Fix Up Your House to Sell

February 2016

Viewing posts from February , 2016

Fix Up Your House to Sell

Elbow grease goes a long way!          
We all have those little (or big) projects around the house that we’ve been putting off: a missing outlet cover, a bent window screen, a broken door.  We may have lived with them for so long that we don’t even notice them or maybe we just haven’t had the time or energy to fix it.  Life happens, and things can fall by the wayside in the midst of the craziness. However, if you’re looking to sell your house, those “little” projects can become major turn-offs for potential buyers.  The great news is that nothing pays off better than a little elbow grease! Here is a handy checklist that you should review before you put your house on the market.  The list is pretty detailed, but the most attractive houses usually reflect some good, quality TLC to these areas.  And as always, if you’re unsure where to start, give the GoodFit Homes team a call.  Marty can stop by your house and help you figure out the best areas to begin.

 

 

EXTERIOR

Paint. The condition of your home’s exterior is most important when it comes to buyer appeal. Touch up trim paint on doors, window frames, fascia, etc.  Replace missing shutters, gutters, and downspouts and remove any debris.  Inspect the roof for necessary repairs and any visible broken shingles or tiles. Wash all windows inside and outside

Front Entry. Give special care to this area. This is where buyers get their first opportunity to make a close inspection. All woodwork should be freshly and neatly painted, including the door if necessary. Replace a badly worn or broken doorbell button. Polish the door brass. Repaint or replace an unsightly mailbox. Put out a new or clean door mat. Do a thorough weeding and pruning job on any flower beds near the entry. A low-cost investment in seasonal flowers or ground cover will add a personal touch.

Yard. If your lawn shows no signs of life, a little fertilizer and some water will do wonders for its color. Mow, edge and water the lawn frequently until the home is sold.  Overgrown shrubbery should be cut back to show as much of the exterior as possible.

Fence and Patio. Fences and patios should be mended and painted.  If the street sweeper does not come every week, make sure the area in front of your curb and driveway are clear of debris. Wash it down with the hose. A nice spread of outdoor furniture on a patio looks very appealing, if you have it available.

Driveway. Clean up grease or oil spots. For excessive stains, there are easy-to-use cleaning agents at your home repair store; and cracks in the driveway and sidewalks can be easily repaired with ready-mix cement. See that the garage door opens freely and that the automatic door opener is in good working order. If possible, don’t park cars in front of the house or in the driveway, and try to have very few parked on the street near the house.

Swimming Pool. Adjust chemicals until the pool sparkles. Hose dust and cobwebs from filtration equipment. Store chemicals and tools neatly.

MECHANICAL AND ELECTRICAL FEATURES

Lights. Every light socket in and around the house should have good bulb of adequate wattage. Don’t overlook those outside; in the garage, utility room, halls closets, or over the kitchen sink; and in the oven and exhaust hood.

Switches and Fixtures. Repair or replace wall switches, outlets, and light fixtures that don’t work. Replace any broken switch plates. If you are not fully competent to handle these repairs, please call in a professional in order to keep you and your family safe.

Appliances. Any appliances  that will be sold with the home should be in good working condition.  Replace fixtures that are irreparable or just plain unsightly.  New fixtures and appliances don’t have to be top-of-the-line, but they should be decent quality and neutral in style. If specific equipment does not work and you do not intend to repair it, make sure the GoodFit Homes team is aware.

Plumbing. Badly chipped or irreversibly stained sinks and tubs should be re-enameled, patched or replaced. Leaky or excessively noisy toilets should be fixed, as well as any dripping faucets.

Sprinkler Systems. These should be working properly with no defect.

INTERIOR

Overall Cleanliness.  Clean your home from top to bottom.  Have carpeting and draperies cleaned.  Carpeting should be vacuumed throughout the house the day your home is being shown.  If you have a fireplace, make sure all of the tile is in good condition, the screen is in good shape, and the hearth is clean.  Lubricate squeaking doors, windows, and cabinets.  A few colorful plants will help liven and add color to the interior.

Spaciousness. One of the best and least expensive ways to improve the showability of your home is to open up as much space as possible. Openness stimulates positive feelings in buyers. Overstuffed rooms or closets give the impression of being smaller than they really are. You can’t change the size of what you have, so try to present it in a pleasing way.

Paint and Doors. Repair any cracks or holes in walls and touch up paint.   Doors should be cleaned and touched-up as well. All torn screens should be repaired or replaced.  Avoid repainting the entire house unless your current colors are very loud or offbeat. White or light pastels are the easiest for new homeowners to work with and they make your rooms look larger.

Closets and Storage Areas. One of the most frequently voiced requirements of buyers is for closet and storage space. Open up your storage areas by getting rid of items you aren’t using. Store out-of-season clothes so closets don’t look cluttered.

Kitchen.  Most buyers will inspect the kitchen carefully, so extra time invested here is well spent. Keep the counters clean and clear of appliances. All appliances should be clean and neatly organized. An open appearance with sunlight and green plants here and there will make the room a focal point.  Never leave dirty dishes in the sink.  Clean and wax the kitchen floor. If the floor looks old and dull, consider replacing the flooring.  Clean fans and vent hoods. Buyers frequently check this area as a clue to general housekeeping.  Clean the stove inside and out.

Bathrooms. All bathroom appliances should be thoroughly cleaned. Remove stains from sinks, toilets, and bathtubs. Replace old caulking around bathtub and sinks. Repair or replace leaky faucets. Unclog and sanitize drains to remove odors.  Clean all mirrors.  Keep all toilet seat lids closed.  Fresh towels should be in the bathrooms at all times. Other potential fixes might be soap residue in a shower, a moldy shower curtain, accumulated dirt in the track of a sliding shower door, soiled or missing grout, and dirty or battered bathmats.

Garage. Buyers will pay a premium for a garage if they can visualize it being of value to them, but it’s hard to sell the virtues of a garage when it is filled to overflowing. If your garage has become a two-car attic, have a garage sale to dispose of any unwanted items. Family heirlooms, which you will take with you, should be boxed and stored in the garage until you move. Degreasers are available at your local home repair store to remove stains from the garage floor. Remove any cobwebs. If the basement or attic is a functioning part of the house, make sure the area is clean and in good repair.

Odor. Nothing can turn off a buyer like the smell of moldy towels or rotten food. Put deodorizers in each room and closet. Take all trash and garbage out of the house, particularly any food-related discards from the kitchen. And make sure no potatoes or onions are going bad under the sink or in the pantry. After running garbage through a disposal unit, grind up part of a lemon to add a fresh smell. If you have pets, move the cat’s litter box out of the house or into the garage and clean up after the dog before any showings. Wash any pet beds,blankets and toys to remove old smells.

How to Prepare Your House for a Real Estate Photo Shoot

Tips to make your house listing perfect         

You may have completed the home-repair “honey-do” list detailed out in our “Fix to Sell” post and elbow-greased your house into looking beautiful.  Now it’s time for the professional photographer to come in and shoot the pictures that will be potential buyers’ first look.  There are several benefits to ensuring that the photos look good, including the possibility to sell your house at a higher price point because the listing looks professional.  But before the photographer arrives, there are just a few extra things that can bring your house from attractive home to listing perfection.  Here are some tips to prepare your home for the photographer:

 

Let the Light In. Open all drapes and blinds to let in as much light as possible (unless there is a very unappealing view out the window you don’t want to highlight in the photo). For a bright and cheerful look, turn on every single light in the house, and don’t forget the surface lights on your stove or under your cupboards. Turn off the ceiling fans.

Get Rid of the Grime.  A quick wipe down to “clean” the house isn’t enough to get rid of the grime, and it is important that all areas are deep-cleaned in order to remove hard water buildup, dirt, or anything else that might be visible. Make sure that the windows are spotless, they should be washed to get rid of fingerprints or marks.  Dust and vacuum the whole house thoroughly.

Clear the Clutter. It is always best to clear the clutter out of every room, because a clean space is more appealing. Get all knickknacks, stacks of paper, remote controls, extraneous furniture, family photos, pet stuff & toys out of sight.  Do not store them under your bed.  Photographers can often see under beds, and it’s not a pretty sight when there’s a yard sale stuffed underneath.  The general rule-of-thumb for shelving is that each shelf/stand should only be one-third full.  See all those books you love on your overstuffed bookshelf?  Now take half of them out (the bright, clashing, odd-sized ones).  Hide power cords and cables as much as you can.   If you have child-proof latches on cupboards and drawers, remove them for the photos if it’s not too difficult.  Make your beds look like you see in magazines.  The pillows should be big and fluffy and the bed cover should be hotel-room perfect.   Hide all digital do-dads and cords laying around the bed.  The goal is to create a stylish, generic room in which the buyer can picture themselves living in. If you include too many personal effects, such as photos and knickknacks, then it makes it more difficult for the buyer to imagine their own things in the room. So, get rid of the distractions and eliminate any clutter that may be present.

First Impressions Matter. Keep in mind that potential buyers are going to be looking at rooms from the doorway they enter through, and the initial “feeling” is the one that will count the most.  They will likely also spend more time viewing the room from the side where the door is located. You want to create a lasting impression from the moment they step into the room, so it is important to arrange things so the room looks great from that angle.  It is good to capture the windows in the photos, because people like to see the natural light that comes in the room, so consider the way the furniture is place as it corresponds with the windows.  If there are built-in features in the room, such as a fireplace or decorative pillars, the photographer will likely take the photos from an angle to include those features. Keep that in mind as well.

Brighten Up. Bring some color, freshness and serenity to your listing by staging a few nice flower arrangements on the dining room table, in a corner of the living room, and in a bedroom or large bathroom.  A bowl of apples or lemons or oranges in the kitchen always looks nice.  If you have a nice big attractive coffee table book, preferably home decor or architectural in theme, set it on your coffee table.  Remember, the goal is to make your place look like a clean, tastefully furnished hotel.

Freshen Up the Bathrooms. Many bathrooms are small and difficult to photograph.  Hide all of your personal bath and shower stuff and the bathroom trash cans.  Put on a new roll of toilet paper.  Neatly hang a few clean, colored towels and hand towels.  If you have room, put a nice looking candle or small plant next to the sink or bathtub.

Curb Appeal. The view of the front of your listing is very important.  Your goal is to make the front of the house appealing enough that buyers will want to see more. While the front yard is the most important, don’t neglect the back yard. It won’t look natural to have front yard photos of a beautifully manicured lawn and flower beds, with a back yard that is in disarray. Pull weeds, trim overgrown shrubs and low-hanging tree branches.  Rake,mow and edge the lawn.  Put away garden hoses.  Hide the garbage cans, yard tools, dead plants, empty pots and any other yard clutter. Lay down mulch wherever there is dirt showing in beds.   Move cars out of the driveway.  Sweep the porch and sidewalks.  If you have outdoor furniture, wipe it down and make sure that the cushions look clean and nice.

Preparation is Key. If your real estate photographer arrives, and they see that the home has not been prepared for the photo shoot, then you might be charged a cancellation fee and be forced to reschedule. Or, the photographer might move forward with the photo shoot, but the results will be unprofessional and they will not look good on your real estate listing. It is very important that you spend the time that is needed to make sure that your home is prepared so that the photographer has something to work with.