Click to enlargeHow To get Your Home Ready

How To Get Your Home Ready To Be Sold for the Price You want and in Record Time!
I David Walker, believe that when you decide to sell your home, the most important thing to remember is that now you are not only a home owner—you are now a home seller. Think of your home as a theater. You are putting on a performance, much like staging a play. The scenery must be right, the lighting perfect, the audience (Buyers) comfortable.

My expertise is in helping you set the stage and making it easy for prospective buyers to imagine themselves happily living in your home. And it should happen quickly. Research shows that buyers make the real decision about a house purchase in the first eleven seconds of seeing it.

I want to secure the absolute best market price for your home, in the shortest time, with the least hassles.

Experience have taught that a few easy but critical steps will make your home sell at a higher price—from 5 to 15 percent or more—and in a shorter time.

Here are some low-cost, high-return upgrades to improve the perceived value of your house or condominium.

Once you have decided to sell your home, make sure it is ready to be sold. Buyers pay a premium for a home that is in top-notch, move-in condition.

First, you have to figure out what needs to be done to your home. A thorough property inspection up front will help to identify problem areas. Having the property inspection done and all the corrections taken care of before you get offers also shows the buyers that you are conscientious homeowners. This will relieve some of their anxiety about buying a home.

Also, any buyer will have a property inspection done before closing the sale. Often, this is when they will re-negotiate the price because of any problems that may turn up in the inspection. Having your own inspection done and making all necessary repairs first removes this opportunity for the buyer to try and re-negotiate.

Properties in prime condition are a pleasure for real estate agents to show, so they get shown more often. The more exposure a property gets, the better the chance of selling it quicker and for a higher price.

Use the following checklist as your guide to preparing your home for sale.

Paint: Few things you will enhance the salability of your house quite as much as painting the outside. Consider painting the highlight features of your home, such as trim work, shutters, gutters, downspouts and railings. If necessary, add a fresh coat of exterior paint to the exterior siding. Before painting, scrape or water-blast any blistered or peeling paint; repair gutters and down spouts; and replace wood showing dry rot. Pay special attention to wood, trim, gutters, and wrought iron.

Fence Replace missing slats, stakes and posts. Repair broken hinges and paint or stain the fence if necessary.

Front Entry: Give special care to this area. First impressions do make a difference! Door Locks must work on the first try. All woodwork should be freshly and neatly painted, including the door if necessary. Replace badly worn or broken doorbells. Clean and Polish door handles and door knockers. Paint or replace an unsightly mailbox or rusty doorbell. Be sure porch lights are working and add welcoming features such as a new or clean door mat and flowering plants.

Yard: Mow, trim, and fertilize the lawn. Weed flower beds; remove or replace dead plants or trees. Water regularly during the growing season. With desert landscaping, make sure that no underlying plastic is exposed, that rocks and sand are tidy, and that weeds and unwanted grass are removed.

Driveway, garage/carport: Clean up grease or oil spots; remove the soil at least, if not the stains. See that the garage door opens freely, and if you have an automatic door opener, make sure it's in good working order. Provide an unobstructed view of your home from the street by not parking cars, boats or other vehicles in the driveway.

Patio or Deck: A nice spread of Flowering plants and outdoor furniture looks very appealing. If necessary, borrow some from a friend to enhance the "showability" of your property. Tidy any visible items, such as an outdoor grill or barbecue. Remove any unnecessary items such as gardening equipment.

Swimming pool: Adjust chemicals until the pool sparkles. Hose dust and cobwebs from filtration equipment. Store chemicals and tools neatly. Keep pool area tidy and secure.

Look at the Basics
Windows: Repair or replace torn or bent screens. As a last resort, remove them entirely; it's better to have no screens than to have unsightly ones. Replace any cracked or broken panes.

Also, notice unsightly foliage near windows. A window framed in ivy can give a warm, homey feeling, but cut it back if the foliage is restricting the light coming into the rooms. Drapery rods should be affixed firmly to walls and work smoothly; draperies should be clean and hang properly.

Doors: Check to see that all doors open and close freely, including closet doors and patio or sliding glass doors. Oil any squeaky doors. Tighten the hardware, particularly doorknobs. And while you're at it, tighten hardware on kitchen and bathroom cabinets, too.

Walls: As with the exterior, painting indoors will pay dividends out of all proportion to the time and effort spent. Wallpaper should be clean and adhere smoothly to walls.

Floors: Repair or replace missing or damaged pieces of tile; polish if needed. Repair of a loose stair tread plate or loose carpeting on a stairway is a top priority.

Carpet: Steam cleaning is the best answer for soiled carpets, especially when shampooing isn't enough. If pet odors are present, clean the carpet some time before your home is placed on the market to be sure the odors have been eliminated.

Check the Mechanicals
Lights: Every light socket in and around the house should have a good bulb of adequate wattage. Don't overlook those outside and in the garage. Also remember the utility room, halls, closets, over the kitchen sink, and in the oven and exhaust hood. Check batteries in smoke detectors. Be sure security systems are working properly.

Switches and fixtures: Repair or replace wall switches, outlets, and light fixtures that don't work. Replace any broken switch plates.

Appliances: Those that will be sold with the home should be in good working condition. If specific equipment doesn't work and you don't intend to repair it, point this out.

Plumbing: Badly chipped or irreversibly stained sinks and tubs should be re-enameled, patched, or replaced. Leaky or noisy toilets should be fixed, as well as any dripping faucets. Water heater and softener: Perhaps because it's so unusual, a sparkling clean water heater or water softener really impresses buyers: and it takes so little time and effort.

Sprinkler systems: These should be working properly with no defective heads.

Go for the Spacious Look
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, but you can try to present it in a pleasing way.

Closets and storage areas: One of the most frequently voiced requirements of buyers is for more closet and storage space. Open up your storage areas by removing items you aren't using.

Counters and cabinets: The same principle used for closets applies here: overcrowding gives the impression of inadequacy. This applies to bathrooms and kitchens with the kitchen being most important. Store infrequently used appliances.

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 when the garage is filled to overflowing. If your garage has become a two-car attic, move the excess to a mini-warehouse.

Housekeeping Hints
Of this I'm certain: a clean house sells more quickly and for more money than a dirty one. Get your house squeaky clean. If you do nothing else, do this!

Bathrooms: Few places in the home can get so dirty so fast, and yet few things will "unsell" a house as fast as dirty bathrooms. Vanity, sink, faucet hardware, and mirror are the focal points. But don't forget other potential problems: soap residue in a shower, a moldy shower curtain, accumulated dirt in the track of a sliding shower door, soiled or missing grout, soiled toilet bowls, and dirty or battered bath mats.

Kitchen: Most buyers will inspect the kitchen carefully, so time invested here is well spent. Clean the stove inside and out. Replace badly stained or corroded reflector plates under the heating elements on electronic range tops. Don't neglect the kitchen exhaust hood; buyers frequently check this area as a clue to general housekeeping.

Windows: Clean windows are an absolute necessity if a house is to look its best. Weather permitting, open windows to let in fresh air.

Appeal to the Homebuyers' Senses


Sight: Use light to showcase your home. Open draperies in the daytime and turn on lights (day and night) to accentuate a cheerful atmosphere. If you have a fireplace, burn a Duraflame log. Remove any potentially offensive posters or signs.

Sound: Consider playing soft background music while people tour your home. If there is exterior noise, such as traffic or nearby construction, work with your sales associate to schedule showings around noisy times of day.

Smell: Grinding fresh lemon in a garbage disposal or boiling cinnamon sticks can add a clean, fresh scent. Candles, pot pourri and flowers look nice and smell pleasant. Lingering scents of strong-smelling foods, smoke or pets may be aired out prior to showing the home.

Touch: Your home should appear livable. Potential homebuyers may like to sit in a living area and visit with their sales associate.

Taste: Baking cookies or bread before showing the home adds a pleasant scent to the home. Adding to the hospitable atmosphere, potential homebuyers may also appreciate a cookie or lemonade.

Tips for Showing Your Home: Once you've prepared your home for sale, keep a checklist of items to help you showcase your property to potential homebuyers. Remember that your home will be judged not only on its outward appearance, but also on the feelings it evokes in those who view the property.

Common Sense To ensure your safety, remember to remove keys, jewelry and other valuables from the home during showings. Be sure to share necessary information with your sales associate and potential homebuyers. Gather manuals and warranties on appliances in the home. Make a list of items to be excluded from the sale of the home and whenever possible, remove them from the property. (For example, an outdoor hot tub may look as though it is part of the home, but you plan to take it with you when you move.)

This may seem like a lot of work, and it is, but suggestions like these, plus other guidance that I give my clients, mean your home can sell more quickly, with less hassle and put more money in your pocket.

The buyer, in turn, will be receiving added value as well as a more pleasurable move. I am dedicated to the successful sale of your house—staging your home to show off it's strengths. Call David Walker to find out more information about how you can stage your home for sale.


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