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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.

Tips for Selling Your Home

by Doug & Gwen Campbell at Sun Bay Associates

One of the most difficult issues home owners have to deal with when selling their home is the best way to prepare the house for sale.  Do they really need to paint the outside of the house, or paint all the rooms inside, or replace the carpets, or upgrade the kitchen and bathroom, or landscape the yard, and on and on.

All these are fair questions.  Your professional Realtor should be able to guide you along in the decision making process.  Since each situation is different, here are some simple basics that may be helpful.

If you do decide to paint the outside of the house, pick a neutral color, or one that pretty much fits in with the neighborhood.  In most cases, painting a house bright pink or purple is not helpful.  In fact, there are Realtors who feel that painting a house pink can cost the seller thousands of dollars at the sale.  Pressure washing is a far less expensive alternative to painting, especially if the exterior of the house is in pretty good condition.

Painting the inside of the house can be helpful, however, again, use neutral colors, or at least not wild colors.  Red or black rooms will not show well and can cost a sale opportunity.  Most buyers expect to paint the interior when they buy the house anyway.

Replacing carpeting is another typical question.  Look at the carpets and see just how bad they are.  Can a good carpet cleaner help make the appearance acceptable?  Are there bad odors (doggy smell) that would be eliminated with a good cleaning?  Remember, replacing a carpet is an investment that is not likely to be returned to the seller.

On to the kitchen or bathroom.  In general, don't remodel these rooms just to sell the house.  If the kitchen has been updated since you bought the house, that's fine.  If it is in need of being updated because the appliances are 25 years old, be prepared to take a little off the price but also know that if you do update the kitchen, a buyer will expect that as part of normal maintenance and won't usually pay a premium for an updated kitchen, or bathroom.

The best things to do to prepare your house for sale are to eliminate the clutter, take down as many pictures from the walls as you feel comfortable with, especially family portraits, because they can distract a buyer from looking at the house itself. Do a general cleaning, keep each room neat and tidy, don't leave dishes in the sink, make the beds everyday, and do not smoke in the house.  The majority of buyers are non-smokers and residual smoke odors will have a very negative impact on buyers.

Then look outside at the yard.  Keep the grass cut, weed the flower beds, if there is a fence with broken slats, fix it.  Do what you can to make the house look attractive from the curbside so the initial impression is a good one.  

Make sure that all the lights work.  Lighting is a very important tool when showing your house.  And keep the air conditioning or the heat on so the house is comfortable when buyers walk through.  A house that is dark and hot, or cold, when a buyer tours it will create a negative impression and cost money at the sale.

The best things to do are not the most expensive.  Keep it neat, clean and ready to show everyday.  A little paint, cleaning the house and the flooring, and generally neat housekeeping will go a long way to make the house show as nicely as possible.

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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