Lazy Summer Days – by Ashley Leigh

25 06 2010

Lemonade. Ice-tea. Or, my favorite . . . an “Arnold Palmer” – a 50/50 mix of lemonade and ice-tea. A hammock under a shady tree. Now, that is a Norman Rockwell picture of summer.

Well, sure . . .  unless you are contemplating selling your house.  Call me today to discuss what you have to do to get ready.  I’ll bring the refreshments!

In the mean time, review the notes below.  In this article, I review what you should do inside your house.  In a future article, I’ll tell you where to put your focus on its exterior.

Emotion vs. Reason

When speaking with real estate agents, you will often find that when they talk to you about buying real estate, they will refer to your purchase as a “home”. Yet if you are selling property, they will often refer to it as a “house”. Here’s why. Buying real estate is often an emotional decision, but when selling real estate you need to remove emotion from the equation.

You need to think of your house as a marketable commodity. Property. Real estate. Your goal is to get others to see it as their potential home, not yours. If you do not consciously make this decision, you can inadvertently create a situation where it takes longer to sell your property.

Therefore, you MUST do the following!

De-personalizing Your House

The reason you want to “de-personalize” your house is because you want buyers to view it as their potential home. When a potential homebuyer sees your family photos, it puts your own brand on the home and momentarily disrupts their image about owning it. Therefore, put away family photos, sports trophies, collectible items, knick-knacks, and souvenirs. Put them in a box. Rent a storage area for a few months and put the box in the storage unit.

Do not just put the box in the attic, basement, garage or a closet. Part of preparing a house for sale is to remove “clutter”.

Removing Clutter, Though You May Not Consider it Clutter

This is the most difficult thing for most people to do because they are emotionally attached to everything in the house. After years of living in the same home, clutter collects in such a way that may not be evident to the homeowner. However, it does affect the way buyers see the home, even if you do not realize it. “Stuff” collects on shelves, counter tops, drawers, closets, garages, attics, and basements.

Take a step back and pretend you are a buyer. Let a friend help point out areas of clutter, as long as you can accept their views without getting defensive. Let me help you, too.

You should focus your attention in the following areas.

      Kitchen Clutter

      Closet Clutter

      Furniture Clutter

      Storage Area Clutter

Or, best idea yet … have a garage sale!

Fixing Up the Interior

Let’s take a walk around the interior of your house. You want it to SHINE!

Plumbing and Fixtures

All your sink fixtures should look shiny and new. If this cannot be accomplished by cleaning, buy new ones where needed. If you don’t buy something fancy, this can be accomplished inexpensively and they are fairly easy to install. Make sure all the hot and cold water knobs are easy to turn and that the faucets do not leak. If they do, replace the washers. It is not difficult at all.

Check to make sure you have good water pressure and that there are no stains on any of the porcelain. If you have a difficult stain to remove, one trick is to hire a cleaning crew to go through and clean your home on a one-time basis. They seem to be wonderful at making stains go away.

Ceilings, Walls and Painting

Check all the ceilings for water stains. Sometimes old leaks leave stains, even after you have repaired the leak. Of course, if you do have a leak, you will have to get it repaired, whether it is a plumbing problem or the roof leaks.

You should do the same for walls, looking not only stains, but also areas where dirt has accumulated and you just may not have noticed. Plus, you may have an outdated color scheme.

Painting can be your best investment when selling your home. It is not a very expensive operation and often you can do it yourself. Do not choose colors based on your own preferences, but based on what would appeal to the widest possible number of buyers. You should almost always choose an off-white color because white helps your rooms appear bright and spacious.

Carpet and Flooring

Unless your carpet appears old and worn, or it is definitely an outdated style or color, you probably should do nothing more than hire a good carpet cleaner. If you do choose to replace it, do so with something inexpensive in a fairly neutral color.

Repair or replace broken floor tiles, but do not spend a lot of money on anything. Remember, you are not fixing up the place for yourself. You want to move. Your goal is simply to have as few negative impressions upon those who may want to purchase your property.

Windows and Doors

Check all of your windows to make sure they open and close easily. If not, a spray of WD40 often helps. Make sure there are no cracked or broken windowpanes. If there are, replace them before you place your home on the market.

Do the same things with the doors – make sure they open and close properly, without creaking. If they do, a shot of WD40 on the hinges usually makes the creak go away. Be sure the doorknobs turn easily, and that they are cleaned and polished to look sharp. As buyers go from room to room, someone opens each door and you want to do everything necessary to create a positive impression.

Odor Control

For those who smoke, you might want to minimize smoking indoors while trying to sell your home. You could also purchase an ozone spray that helps to remove odors without creating a masking odor.

Pets of all kinds create odors that you may have become used to, but are immediately noticeable to those with more finely tuned olfactory senses. For those with cats, be sure to empty kitty litter boxes daily. There are also products that you can sprinkle in a layer below the kitty litter that helps to control odor. For those with dogs, keep the dog outdoors as much as possible. You might also try sprinkling carpet freshener on the carpet on a periodic basis.

Costs of Repairs

Do not do anything expensive, such as remodeling. If possible, use savings to pay for any repairs and improvements – do not go charging up credit cards or obtaining new loans. Remember that part of selling a house is also preparing to buy your next home. You do not want to do anything that will affect your credit scores or hurt your ability to qualify for your next mortgage.

Whew!  That’s a lot to do.  And, it is only the inside!

Yet, based on my track record, it all pays huge dividends.  Call me before you start.  I can easily prioritize the particulars of your house.  So, not only will you reap greater rewards, but you will save countless hours of unnecessary work.  That will leave lots of time to enjoy your hammock!

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