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Getting Your Home Ready for Sale in a Tough Market

You, the Seller, have work to do.

Competition, in the spring real estate market: You don’t get a second chance to make a first impression. 

If you’re thinking of selling your home, you need to get it “Buyer-Ready.” First find a Real Estate Agent who will work hard for you; ask how they will market your home. Make sure they aren’t too busy to hold Open Houses. Ask if they market online and if they call other real estate agencies to announce that your home is on the market and make sure the pictures they take are good ones and show off your home in its best light.

You, the Seller, have work to do. It isn’t as easy as a signed contract with a real estate agent, you need to make your home “Buyer-Ready.” As soon as you sign the contract you need to know your house is going to be sold and it will no longer be yours. “The way you live is not the way you sell.” Over 90% of Buyers look online first, before ever contacting an agent. The pictures your agent takes are paramount. It is the first glimpse into your home that buyers see on the internet. With the glut of homes currently on the market, many are short sales or bank owned. This doesn’t necessarily mean they are in disrepair, so you need to stand out. Buyers now are savvy. 

Here is a list of some tips to get your house sold

Declutter and Create Space! It isn’t tough. If space is an issue, you must rent a storage unit. Box your “stuff” and haul it over. Before you know it your stuff will be back in your new home. Extra kitchen gadgets and appliances should be removed from your cabinets and counters. [STUFF distracts buyers.] Surfaces should be as empty as possible and clean, so the buyer can envision their stuff in your home. Remove everything that is hanging on your refrigerator.  If you have too many pieces of furniture, remove some to your storage unit.

Depersonalize: Another buyer distraction. It is human nature to look around ones surroundings. When a buyer enters a home with family pictures in frames and hanging on the walls, it is the first thing they look at. This immediately sends their minds elsewhere and they do not focus on the possibility of living in your home. You must remove your wedding pictures and family portraits, and those memories of family vacations and births. Take them all off and put them in storage. Repair your walls, and hopefully, as all home owners should know to, you have paint saved and can easily repair the nail holes. Repairing nail holes are easy. If you used nails, a simple dot of paint with a child's tiny paint brush will do the trick. If you used plugs or butterflies you will need to spackle first. Then, hang one nice large, nondescript wall hanging. 

Polish: If you haven’t painted your interior in a long time, consider it. It freshens up a home and adding color will modernize.  If nothing else, if your front door needs paint, paint it — it adds a lot to curb appeal and is the first impression your home gives. Keep your home clean. Some folks are hyper-sensitive to smell. Use plug-in scents throughout your home. Bath & Body Works makes them and they aren’t too expensive and worth every penny. Add decorative NEW towels to your bathrooms; tie them with silk/grosgrain ribbon — use them only when you have a showing. Leaky faucets, cracked windows, misaligned gutters, burned-out light bulbs — repair these. Clean dirty carpets, and no laundry in the washer/dryer. Open drapes, and leave lights on when you have a showing.

Curb Appeal: Look at your outside. Do you need to touch it up with some paint or powerwash it? Make it sparkle. Add hanging baskets or small planters on a stair entry if you have one, adding colorful flowers. It is worth the effort. Do not leave toys outside.  A "welcome" sign on your door or near your entry makes a huge statement. Most important is to NOT be home when you have a showing appointment. Many sellers want to be home, but this too distracts a potential buyer. [They feel like they cannot openly comment on possible dislikes about the home, making it even tougher for the agent to give them ideas for correction.]

I sold my home for top dollar in a buyer market and you can too. If you need a Referral to a local Realtor, please don’t hesitate in asking me. I have a local network of excellent real estate agents ready to work hard for you and sell your home.

Stacey K. @CruiseDivaNJ

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

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