Last week, I discussed the most effective way to find and work with a top realtor when selling your home. An experienced realtor really can make selling your home easier and help you get your highest price. Today, I’m focusing on some simple and inexpensive things you can do to help your home show better and get you a higher price.
· Build ‘curb’ appeal. Curb appeal refers to that critical first impression a potential buyer gets when he or she first drives by your home. It’s the view of your home from the street and it sets the tone for the entire showing. In fact, if your home has no curb appeal, many prospects will simply move on to the next house for sale. Many people are not able to visualize your ‘diamond in the rough’ so it is your job to ‘polish’ it. Start by standing in the street or in your driveway and taking a realistic assessment of your curb appeal. You may want to get a friend to do this with you or your realtor if you have chosen one. Your lawn and landscaping should look healthy, lush, well pruned, and appropriately ‘frame’ your home. Make sure there is no peeling paint on your home and that your house paint appears fresh. Sometimes this means you can simply wash your home and in other cases you may need to do some painting. Make sure to repair any rotting wood. You want everything to look fresh and trim. Everyone notices your front door. Made sure it is freshly painted. If you have window boxes, put fresh plantings or flowers in them. The American flag always adds a nice touch of color.
· Make the inside of your home a showplace. You’ve created a great first impression by sprucing up the outside of your home. Now you want to confirm that impression on the inside of your home. Start with fresh flowers in your entranceway and continue with fresh flowers and live fresh plants throughout your home. Plants and flowers give a home a warm feeling. Clean your carpets or replace carpets where they can no longer be cleaned. Wax your floors. I have a friend who loves the colors lavender and purple and many of the rooms in her home are painted with these colors. Prospective buyers prefer neutral colors. If your taste for color runs a bit on the wild side, considered repainting the room. Recognize that most prospective buyers have trouble visualizing the way things could be.
· Eliminate the clutter. Nothing is more distracting from your home than clutter. Start with the outside of your home. A magnet for clutter is typically the garage. Now move inside and do the same thing. Don’t assume that prospective buyers and selling agents will not look in your closets. They will. Cluttered closets, attics, cabinets, and rooms make your home seem small. Clean them up and get rid of items you no longer need. Better yet, have a garage sale. The money you make on the garage sale can be used to help pay for needed repairs. My rule of thumb is that if you haven’t worn it or used it in the past two years, you don’t need it. Neat, organized clothes closets are a big selling point.
· If it’s broken, repair it. You should perform your own ‘home inspection’ to identify any items that need repair. Your goal is to have everything in perfect working order. Even minor repairs left undone can cost you a sale. Most buyers require, and pay for, a home inspection before closing on a home. Typically, the seller must repair any problems identified during the inspection. If you are going to have to repair any problems anyway, you are better off doing them before you put your home on the market.
· Buy a home warranty. There are companies that, for a small fee, will agree to fix any problems the purchaser has with your home during the first year after purchase. The typical costs of a home warranty is less than $500 and is a great selling tool in that it gives the buyer confidence that any problems that ‘show up’ after purchase will be handled.
These suggestions will cost you time, effort, and a few bucks but should allow you to get top dollar for your home.
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