Tips for Making Your Home More Desirable Before You Sell

Once you’ve made the decision to sell your home there are a few things to consider before finding a realtor and putting that “For Sale” sign in the ground.

While the most important factor is to set your price for the right amount of money for the neighborhood you’re located in, the next step is setting the stage and making your home stand out to potential buyers.

Because first impressions count, especially in real estate, small changes and touches can make all the difference.

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Make a Good First Impression

Before potential buyers step foot inside, they’re going to be looking at the outside and making a mental note of its curb appeal. You want the most appealing look from the sidewalk to your front door.

  • Landscaping –Clean up both the front and backyard (if you have one) to make sure it looks spotless. Trim any bushes or shrubs so they are well manicured. If you have a deck, you might want to consider pressure washing for a clean look.
  • Dress up your front door – If your door is old and worn, touch it up with a fresh coat of paint as opposed to replacing the door completely. Consider hanging a wreath that shows some of your personal style.
  • Swap outdated fixtures – Take a look at your door knobs, house numbers, mailbox, and outdoor light fixtures to make sure they’re all in good condition.

Create a Welcoming Environment

Once a potential buyer steps inside you’re going to want them to feel like they’ve just walked into their new home. The goal here is for them to visualize themselves living in your property and with a few touches you’ll be able to pull it off. Don’t go overboard though, less is always more!

  • Plants and Flowers – Fresh or not, quality plants and flowers are attractive to the eye when scattered throughout the home. Choose ones with a fresh, clean scent, nothing too over powering. Décor magazines are a great source of inspiration to help in choosing and placing the best greenery.
  • Fresh coat of paint – By giving walls a once over you’re breathing new life back into those rooms. Experts recommend neutral colors (think grays and beiges) because they’re not distracting. Plus, they make the space appear lighter and brighter which can be a big plus for a room that does not receive a lot of natural light.
  • Clean Up – Before each showing it’s important to make sure your home, both inside and outside, is spotless. It’s a common mistake people make when selling.

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Eliminate Clutter

By decluttering, buyers are able to visualize much easier than in a home that’s filled with tons of stuff. You want to showcase the amount of potential space the new owners will have, not the other way around so take a look and see what you can let go of.

  • Closets – Empty by at least half (rent a storage unit if you have to); this will give the buyer an idea of how much storage they’ll have. On the flip side, it’s a good opportunity to go through what you don’t want; that way you won’t have to pack up and move items that you no longer have a use for.
  • Den/Office area – Any bills, mail, papers that you absolutely do not need get rid of and for the rest of the things you do need, find an out of sight spot where they won’t be seen.
  • Play area – Children’s toys shouldn’t be visible; plus it’s a good time to go through everything and donate the ones they no longer play with.

Let There Be Light

The bigger your home feels the more it will appeal to buyers. While you can’t do anything to increase the size, you can make sure it’s as bright as possible.

  • Open your curtains – This will bring in as much natural light as possible.
  • Darker rooms – For those spaces that do not receive as much natural light as others, invest in some light fixtures and strategically place them around to illuminate even the darkest of spots.

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Take Advantage of Space

Sticking with the theme of creating a space that appears larger, lightening is not the only way to achieve that feel.

  • Rearrange and remove furniture – Removing bulky pieces of furniture is another way to open up a room. Those larger pieces make a space feel smaller so if you can eliminate a few it will give off a more open feeling.

Remember, you don’t have to spend a ton amount of money when creating a warm and inviting space that perspective homeowners can envision themselves living in, you just need to make some improvements that will help showcase the beauty of your home.

To Buy or Rent….that is the question!

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It’s one of those major questions you’re bound to ask yourself at some point and probably the biggest decision from a financial standpoint you’re going to make. The answer though isn’t always a simple one, there are a variety of factors to take into consideration. Ultimately, your decision will be based on what makes the most financial as well as emotional sense for your particular situation.

There is a general belief that owning a home is the ultimate goal, the key to the “American Dream.” And while there are many great reasons to support this thinking, numerous pros and cons should be weighed before signing on the dotted line. And regardless of whether you’re a first time home buyer or a repeat purchaser, be sure to ask yourself a few important questions before contacting a real estate agent to get started.

Thinking about buying, consider the following…

Pros

  • Building equity over time which creates stability and security for your family

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  • Tax benefits – great news, now you can deduct many home-related expenses
  • Potential for rental income
  • More creative freedom – you won’t need to ask anyone’s permission (well maybe your spouse) before tackling a new project
  • Unlimited pets (if you want) – there isn’t a no pet policy when you own your own home

Cons:

  • Potential for financial loss
  • Responsible for all maintenance and repairs

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  • Higher upfront costs

Considering renting…

Pros

  • You’re not responsible for maintenance and repairs
  • No real estate taxes to pay
  • No large down payment
  • Credit requirements are less strict
  • Some utilities might be included in the rental agreement
  • Relocating is easier

Cons

  • No chance to earn equity on your property
  • No tax benefits
  • Limited housing security

Regardless of whether you buy or rent these costs you just can’t escape!

Buying

  • Down payment
  • Home appraisal fee
  • Home inspection fee
  • Property tax
  • 1st years homeowners insurance
  • Any additional closing cost fees

Recurring costs

  • Mortgage loan payments
  • Property taxes
  • Homeowners insurance
  • Utilities
  • Maintenance
  • Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) – if you put down less than 20% of the purchase price you’ll have this added monthly payment

Renting

  • Security Deposit
  • First month’s rent
  • Moving Costs

Recurring Costs:

  • Monthly rent
  • Renter’s insurance
  • Utilities (sometimes, certain utilities are included in the rental fee)
  • Laundry (not all rentals offer washer/dryer hookups)

As you’re going down your checklist, consider the following questions

  1. How long do you plan to stay? – The longer you anticipate you’ll be there the better off you are buying. Buying and selling a home requires a good deal of time and money so take that into consideration if you plan to stay less than five years.

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  1. Would you be happy staying longer than planned? – For first time home buyers, the idea of a starter home sounds great, but what if the time comes when you’re ready to sell and it’s not a sellers’ market? Or other unforeseen circumstances arise and you are unable to move when you thought you would?
  2. How stable is your job and your life? – If things both professionally and personally are not stable you might want to reconsider locking yourself into a big financial commitment at the moment.
  3. How do the monthly costs compare? – Do the math and be realistic. Consider all of the monthly costs that go along with owning verse renting.
  4. Do you have enough money for a down payment? – Sure you can get away with putting down less than 20% but that means you’ll be paying PMI along with a higher mortgage payment. Plus, sellers might choose offers with higher down payments and less contingencies.
  5. Do you have savings to pay for repairs? – All homes require repairs at some point, regardless of whether they’re brand new or not. If you’re leaning towards purchasing make sure you have some extra cash in your account for any unforeseen occurrences.

Whatever route you choose, finding the best real estate agent will help make either process as smooth and efficient as possible.

How To: Stage your Home to Make the Best Impression

86485111So you’ve decided to sell your home, a place that more than likely holds a lot of sentimental value to you. Now is the time to try to let go of that emotional attachment. View your home for exactly what it is, a “product” you’re trying to sell.

Know your Area & your Potential Buyers

A great way to start determining what you can do to your property to make it as appealing as possible is to know your audience and your neighborhood. Doing so will give you a better idea of who you can expect to walk through the door and what these potential buyers are expecting. For example, if you’re in a neighborhood that’s popular amongst young families, you’ll want to modernize. If you’re in more of an upscale neighborhood, you’ll want to make some higher end upgrades. Try to envision yourself as the potential buyers and think about what you’d like to see if you were in there shoes. If you’re struggling in this department, bring in a few friends and allow them to give you their honest opinion.

realtor-4Buyers like to feel an emotional connection with their potential home. You want them to be able to envision themselves in your home right from the start. We recommend limiting the amount of family photos you have on display and de-cluttering refrigerators or other places where you might have photos or your children’s accomplishments on display.

Clean till it Shines!

Cleaning your home effectively is an inexpensive way to make your home presentable and show well even if it’s outdated. Dust and soap scum will be an automatic turnoff to almost any buyer!213213

Reduce the amount of items you leave out in the open. You’ll be moving soon so why not get a head start on packing? Too manyBefore-and-After decorations can be distracting to someone trying to envision themselves living in your home. Make sure to neatly organize all of your closets so everything appears roomy. You don’t want buyers to see an overflowing closet or pantry leaving the impression that there is inadequate storage space.

Make Repairs

home-repair-400x266Now is a critical time to make any repairs to your home. Leaky faucets, missing kitchen cabinet handles and blown out light bulbs will be an instant turn off. Its one thing for a buyer to plan updates to their future home but no one wants to be planning repairs. Make sure all of these things are in working order before you have your first showing.

Spruce up your Space

A fresh coat of paint on your walls is another inexpensive and highly effective way to make your home show well. We recommend sticking to neutral colors such as beige or a light grey and avoiding colors such asKitchen_BA3-1024x512 white or anything too bold or dark. Neutral colors will allow buyers to envision what they can do to the space.

If you have an outdated kitchen you might want to consider replacing the hardware on the cabinets to something more modern or painting them. Both options can make a huge difference and transform any kitchen.

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Children, pets and those occasional nights of eating dinner in front of the TV can wreak havoc on your furniture. Consider covering your couch with a slip cover and add new throw pillow to brighten the space. Place a runner on your dining room table and a vase of fresh flowers in the center.

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If your floors have seen better days consider replacing the carpet or adding an area rug for a low cost but effective fix. Peel and stick linoleum is a great option for kitchens or entryways.

Light fixtures are often considered the jewelry of a home. Having outdated lamps or chandeliers can be a giveaway as to the last time you’ve renovated. Replacing the light fixtures will keep your home looking bright and up to date.

Don’t Forget the Outside

wood-letter-from-far-awaySpruce up your front door with a fresh coat of paint and a decorative wreath. Add a colorful welcome mat or potted plant to the front steps to make your home look even more inviting.

The look of overgrown grass can make a house go from looking fab to drab! Take out your lawn mower and gardening shears and get to work. A well landscaped front yard will give potential buyers a great first impression before they even step inside your home. And of course, don’t forget the backyard, which is often the last place a buyer will view as they leave.

Quick Tips

  • Try to stick with a color scheme in places such as your living room, kitchen and bathroom.
  • Put out potpourri, fresh towels and new shower curtains in your bathroom.N26-2_FreshAir-575x382
  • Hide any toiletries or toothbrushes to keep the space looking fresh and open.
  • Make your beds and decorate with throw pillows. A clean bed will automatically make a room look more inviting.
  • Weather permitting, open windows and blinds to allow for fresh air and natural sunlight.
  • Neutralize odors.
  • Keep pets away during showings.
  • Let your Real Estate agent do their job and leave your property during showings and open houses.

For suggestions specific to your home, always consult the Realtor you’ve retained.