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Prepare Your House for a Successful Sale
Whether you list with an agent or sell on your own, you can ensure a quick sale by proactively preparing your house to be a highly marketable and attractive commodity.
Don't wait for the sold sign to get started with packing. Packing away items that are used infrequently has multiple benefits:
It's a head start for you when you do have the house sold; It removes the clutter that might impact negatively on prospective buyers; and It creates a more spacious atmosphere making rooms appear larger.
Be the Buyer
To determine what improvements should be tackled first, view your house as though you were the buyer. If you have a difficult time with objectivity, ask a friend, neighbour or relative to help.
Begin with driving or walking on your street. Does your house stand out as less attractive than those around it? Does your landscaping match up? If not:
Make sure your lawn is well trimmed and free of any bald or brown spots. Plant mature bushes and flowers to add volume and colour. Avoid any plants or trees that will take time to mature. You are going for immediate appeal, over long-term results. Clear away any lawn furniture that mainly provided function over aesthetic appeal (i.e. resin chairs). Clear away the kids bikes and toys from the lawn and driveway. The path from your curb to the door should be unobstructed and clean. Rent a power washer and clean the walkway, if needed. Tighten any loose banisters or steps that lead to your door. If you have personalized items on the door and mailbox remove them. Add a clean mat at the door (this is a purchase that can be taken with you when you move). If your doorknob, street number, mailbox, or light fixtures are dull or rusty, polish or replace them. Clean Doors and windows at the front entrance.
Avoid sprays that cover up odor. Although it is better than an initial unpleasant scent, Buyers will pick up on it and feel tricked. Instead, try 'lightly' scented candles, potpourri, or a pot on the stove with vanilla and water. If you are very ambitious, bake a pie.
Remove odor at the source:
Smoke - For those who have smokers in the family, it would be wise to restrict smoking to outdoors until the house sells. Purchase an ozone spray which eliminates odor rather than covering it up
Pets - Clean kitty litter daily and add baking soda. Keep dogs outdoors as much as possible and make use of carpet freshener on a frequent basis.
Cooking - Use the overhead exhaust while cooking and clean up immediately after you are finished. Lingering food odors are not noticeable while you are in the house but are very apparent when stepping in from outdoors.
The most expensive renovations are the kitchen and bathroom. If these rooms are not appealing to a Buyer, it might be very difficult to sell your property's other assets.
Kitchen and Bathroom
The most lived in room tends to be the most cluttered. If the room appears small, remove extra furniture and all clutter items such as papers, remotes, videos, etc.
If you have a lot of personalized items, such as family portraits, trophy's, collectibles, pack them away. Personalized items tend to alienate potential buyers.
© February, 2004 - XstreamRealty Incorporated
Amie Walton is the president and founder of Xstream Realty Incorporated, a Virtual Agent online real estate service. She has retained her ASP designation in Home Staging and is managing both XstreamRealty.com and XstreamStaging.com as a complementary businesses for assisting homeowners to sell their homes quickly and profitably.
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