Monday, September 17, 2007

Tips for Selling Your Home

Even in today's tough market, you can improve your odds and sell your home in a reasonable amount of time while getting the price you want. Here are some important things you should do to make your home attractive to buyers and leave less room for them to negotiate down your asking price:

Remove Clutter so people see your house, not your stuff: Floors should be clear of boxes, trash, and clutter. Remove everything from the floors except necessary furniture. It also helps if the furniture in each room is in good shape and matches the room. Your potential buyer will see how accommodating each room can be if the furniture fits. Put away family photos and collectibles. Keep surfaces clear, dining table, end tables, counter-tops and floors, giving your home a more spacious look. Clean out closets so that they are only about half-full, so that there is room for more storage. Do the same with cabinets, the pantry and even inside the refrigerator. Also, give the garage and basement a good cleaning. This is very important to do, even if you need to rent storage space to accomplish this.

Do a thorough cleaning: Now that you've handled the clutter, it's time to make things sparkle and shine! Clean windows, mirrors, walls, floors & counters, ceiling fans and light fixtures. Shampoo carpets, wipe down appliances and remove magnets and notes cluttering up the refrigerator door. Be sure to clean under sinks and empty trash cans. If possible, the kitchen trash should be out of site; put it under the sink or somewhere that it isn't obvious. Remove personal items from sight in bedrooms, like photos and reading material.

Repairs & Maintenance: Take care of obvious things to give the appearance of a well cared for home. Replace drawer pulls and cabinet handles, repair leaky faucets, creaky doors, cracked windows, holes in walls and anything else that stands out. Be sure the furnace filter is clean and everything appears to have been well-maintained, not hastily cleaned up. Fresh paint gives a new and clean appearance. Use neutral colors, be sure all windows are dressed with curtains or nice blinds and update light fixtures and wall paper.

Smells and Odors: You want the home to be odor free when you're showing it. Avoid cooking things that leave behind strong odors, keep litter boxes and bird cages clean, smoke outside. Remember, you live in the home, so you are used to it, but, someone walking in off the street may be overwhelmed with strong odors. Avoid using strong, perfumy air-fresheners; buyers will wonder if you're hiding an underlying problem.

Now, let's go outside: The outside appearance is where your buyer will get his first impression, so this is very important. Lawn should be well maintained, including mowing, edging, weed control and watering. Trim trees and hedges, weed the flower beds and remove dead plants and trees. Repair cracks in the driveway, sidewalks and porches. Power wash siding, clean and seal the deck, clean and repair gutters and downspouts.

Your house should look like it's been loved and cared for; like you've enjoyed living in it. You don't want it to look like a mountain of problems that you're trying desperately to unload on someone else.

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