Be!” That is why each room must have a defined purpose, must be clutter-free, Q-Tip clean and rid of excess furniture and personal items. This includes the kitchen counters, laundry space and all bathrooms. Buyers want to purchase square footage – not your stuff.

Show off all the space in your place!

Have you ever had your home Staged for selling? Are you a D.I.Y'r and can tackle some updates yourself?
Thinking about a NEW beginning - give a call to Selling Homes by Design to get the process started with professional Staging and Realty services! 703-679-1712


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