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Get Ready to Sell Your Home

by Doug Campbell

Selling your home doesn′t just mean hiring a realtor to stick a sign out front. There are a lot of preparations you should make to ensure you get the best offer possible in the shortest time.

Repair. Just because you’ve gotten used to the cracks in the walls and the rattles in the radiators doesn’t mean a buyer will too. If you have hardwood floors that need refinishing, be sure to get it done—hardwood is a huge selling point. And typically, refinishing hardwood floors costs less than tile or new hardwood flooring. Buyers like to snoop around, so be sure to fix any sticky doors or drawers as well.That backdoor you have to kick to open, make the needed adjustment, it could cost you thousands. Finally, don’t forget to address any issues with the exterior—fences, shingles, sidewalks, etc. Electric colors for trim may have been great while you lived in the house, it just may turn off a buyer though, and they won't even get out of their car. After all, without curb appeal, some buyers may never get to see the inside.

Neutralize. You want buyers to see themselves in your home. If your living room has lime green shag, wood-paneled walls, and all your collectibles and personal photographs, this will be much harder for them to do. If the carpet is 15 years old, whether you admit it or not, it has an odor, so go ahead and replace it, or at the very least get it steam cleaned. Try replacing any bold color choices in your floors and walls with something more neutral—beiges, tans, and whites. Repainting and re-flooring will make everything look fresh and new, and help prospective buyers imagine all the possibilities. After all, repainting a room is the least expensive thing you can do to maximize your profit.

Stage. Once your house is clean and updated, it’s time to play dress up. Home stagers can add small details and décor touches that will bring out the possibilities in the various spaces in your home: lamps, mirrors, throw rugs and pillows, flowers, decorative soaps and towels, patio furniture. Home staging can be particularly useful if your home is especially old or if the exterior looks dated. Think of it as a little mascara and rouge—if it’s done right, you notice the beauty, not the makeup. If you have moved out of the house while it is still on the market, it is very important to have a professional stager come in. Empty rooms always look small and most people can't envision what it might look like with furniture. A professional stager will address the room dimensions, make the most of the colors and light, and it will almost make you wonder why you wanted to move.

A final note on appearance, be sure your Realtor has professionally done photographs of the house and yard. Most Realtors do not know how to take good photos, although some do. A point and shoot camera is not what you want for taking quality pictures for a $400,000 house.

Now, relax and let the professionals sell your house so you can move into the next phase of life.

Selling Your Home.

by Doug & Gwen Campbell at Sun Bay Associates

Are you selling your home by yourself, or do you have a professional Realtor working for you?

A common question from many home sellers is "Why is my home not selling?"  If you are selling your home, either as a For Sale by Owner, or with the professional help of a Realtor, here are a few possible reasons the house is not selling.  These are all a part of the home staging process.

1.  It is priced too high.  Regardless of what you "want" to get for your house, the market is only going to pay what it is worth, in the marketplace.  You can see what the marketplace is doing by checking out our Market Insider feature.  The fantasy of finding that "one cash buyer who will pay my price" is just that, a fantasy.  Cash buyers have cash because they are smart with their money.

2.  People may not know it is for sale.  A For Sale by Owner is not really helping himself and as a rule makes about 12-16% less money than using a professional Realtor, who has access to many, many more sales and marketing outlets than a For Sale by Owner.

3.  Is there one little nagging issue that keeps popping up when buyers go through the house.  If you get a common thread from buyers that seems to indicate something wrong with the house, do not take the comments as personal insults, act on it.  Not everyone likes pink carpets, or avocado appliances, or that purple flowery wallpaper in the guest room.  If it is a regular comment, it could be stopping buyers from making an offer, even if unconscious.

4.  The house does not show well.  Are the lights one, the curtains open so there is plenty of light?  Is there the back of a couch blocking the way as soon as people enter the house?  The placement may be great for watching the TV, but it could give the appearance of a tiny living room.  Sometimes subtle items can kill enthusiasm for a house that otherwise would be perfect.  Simple home staging can make a huge difference in the presentation of your home.

5.  The buyer can never see themselves in this house.  Is the house cluttered?  Do you have too many personal photos on every inch of wall space?  Can people see the beautiful stainless refrigerator, or is every piece of art your child ever drew stuck on it?  Remove the clutter, it is costing money.

6.  How is the curb appeal?  Does the lawn need to be mowed?  Are the flower beds or shrubs overgrown, dead, or just plain neglected?  Does the front door need a fresh coat of paint?  Trim the grass and shrubs, it might make a difference that sells the house.

If you want to get an idea of what the market value of a particular home is, take a look at our free and automated market value estimator of any property you want to consider.

Try taking to heart these little home staging tips for selling your home.  It just might mean more money in your pocket quicker than if you do nothing.  And you probably should consider hiring a professional Realtor, in almost every case this will net you more money faster.

To Stage or Not to Stage

by Doug & Gwen Campbell at Sun Bay Associates

So you think that everyone who comes to your home will just adore your decorating style.  Well, the fact of the matter is that they probably won't.  This is where home staging comes into play.  If you are into antiques, lace curtains, with lots and lots of things all over your home, no matter how expensive or even tasteful, you run the risk of turning off far too many potential buyers.  Whether they like the neighborhood, the location, or even the floor plan of your home, if you have too many personal items on display, the focus becomes on the things on display and NOT on your home.  And the home is what you are trying to sell, not the things on display.

So let your realtor provide you advice on the best way to showcase your home.  Or better yet, invest the money to hire a professional home stager.  The professional home stager will consult and provide you excellent advice on how to have your home shine.  For a vacant home, having it well staged gives you, the seller, a definite advantage in the market place, since too many buyers have a difficult time envisioning how an empty room might be used.

To start, take as many personal photos off the wall as you can.  If you have a specific hobby, whether it is hunting, race cars, martial arts, or knitting, put these items away and out of sight.  When someone is coming to look at your home, turn on the lights and make the room temperature as comfortable as you can.  Sweep the floors.  Put your pets away, or better yet, take them out for a walk when a buyer is coming to preview your home.  Make the home smell fresh and clean, or simmer a pleasant spice on the stovetop, such as cinnamon, to give your home a welcoming aroma.  Take your personal hygiene items off the bathroom counters and out of sight.   Keep the house neat and tidy with as little clutter as possible.  It may help to rearrange the furniture to make the rooms look more spacious.  Here in the Tampa Bay area it is alright to have some emphasis on the wonderful beach lifestyle, but be sure not to go overboard.

Your goal is to have the house speak for itself by being clean and airy with lots of open space, and showing its maximum appeal.  Don't let clutter, your hobbies or family photos take away from all the advantages of your home.

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Photo of Gwen and  Doug Campbell - Sun Bay Realty Group Real Estate
Gwen and Doug Campbell - Sun Bay Realty Group
at Keller Williams Realty
35095 US Hwy 19N, Suite 100
Palm Harbor FL 34684
Doug's Cell 727-741-4189
Gwen's Cell 727-741-7260
Fax: 888-447-7908