Your House Ready to Sell
- Emotion vs. Reason
conversing 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."
There is a reason for this. Buying
real estate is often an emotional
decision, but when selling real
estate you need to remove emotion
from the equation.
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.
first step in getting your home
ready to sell is to "de-personalize"
reason you want to "de-personalize"
your home is because you want buyers
to view it as their potential home.
When a potential homebuyer sees
your family photos hanging on the
wall, it puts your own brand on
the home and momentarily shatters
their illusions about owning the
house. 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.
not just put the box in the attic,
basement, garage or a closet. Part
of preparing a house for sale is
to remove "clutter," and
that is the next step in preparing
your house for sale.
Clutter, Though You May Not Think
of it as Clutter
is the hardest 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. Clutter
collects on shelves, counter tops,
drawers, closets, garages, attics,
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 your agent
help you, too.
kitchen is a good place to start
removing clutter, because it is
an easy place to start. First, get
everything off the counters. Everything.
Even the toaster. Put the toaster
in a cabinet and take it out when
you use it. Find a place where you
can store everything in cabinets
and drawers. Of course, you may
notice that you do not have cabinet
space to put everything. Clean them
out. The dishes, pots and pans that
rarely get used? Put them in a box
and put that box in storage, too.
see, homebuyers will open all your
cabinets and drawers, especially
in the kitchen. They want to be
sure there is enough room for their
"stuff." If your kitchen
cabinets, pantries, and drawers
look jammed full, it sends a negative
message to the buyer and does not
promote an image of plentiful storage
space. The best way to do that is
to have as much "empty space"
that reason, if you have a "junk
drawer," get rid of the junk.
If you have a rarely used crock
pot, put it in storage. Do this
with every cabinet and drawer. Create
you have a large amount of foodstuffs
crammed into the shelves or pantry,
begin using them – especially
canned goods. Canned goods are heavy
and you don’t want to be lugging
them to a new house, anyway –
or paying a mover to do so. Let
what you have on the shelves determine
your menus and use up as much as
the sink is very critical, too.
Make sure the area beneath the sink
is as empty as possible, removing
all extra cleaning supplies. You
should scrub the area down as well,
and determine if there are any tell-tale
signs of water leaks that may cause
a homebuyer to hesitate in buying
are great for accumulating clutter,
though you may not think of it as
clutter. We are talking about extra
clothes and shoes – things
you rarely wear but cannot bear
to be without. Do without these
items for a couple of months by
putting them in a box, because these
items can make your closets look
"crammed full." Sometimes
there are shoeboxes full of "stuff"
or other accumulated personal items,
people have too much furniture in
certain rooms – not too much
for your own personal living needs
– but too much to give the
illusion of space that a homebuyer
would like to see. You may want
to tour some builders’ models
to see how they place furniture
in the model homes. Observe how
they place furniture in the models
so you get some ideas on what to
remove and what to leave in your
garages, attics, and sheds accumulate
not only clutter, but junk. These
areas should be as empty as possible
so that buyers can imagine what
they would do with the space. Remove
anything that is not essential and
take it to the storage area.
have a garage sale
Up the House Interior
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
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
Walls and Painting
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.
should do the same for walls, looking
for 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.
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
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
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
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 begin showing your
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.
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.
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
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
Up Outside the House
real estate advice tells you to
work on the outside of the house
first, but unless there is a major
project involved, we believe it
is best to do it last. There are
two main reasons for this. First,
the first steps in preparing the
interior of the house are easier.
They also help develop the proper
mind set required for selling -
beginning to think of your "home"
as a marketable commodity. Second,
the exterior is the most important.
A homebuyer’s first impression
is based on his or her view of the
house from the real estate agent’s
take a walk across the street and
take a good look at your house.
Look at nearby houses, too, and
see how yours compares.
your landscaping at least average
for the neighborhood? If it is not,
buy a few bushes and plant them.
Do not put in trees. Mature trees
are expensive, and you will not
get back your investment. Also,
immature trees do not really add
much to the appearance value of
you have an area for flowers, buy
mature colorful flowers and plant
them. They add a splash of vibrancy
and color, creating a favorable
first impression. Do not buy bulbs
or seeds and plant them. They will
not mature fast enough to create
the desired effect and you certainly
don’t want a patch of brown
earth for homebuyers to view.
lawn should be evenly cut, freshly
edged, well watered, and free of
brown spots. If there are problems
with your lawn, you should probably
take care of them before working
on the inside of your home. This
is because certain areas may need
re-soding, and you want to give
it a chance to grow so that re-sod
areas are not immediately apparent.
Plus, you might want to give fertilizer
enough time to be effective.
rake up loose leaves and grass cuttings.
big decision is whether to paint
or not to paint. When you look at
your house from across the street,
does it look tired and faded? If
so, a paint job may be in order.
It is often a very good investment
and really spruces up the appearance
of a house, adding dollars to offers
from potential homebuyers.
choosing a color, it should not
be something garish and unusual,
but a color that fits well in your
neighborhood. Of course, the color
also depends on the style of your
house, too. For some reason, different
shades of yellow seem to illicit
the best response in homebuyers,
whether it is in the trim or the
basic color of the house.
for the roof, if you know your house
has an old leaky roof, replace it.
If you do not replace a leaky roof,
you are going to have to disclose
it and the buyer will want a new
roof, anyway. Otherwise, wait and
see what the home inspector says.
Why spend money unnecessarily?
back yard should be tidy. If you
have a pool or spa, keep it freshly
maintained and constantly cleaned.
For those that have dogs, be sure
to constantly keep the area clear
of "debris." If you have
swing sets or anything elaborate
for your kids, it probably makes
more sense to remove them than to
leave them in place. They take up
room, and you want your back yard
to appear as spacious as possible,
especially in newer homes where
the yards are not as large.
Front Door & Entryway
front door should be especially
sharp, since it is the entryway
into the house. Polish the door
fixture so it gleams. If the door
needs refinishing or repainting,
make sure to get that done.
you have a cute little plaque or
shingle with your family name on
it, remove it. Even if it is just
on the mailbox. You can always put
it up again once you move. Get a
new plush door mat, too. This is
something else you can take with
you once you move.
sure the lock works easily and the
key fits properly. When a homebuyer
comes to visit your home, the agent
uses the key from the lock box to
unlock the door. If there is trouble
working the lock while everyone
else stands around twiddling their
thumbs, this sends a negative first
impression to prospective homebuyers.