Geralyn Brock, 419-450-9477

Helpful Guides: Selling a Home / Help Me Sell Your Home

Of all the things homeowners control when selling their home, the condition of the property is one of the most important

The crucial part of marketing any product is the presentation of the product. In order to compete effectively with other sellers, homeowners must present their homes to the marketplace in an attractive, desirable condition. According to the National Association of Realtors, the average purchaser looks at 10-20 properties prior to purchasing a home. Regardless of how many properties are on the market, available buyers will always seek the best-priced property that is in the best condition.

Think like a Buyer! You are not just selling a house. You are selling shelter, lifestyle, and dreams. Put yourself in the buyer's shoes! Remember, they arrive at your front door wanting to find the right home. Don't make them search somewhere else f or it. Every room in your home will create a desire for the buyer to stay.

Start making a list! Walk outside and take a look at the property through the critical eyes of a buyer. Is there anything that needs repairing, looks worn, or is outdated? Start writing these items down on your list. Walk through the interior and do the same thing.

Do Everything Before Putting Your Home on the Market! Complete all of your repairs, improvements, and enhancements prior to your first showing. Be ready!

Space Management
Room-by-Room Analysis

1.    Repairs 
a.    If something needs repair, FIX IT!  There are probably many things in your job jar that you have been meaning to attend to.  Now is the time. Buyers will mentally add up the cost of repairing these minor flaws (for example, peeling paint and loose wallpaper) and will either mentally deduct from the sale price, or will ask for it to be fixed in the offer.  Fix it now and save yourself the trouble later!
2.    Cleaning
a.    Clean all windows, inside and out!  This makes the house sparkle!
b.    Clean all wall-to-wall carpeting and area rugs. Clean and polish linoleum, tile and wood floors.
c.    Clean and polish all woodwork. Pay particular attention to the kitchen and bath cabinets.
d.    Clean and polish all light fixtures.

3.    Neutralizing
a.    Make your home as appealing to as many people as possible. Forget your personal taste...the average buyer will have a hard time looking beyond blue carpeting and bold wallpaper. Consider replacing unusual or bold colors with neutral tones. Two coats of white paint may be the best investment you ever made.

4.    Space Management
This involves creating the illusion of more space
a.    Arrange furniture to give the rooms as spacious of a feeling as possible. Consider removing furniture from rooms that are crowded. If necessary, store large items.
b.    Pack up collectibles ... both to protect them, and to give the room a more spacious feel. Leave just enough accessories to give the home a personal touch. Dispose of unneeded items.
c.    Remove all clutter and make it a habit to pick up clothing, shoes, and personal possessions each day for possible showings.
d.    Empty closets of off-season clothing and pack for the move. Organize them to demonstrate the most efficient use of space. Leave as few items on the floor or shelves as possible.
e.    Use light to create a sense of space. All drapes should be open. Turn on all of the lights throughout the home before a showing, and be sure to replace any burned out light bulbs!

5.    Atmosphere
Keep in mind your sense of smell as you go through your home. Create the atmosphere of you home as a shelter, a place that is safe and warm, and in good condition.
a.    Remember that some people are much more sensitive to odors than others. Smokers rarely notice the odor of tobacco that fills their homes, and pet owners may be oblivious to objectionable cat or dog odor.
b.    Use products like carpet deodorizers, air fresheners, and room deodorizers, but the best strategy is to remove the source of the smell rather than cover it up.
c.    Often the only way to remove the smell of pet urine from flooring is to rip up the carpeting and padding and replace them. If this is preventing the sale of your home, don't hesitate to make this investment.
d.    If smoking or cooking odors have permeated your home, have your carpets and furniture cleaned, and air out or dry-clean your drapes.
e.    Mildew odors are a big NO-NO. Don't allow wet towels to accumulate in hampers or dirty laundry to pile up in closets.
f.    Once offensive odors are removed, consider adding delightful ones. Recent studies have shown that humans have strong, positive responses to certain smells. Cinnamon, fresh flowers, bread baking in the oven are all excellent ways to enhance your property for sale.

6.    Staging - Interior
This part of preparing your home for sale is the most fun and involves the use of color, lighting, and accessories to emphasize the best features of your home.
a.    Small details can make rooms more attractive and appealing: a vase of flowers, an open book on the coffee table, a basket of birch logs by the fireplace, a scented candle, etc. can make all the difference in a room.
b.    The use of a brightly colored pillow in a wing chair or a throw blanket on a sofa can add dimension and texture to a sterile room.
c.    Soften potentially offending views, but always let light into your rooms. Replace heavy curtains with sheer white panels. Take advantage of natural light as much as possible by cleaning windows, opening shades and drapes, etc. Add lamps and lighting where necessary. Be sure that all fixtures are clean and have functioning bulbs.

7.    Staging - Exterior
a.    Color has the power to attract. A tub of geraniums, a pot of petunias, or a basket of impatiens on the front steps is a welcoming touch.
b.    If you are selling during the winter months, consider using a wreath or dried flowers on the front door.
c.    If you have a porch or deck, set the stage with pots of flowers and attractively arranged furniture.
d.    Check that all doors and windows are in good working order. Clean and paint if necessary.
e.    Wash all windows and replace any broken and cracked windowpanes.
f.    Screens should be free of any tears or holes.
g.    Inspect all locks to ensure that they are functioning properly.
h.    Check for loose or missing shingles.
i.    Invest in a new doormat that says "Welcome."
j.    Make sure the yard is neatly mowed, raked, and edged.
k.    Prune and shape shrubbery and trees to compliment your house.
l.    Dedicate at least one area of your yard to outdoor living: Buyers will recognize a scene set with a picnic table and chair and respond positively to it. Cover your table with a fringed, red-and-white checked cloth, set out some plastic plates and glasses, bring out the barbecuing equipment, and buyers will almost smell the hot dogs cooking!
m.    The driveway is no place for children's toys. Not only are such things dangerous, the clutter is unsightly.
n.    The driveway surface should be beyond reproach; it's one of the first things a buyer will see when he drives up. Sweep and wash the driveway and walks to remove debris, dirt and stains. Repair and patch the cracks, edge the sides and pull up any weeds.

8.    Room By Room Analysis
a.    Foyer - Front Entry
i.    What impression does your entry make? Dried flowers or a small plant can make a striking focal point on a hall table any time of the year.
ii.    Any entry hall will benefit from a well-place mirror to enlarge the area.
iii.    The buyer will observe the flooring in the entryway carefully. Make sure the surface is spotless.
iv.    The entryway closet is the first one inspected. Make it appear roomy. Add a few extra hangers. Hang a bag of cedar chips or a pomander ball to give a pleasant, fresh scent. Remove all off-season clothing.

b.    Living Areas
Think of these areas as if they are furniture showrooms. Your job is to make each room generate a positive response. Add touches that make a room look truly inviting.
i.    Sweep and clean the fireplace. Place a few logs on the grate to create an attractive appearance. You are welcome to have a fire going for showings during the winter creates a great atmosphere.
ii.    Place something colorful on the mantel, but don't make it look like a country craft store.
iii.    Improve the traffic flow by removing excess furniture. Have an easy traffic flow pattern. Be sure that all doors open fully and easily.
iv.    Draw attention to exposed beams or cathedral ceilings with special lighting. Be sure to remove any cobwebs and dust.
v.    Remove oversized television sets if they dominate the room. If necessary, substitute with a smaller one until you move.

c.    Dining Room
i.    Avoid going overboard. To be effective, any stage setting that you create should reflect the character of your entire home appropriately.
ii.    Set the scene by setting the table with an attractive arrangement. Add fresh or silk flowers as a centerpiece.
iii.    Visually enlarge a small dining area. If your dining table has extra leaves, take one or two out. Consider placing your dining table against the wall. Remove any extra "company" chairs. Consider putting the oversized pieces in storage until you house is sold.
d.    Kitchen
i.    Pay particular attention to your kitchen. This room continues to be the "heart of the home." A pleasant, workable kitchen is near the top of most buyers' list of priorities and is a room that buyers always scrutinize closely.
ii.    Avoid clutter! Clean counters of small appliances and store whenever possible to maximize the appearance of workspace.
iii.    Check the counter top around your sink, and remove any detergent or cleanser, etc. that may be cluttering the area.
iv.    Sinks, cabinets, appliances, and counter tops should be clean and fresh.
v.    All appliances should be absolutely clean, bright, sparkling, and shiny!
vi.    Clean off the top of the refrigerator! If you must use that space for storage, use baskets and bowls to camouflage the items kept there.
vii.    Set the scene with an open cookbook, a basket filled with fruit, a basket of silk flowers, or a ceramic mixing bowl and wire whisk.
viii.    Create the aroma associated with happy homes! Bake some cookies from premixed, refrigerated cookie dough, start baking a loaf of refrigerated bread dough, or pop a frozen apple pie in the oven.
ix.    In the heat of the summer, place a bowl of lemons or limes on the counter to provide a fresh and pleasant aroma.
x.    Clean and organize all storage space. If your cabinets, drawers, and closets are crowded and overflowing, buyers assume to your storage space is inadequate. Give away items you don't use; storing seldom used items elsewhere, or reorganize the shelves. Neat, organized shelves and drawers look larger and more adequate for prospective buyer's needs.
xi.    Large, cheerful kitchen windows are an advantage and should be highlighted as a special feature of your home. Take a critical look at the window it clean, sharp, and up-to-date? Do the curtains need washing or the blinds need cleaning? Would the window area look better without any window treatment?
xii.    Set the table for an informal mean with bright placemats and a generous bowl of fruit as a centerpiece.

e.    Laundry Room
A separate laundry room is a true asset and is one of the most frequent requests buyers make during a home search. Don't hide this treasure behind closed doors. Spruce up the room and open the door proudly for inspection.
i.    Add a fresh coat of paint or put up cheerful wallpaper.
ii.    Organize all closets and storage spaces.
iii.    Remove all dirty laundry. Keep current with your laundry or store all dirty laundry in a closed container.
iv.    Clean and polish the washer and dryer.

f.    Stairways
i.    Stairways should provide an attractive transition from one level of your home to another.
ii.    Make sure the stairs are safe! Stair lighting should be more than adequate, stairs must be clutter-free, stair railings tight and secure, runners or carpeting tacked securely.
iii.    If the stairs are a focal point of the main living areas, carefully choose accents to improve the visual appeal. If you have a wide, gracious staircase, emphasize this feature by hanging a few pictures along the wall. Draw attention to a handsome lighting fixture by polishing the brass and dusting each small light bulb or crystal prism.

g.    Bedrooms
i.    Large master bedrooms are particularly popular among today's homebuyers. Make your bedroom larger. Paint the room a light color, remove one of the bureaus if the room is crowded, and minimize clutter to maximize spaciousness. Aim for a restful, subdued look.
ii.    A private bathroom off the master bedroom is a real sales plus. Decorate to coordinate with the color scheme of your bedroom, creating the "suite" effect.
iii.    Virtually all buyers are looking for a house with plenty of closet space. Try to make what you have appear generous and well planned. Remove and store all out-of-season clothing. Remove any items from the floor area. This will make a closet seem more spacious. Arrange all shelves to maximize the use of space.
iv.    Make sure all articles in the closet are fresh and clean smelling. When prospective buyers open your closet door, they should be greeted with a whiff of fresh smelling air.
v.    Make sure all closet lights have adequate wattage and are operating. Add battery-operated lights to those closets that lack them. Lighted closets look bigger, and are more attractive, and allow buyers to inspect the interiors easily.
vi.    Remove any crowded, unusual, or personal wall hangings such as posters and store them until your home is sold.

h.    Bathrooms
i.    Wise sellers take special pains when preparing their bathrooms for scrutiny by strangers. The bathroom is a room and a very personal one. Prospects will inspect yours carefully, so be sure it is immaculate. Cleanliness is the key! Make sure that all surfaces are spotless.
ii.    Replace worn or dirty shower curtains, clean and repair caulking, and remove nonskid bath decals.
iii.    Clear off countertops and store all personal care products out of sight.
iv.    Repair any faucets that leak or do not function properly. Clean off mineral deposits with vinegar or commercial products.
v.    Clean and organize all cabinets and drawers. Don't forget the medicine cabinet and the storage cabinet under the sink. Dispose of old items and polish the shelves.
vi.    Remember to appeal to a wide range of buyers. Play down dominant colors with contrasting neutral colored towels and accessories. If your bathroom is mostly white or neutral, add a few cheerful accents of color. Don't hesitate to buy a few new towels and a'll be taking them with you to your new home.
vii.    Scrub and wax an old floor. Cover the largest area you can with a freshly washed scatter rug.
viii.    Decorate and personalize to create a pleasing, individual look. Consider bringing out your best towels and perfumed guest soaps. Add a plant for color and freshness.

i.    Garage
i.    Sweep and wash the floor to remove dirt and stains. Organize tools, garden equipment, bicycles, etc. A clean, organized garage appears larger.
ii.    If the area is dark, add more light. If it is small and accommodates only one car, remove your car before buyers visit. An empty garage always looks larger. If you have a two-car garage with very little extra room, remove one of your cars so that buyers can make their inspection in comfort.
iii.    Get rid of anything that you don't plan to move to your new home. Place remaining stored material neatly in boxes, and position away from walls. 
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