Before you put your house on the market-first initial steps!

By
Real Estate Agent with Results Realty

Your house could sell faster and at a higher price if it shows well!  Potential buyers will get the best impression if your house is clean, light, airy, uncluttered, neat & in good shape-after all, the first impression is usually the only impression. 

Most of us think our homes are in fine shape, but you need to really see it ffirst steps to listing your houserom a buyers' point of view, so here are some things you can do to spruce it up and get the edge up on the competition.  It can mean the difference between a potential sale or a sale on the one down the street.  I have seen cases where the buyer purchases a house that is in excellent shape, uncluttered, clean and looked well cared for rather than a newer home that was even a little larger.  It just showed well and was taken such good care of! 

Here are a few initial steps:

Clean everything.  Cleanliness signals to a buyer that this home has been well cared for and in good repair.  A messy or dirty home signals buyers to wonder how well cared for it is, even if it is an "off day".  Clean windows, clean the tub and shower surrounds and caulk if needed!  Clean the pool even in the winter, keep it sparkling clean.  Don't forget the ceiling fans!

Unclutter your home.  Clean out closets, have a garage sale, box up all those photos on the walls, throw away old magazines.  Remove some furniture if you have too much or it is massive. Rearrange the furniture so that the rooms are spacious and you have an easy flow. 

Look for anything that is broken and fix it.  Fix plumbing issues, windows, cabinet drawers, screens, electrical switches to name a few.  Some of these things may seem trivial to you, but to the home buyer, they are added work and the house they just looked at down the street was the same price and it didn't have these problems.  With these needed repairs, the home buyer might offer much less than you are asking.

Paint.  Paint is cheap and quick.  Nothing improves the value of a home for a lower cost than a fresh coat of paint.  Stick with neutral colors, like a taupe, off white or soft beige.  I suggest stay away from stark white.  I will tell you why at a later time.

Open the window and let fresh air in.  Odors are a turn off-- Get rid of odors that may be unpleasant.  People are offended by cooking odors, smoke & pet odors, so clean carpets in that case! Some positive and calming aromas are fresh flowers, potpourri, vanilla and cinnamon, especially in the winter.  I have known people to bake a batch of cookies on the weekend and that is a wonderful welcoming aroma. 

Keep the noise down.  Play some soft music (easy listening) not hard rock or country.  We don't want anything that will make the buyer want to leave.

Curb appeal.  This is certainly not last on my list as it is the first impression of your house.  Trim trees, shrubs, mulch the beds and plant some flowers.  Make sure your porch lights have bulbs and add accent lighting if the budget allows. 

Make sure the temperature is comfortable while showing. The potential home buyer is feeling this house and wants to see if he is comfortable in it. 

If I can be of any assistance or you have any questions, please do not hesitate to call me or email me.

 

Candy Henthorne
Results Realty
Email Candy
281-413-3076

 

 

 

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Rainmaker
58,979
Candy Henthorne
Results Realty - Spring, TX
Spring Texas Real Estate
Mary - Thank you so much Mary.  Yes, if we could only get our sellers' to cooperate!  I have had pretty good sellers though and they do listen to me. 
Feb 03, 2008 10:00 AM #8
Anonymous
Anonymous
Hi Candy,
Good advice for sellers.  Some just some do not understand by doing some simple things could be the difference between selling and not selling their home.  
Feb 03, 2008 12:58 PM #9
Rainer
331,896
Danny Thornton
R & D Art - Knoxville, TN
WordPress Guru
Candy, great advice here. It is amazing what a little TLC will do for your home.
Feb 03, 2008 01:13 PM #10
Rainmaker
640,298
Marchel Peterson
Results Realty - Spring, TX
Spring TX Real Estate E-Pro
Candy, what good information for seller's; if only they would ALL listen.  This is an excellent resource for sellers to go to.
Feb 03, 2008 01:15 PM #11
Rainmaker
58,979
Candy Henthorne
Results Realty - Spring, TX
Spring Texas Real Estate
Cynthia - Absolutely!  Sometimes it is the smallest things.  I always tell them to caulk the tub and surround.  What a difference that makes.
Feb 03, 2008 01:52 PM #12
Rainmaker
58,979
Candy Henthorne
Results Realty - Spring, TX
Spring Texas Real Estate
Danny - You are right and thank you for confirming that even a little TLC goes a long ways.
Feb 03, 2008 01:53 PM #13
Rainmaker
58,979
Candy Henthorne
Results Realty - Spring, TX
Spring Texas Real Estate
Marchel - Luckily most do listen to us, and they are glad they did later.  Thank you
Feb 03, 2008 01:58 PM #14
Rainmaker
58,979
Candy Henthorne
Results Realty - Spring, TX
Spring Texas Real Estate
Deborah - Our homeowners/sellers' do get comfortable and really have to see it in the buyers' perspective.  Thank you for the input. 
Feb 03, 2008 05:00 PM #16
Rainmaker
296,987
ARDELL DellaLoggia
Sound Realty - Kirkland, WA
How much time do you think people devote to getting the property ready.  I've has as little as 10 days for a newer property and as long as 4 months for an older very cluttered one.
Feb 03, 2008 09:20 PM #17
Rainmaker
58,979
Candy Henthorne
Results Realty - Spring, TX
Spring Texas Real Estate

Ardell - Wow!  4 months?  That is a while to get ready for the house being listed. 

 I find most people know to get the house painted before the listing appt. if it is needed.  (There are the exceptions) Usually uncluttering the closets/cabinets should take a weekend.  I suggest to rearrange the furniture if needed and we are off to a great start.  I will say I have a seller that is supposed to be ready to list soon, it has been about a year.  He is the exception.  Thank you for the comment

Feb 03, 2008 11:56 PM #18
Rainer
50,355
Susan Jackowski
RJ Smith Realty - Pine Bush, NY
Orange County New York
What a great list.  If we could only get it across to sellers that price and condition is most of the marketing of the property. 
Feb 04, 2008 08:51 PM #19
Rainmaker
58,979
Candy Henthorne
Results Realty - Spring, TX
Spring Texas Real Estate
Susan - If the property is not is "show condition" it doesn't matter if it is priced right or not. 
Feb 04, 2008 09:19 PM #20
Rainmaker
412,458
Mesa, Arizona Real Estate Mesa Arizona Realtor
Teri Ellis at Homes Arizona Real Estate LLC - Mesa, AZ

Candy, great advice and a wonderful reminder. Sometimes we can't see the forest for the trees. It's like we don't "get" it when our home is cluttered. We're just used to seeing it that way. I know that every now and again, I'll notice a Christmas ornament that I've left out, six months after Christmas! Funny, we're all kinda like that.

Pepper

Feb 04, 2008 10:51 PM #21
Rainmaker
58,979
Candy Henthorne
Results Realty - Spring, TX
Spring Texas Real Estate
Teri - I have seen a Christmas candle holder a few months later up in the gameroom myself. :)  We are all guilty.  And my closets keep getting more full.  It is an ongoing process, I swear.  Thank you for the comment.
Feb 04, 2008 11:15 PM #22
Anonymous
Anonymous
Candy~Oh how wonderfully written this is my friend and what a difference this makes for seller's in getting their home sold in a timely manner. 
Feb 05, 2008 10:25 AM #23
Rainmaker
58,979
Candy Henthorne
Results Realty - Spring, TX
Spring Texas Real Estate
Julie - just a little preparation makes a huge difference!  Thank you for the comment.
Feb 05, 2008 10:53 AM #24
Rainer
17,342
Shellee Ashmore
The Inner Iris Photography - Spring, TX
Gee I bet you wish everyone did this... I can recall some difficulties we had with a said "father in law" who seemed quite determined to put people off of buying his house by skulking around the house and front yard; as well as trying to sell them a great hunk of a junk car while they came, or in most cases, went in quite a hurry.
Feb 07, 2008 05:31 PM #25
Rainmaker
58,979
Candy Henthorne
Results Realty - Spring, TX
Spring Texas Real Estate
Shellee - That is too funny!  Well, you kept him in line and the house did sell, but possibly could have sold quicker and for more money.  It is always best if the seller can leave for a bit if possible. 
Feb 07, 2008 10:24 PM #26
Rainmaker
192,092
Atlanta's Home Inspector, David Lelak IHI Home Inspections
IHI Home Inspections 404-788-2581 - Canton, GA
Experience the IHI Difference

Thanks for a great post,  I noticed someone said that decluttering cabinets and drawers should only take a weekend.  I Know they haven't seen my cabinets and drawers, we're talking a major project in that alone.  I once told my husband the only way I could move is if I left home and he had a company come in and do it.  It's amazing what 16 years will accumulate.  And I've been trying to declutter with flylady for two years. LOL

Bonnie

TheHomeInspectorsWife

Feb 11, 2008 09:25 PM #27
Rainmaker
58,979
Candy Henthorne
Results Realty - Spring, TX
Spring Texas Real Estate

Bonnie - I totally agree, it sometimes takes much longer, especially if you are a collector like I am.  It doesn't take long to accumulate so much.

Feb 11, 2008 09:38 PM #28
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Candy Henthorne

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