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James Long: Preparing your house to go on the market

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Local realtor James Long shares his column this week on preparing your house to go on the market.

James LongDress Your House for Success
When your ready to put your home on the market you want to sell your house for the best price in the least amount of time.  In order to do this you will want to take a step back from your home and put on your “buyer glasses”.  Doing this can  help you prepare your home to sell it more quickly.  In fact one way to look at your home is go around your house and snap pictures of your home, and ask yourself if those are pictures that would entice you to want to see a house.  In fact get a checklist from your real estate professional of things that may help your home present itself better.  A Realtor can also help inform you of what buyers in the market are looking for in a home.  This doesn’t have to be an expensive process, just a diligent one.
Where to start
Start from the outside and work your way in.  First impressions are very important, and curb appeal will give a buyer a level of excitement as they walk into your home.  Your home doesn’t have to have to most expensive landscape but it should be manicured.  The lawn should be mowed, the flower beds should be weeded.  Dead plants and shrubs should be removed.  The front porch should be swept and clean.  By doing this it gives people a comfort level that the house is being maintained.  By not doing these simple things people start to question, what may be wrong that they aren’t seeing.
Once you’re inside, again CLEAN.  People like a clean and clutter free home, it allows them to see the house for the space it provides.  Buyers are there to see your house, not all your personal belongings.  Make sure your home is odor free, if you smoke or have pets, you will want to ensure you keep your house swept of pet hair, litter and pet food stations cleaned, and use air purifiers or deodorizer.  One thing you might consider is using an ozone generator, just be sure you follow the instructions on how to best use one safely.
Look around your home for necessary repairs inside and out and make them.  When it comes to repairs consider hiring a professional, one you will know it is done right, two if not done right it may come out in an inspection, and three it can save you time and money. Most buyers like to find homes they feel are move in ready.  By making these repairs before your home goes on the market helps give buyers that feeling.  In addition it will help inspections go more smoothly.
We all like to personalize our home and make it our own, but when you decide to sell your home you’re wanting someone else to make your house their home.  The best way to do that is neutralize your home.  If you have wild or what you may call “custom” paint colors it might be in your best interest to tone it down to a neutral color.  If you have any distracting art, decor or yard ornaments it may be in your best interest to pack those away, again so buyers are able to focus on the house itself.
Leave an impression
The best place to do this is where the buyers first come and last leave and that is the front porch and foyer.  Give your front door a lift, a fresh coat of paint is a great way to do this.  Live plants are always a nice touch, as well as a new throw rug and a new door mat will help freshen up a space.
Again, make sure you have a checklist so that you are sure not to miss anything.  In fact you can contact our office and we can supply you a “Before You List” checklist.  And remember, you need to think like a buyer and have a critical eye.
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