Selling Real Estate for Top Dollar
Getting the highest possible price is the goal we set for ourselves with every listing we take. We pride ourselves on having the highest comparable sold prices in a large number of neighborhoods. This is usually the result of terrific teamwork between the agent and the seller. Our job is to advertise your property to the largest possible market (getting the buyer into the home), and your mission is to show the property at its best (making the buyer want to buy it). Remember, the better you can make your home look, the faster it will sell.
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Tips to Sell a Home
First impressions are critical. We can spend thousands of dollars in advertising, but if the buyer's initial reaction to the home is negative we're back to square one. We will personally go through your home with you to determine the most effective ways of presenting it, but in the meantime these are some tips that can yield big results.
To start, pretend you are the buyer. Go outside and sit in your car. Then get out and come up the front walk slowly. Really look at your home. Have a paper and pen handy. Make a list of all the things you would want fixed if you were buying the home right now. Chances are these are the same items your buyer will want you to fix.
This is the buyers first glimpse of your home and it had better be a good one! Keep lawn and bushes mowed and well-manicured. Plant flowers in the front yard to add color and warmth. Touch up any peeling paint and wash down front doors or varnish if necessary. Check stucco around home for repairs needed, replace missing roof shingles or tiles. Wash all windows and keep walkways and driveways swept at all times. All garden tools, hoses, toys and clutter should be cleared away and yard furniture neatly arranged. Check to make sure the doorbell and outside lights are working properly. Park vehicles so they are not obstructing the front of the house. They should either be inside the garage or across the street.
Front Entry Hall
The impression the buyer takes from this area will stay him through the rest of your home. A sour smell or dark "feel" to the home in the front entry will make him think the whole house is that way, no matter how bright and sunny the rest of the home may be. Make sure you have a light pleasant odor to greet guests at the door, vanilla or cinnamon is usually the best. There are wonderful scented candles on the market today that can put a subtle "feel good" scent into the air at VERY low cost. Keep all the lights turned on and blinds or curtains open to create that sunny model home look. You may run up your utility bills a little, but the results are worth it.
This is often the most important room in the house. Start by eliminating "refrigerator art," any magnets, pictures or drawings on the refrigerator. Clear counters of all but the most basic appliances. Check faucets for leaks and re-grout or re-caulk tile as needed. Often kitchen cabinets show water damage from splashing, a coat a varnish can work wonders here.
Make them sparkle is our best advice here. Remove any mildew stains and re-grout and re-caulk tile as necessary. Hang bright fresh towels and remove any stains from sinks or toilets.
This applies to both closets and furniture placement. Furniture should never impede traffic flow from one area to the next. Rearranging and removing excess furniture can create a whole new mood. Closets should be cleaned out so that clothes hang freely. Piles of anything are bad, so box it up and store it while your home is being shown.
Carpets should be freshly cleaned and tile or wood floors polished before showing. If carpets are badly worn in traffic areas or are heavily stained or if there is a strong pet or smoke odor it may be advisable to consider replacing them prior to showing. Sometimes a "carpet allowance" in the listing will compensate in this area, but most buyers see only what is there rather than what can be done. Again we will be glad to advise you based on our experience for your particular situation, and we do have access to flooring contractors who offer substantial discounts to our clients!
One of the least expensive and most effective forms of upgrading your home is a fresh coat of paint. Sometimes just a touch-up will do, again we will be glad to go through your home room by room with helpful suggestions.
Nothing makes more of a good impression than a light cheery home. Always make sure all the lights are turned on and the blinds and curtains are open. Model homes use high wattage light bulbs - if you have any particularly "dark" rooms try using a higher wattage to lighten them up. Avoid leaving bedroom or bathroom doors closed, it makes the house feel boxy and un-welcoming. Soft music playing in the background is always a winner too.
As much as we love animals we suggest you try to keep them out of the way of prospective buyers. Some people are quite allergic to different types of animals and others are genuinely frightened of even the most friendly small dog.
When the buyer comes to your door be friendly and welcoming and then disappear! No matter how well you know your home a good real estate agent can usually show it effectively. But your presence may keep a buyer from feeling comfortable enough to really check it out as much as they would if you weren't there. And statistics show that the longer a buyer stays in a home the more likely he is to buy it! So a showing is a great time to take the dog for a walk or run that small errand to the grocery store. If for some reason you must remain home try and go out in the backyard so that the buyer can have some privacy indoors.
No matter what your home looks like or what its shortcomings may be, always act as if it is the greatest place to live in the world! A laughing happy seller is contagious. Your positive attitude will inspire a positive attitude in the buyer.
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