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Selling Tips

Selling a Property

Getting the House Ready to Sell

Outside Your Property
There is a lot you can do to help your agent to achieve a quick sale at a good price.

Be realistic about the price you are likely to achieve.

Be flexible about viewing times. Make the job of preparing for viewings easy. Move some of your possessions into storage at this preparation stage.

Where there is a choice of properties, a purchaser may view and buy another property – you may never get a second chance. It is worthwhile investing this energy at this point as first impressions really do count.

Bear in mind that many prospective buyers will drive by and view a property from the road before deciding to ask the agent for an appointment to view. Make sure the appearance from the outside maximises the houses assets. Tidying up, replacing a doormat or adding potted plants at this point can make a big difference to first impressions.

Pick up any litter, cut the grass, trim the hedges, touch up paintwork, put out some planted tubs and keep them looking good.

Avoid leaving the curtains closed all day.

If the outside of your property is important, the inside is even more so. After location, space and light are the two most important aspects for home buyers.

Clear away the clutter, tidy up the toys, make the beds, wash and put away the dishes and the laundry. Keep cats and dogs out of the house for the duration.

A good tip is to pack as much as you can when you put your house on the market – you will have to do it soon anyway and you will be surprised how much stuff you can do without for a few weeks.

Try to get rid of any strong smells such as those from animals or cooking. The old clichés of putting on a pot of coffee or some bread in the oven may be past their best but some fresh flowers are a good idea, and make sure the windows are clean.

Keep work surfaces in the kitchen reasonably tidy and clear of clutter.

Make sure the house is warm but not stifling and if you have an open fireplace in the living room, light a fire.

It is probably not worthwhile redecorating unless it is badly needed or unless your colour scheme is very distinctive! Decor is unlikely to add anything to the value but you need to avoid decor which detracts from the value.

Disconnect Your Emotions
When conversing with real estate agents, you will often find that when they talk to you about buying real estate, they will refer to your purchase as a “home.” Yet if you are selling property, they will often refer to it as a “house.” There is a reason for this. Buying real estate is often an emotional decision, but when selling real estate you need to remove emotion from the equation. You need to think of your house as a marketable commodity. Property. Real estate. Your goal is to get others to see it as their potential home, not yours. If you do not consciously make this decision, you can inadvertently create a situation where it takes longer to sell your property.

The first step in getting your home ready to sell is to “de-personalize” it

Make Your House Anonymous
What you need the potential buyer to see is a wonderfully (but sparsely) furnished home that they can visualize themselves living in. Overprovision of family photos and personalised effects can detract from this process. The reason you want to make your home “anonymous” is because you want buyers to view it as their potential home. When a potential homebuyer sees your family photos hanging on the wall, it puts your own brand on the home and momentarily shatters their illusions about living in the house themselves.

Put away family photos, sports trophies, collectible items, knick-knacks, and souvenirs. Put them in a box. Rent a storage area for a few months or borrow a friends garage.

Do not just put the box in the attic, basement, garage or a closet. Part of preparing a house for sale is to remove “clutter,” and that is the next step in preparing your house for sale.

Uncluttering Your House
This is the hardest thing for most people to do because they are emotionally attached to everything in the house. After years of living in the same home, clutter collects in such a way that may not be evident to the homeowner. However, it does affect the way buyers see the home, even if you do not realize it. Clutter collects on shelves, counter tops, drawers, closets, garages, attics, and basements. You want as much open clear space as possible, so every extra little thing needs to be cleared away.

Take a step back and pretend you are a buyer. Let a friend help point out areas of clutter, as long as you can accept their views without getting defensive. Let your agent help you, too.

Kitchen Clutter
The kitchen is a good place to start removing clutter, because it is an easy place to start. First, get everything off the counters. Everything. Even the toaster. Put the toaster in a cabinet and take it out when you use it. Find a place where you can store everything in cabinets and drawers. Of course, you may notice that you do not have cabinet space to put everything. Clean them out. The dishes, pots and pans that rarely get used? Put them in a box and put that box in storage.

In the process of viewing, homebuyers will open all your cabinets and drawers, especially in the kitchen. They want to be sure there is enough room for their “stuff.” If your kitchen cabinets, pantries, and drawers look jammed full, it sends a negative message to the buyer and does not promote an image of plentiful storage space. The best way to do that is to have as much “empty space” as possible.

For that reason, if you have a “junk drawer,” get rid of the junk. If you have a rarely used crock pot, put it in storage. Do this with every cabinet and drawer. Create open space.

If you have a large amount of foodstuffs crammed into the shelves or pantry, begin using them – especially canned goods. Canned goods are heavy and you don’t want to be lugging them to a new house, anyway – or paying a mover to do so. Let what you have on the shelves determine your menus and use up as much as you can.

Beneath the sink is a very critical space. Make sure the area beneath the sink is as empty as possible, removing all extra cleaning supplies. You should scrub the area down as well, and determine if there are any tell-tale signs of water leaks that may cause a homebuyer to hesitate in buying your home.

Closet Clutter
Cupboards are great for accumulating clutter, though you may not think of it as clutter. We are talking about extra clothes and shoes you rarely wear but cannot bear to be without. Pack them in boxes to avoid that “cramped full look”.
Furniture Clutter
Many people have too much furniture in certain rooms – not too much for your own personal living needs – but too much to give the illusion of space that a homebuyer would like to see. You may want to tour some builders’ show houses to see how they place furniture in the model homes. Observe how they place furniture in the show house so you get some ideas on what to remove and what to leave in your house.
Storage Area Clutter
Basements, garages, attics, and sheds accumulate not only clutter, but junk. These areas should be as empty as possible so that buyers can imagine what they would do with the space. Remove anything that is not essential and take it to the storage area or dump.
Cost of Repairs
Do not do anything expensive, such as remodeling. If possible, use savings to pay for any repairs and improvements – it is important to avoid charging up credit cards or obtaining new loans. Remember that part of selling a house is also preparing to buy your next home. You do not want to do anything that will affect your credit scores or hurt your ability to qualify for your next mortgage.
Plumbing and Fixtures
When viewing a house, prospective home buyers often do not really know what to do. So they play with things. They flick light switches. They open everything with a handle. They turn on all the faucets and flush all the toilets. Having nice shiny fixtures makes an impression. All your sink fixtures should look shiny and new. If this cannot be accomplished by cleaning, buy new ones. If you don’t buy something fancy, this can be accomplished inexpensively. Make sure all the hot and cold water knobs are easy to turn and that the faucets do not leak. If they do, replace the washers. Check to make sure you have good water pressure and that there are no stains on any of the porcelain.

It sounds like hard work, but it’s pretty easy.

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