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Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Tips for Preparing Your Home for Sale

The buying and selling season is definitely picking up steam here with The Boehmer Team at Prudential Select Properties.  The phones are ringing and homes are coming on the market at a rapid pace.  It is amazing what a difference it makes to walk into a home that is truly prepared to be on the market.  Believe me, little things do make a big difference! 

Much of what we are talking about doesn’t cost you much if anything.  It may take a little elbow grease and time, but the payoff is far greater than the effort and you have a well organized home.  The message sent by how the home is presented is far greater than most home sellers realize.  Let’s face it, buyers will snoop.  If they see organized, well maintained and clean areas they assume the home has been well maintained and taken care of.   Buyers don’t want to think that the home has just been surface cleaned for the sale, but has been meticulously maintained throughout the time you have owned the home.  A home with lesser features but impeccably presented stands a good chance of being in the game.

The most critical part of this puzzle is pricing and marketing the home appropriately.   

Here are a few thoughts on preparing your home for sale:
  1. Curb appeal counts!  Pull up and take a good look yourself.  Sidewalks should be cleared of debris, the lawn should be mowed if the season allows, landscape should be trimmed with fresh mulch, flowers planted in season (yellow is inviting), the house numbers clearly readable from the street and any planters that are displayed should filled with fresh flowers or removed. 
  2. The front door should be clean, dust free, door knob polished and nicely painted.  It is the first thing you see as you approach the home.
  3. Make sure your doors (inside and out) are squeak free.  This is a simple fix that takes only minutes.
  4. Declutter - Less is more.  If you are committed to moving, pack up items that you do not use on a regular basis and stack them neatly in a storage area either in your basement or in a storage unit.  Kitchen and bathroom counters, drawers, closets and rooms should be simply displayed.
  5. Neutral colors- We both love color.  It makes a home show with so much personality, makes pictures show better and adds interest to rooms.  Although, when selling we have found that a neutral color works best for most buyers.  It should be rich enough to make white trim stand out and add warmth to the room but not to dark to make the rooms look small.  Many times we see sellers paint white to be neutral.  We personally do not find that to be the answer, as it appears very stark, cold and impersonal.  Make neutral choices to avoid being remembered as the “house with the purple bathroom”.  Consider adding color with accessories if necessary.
  6. Replace burned out bulbs so the home shows bright and airy.
  7. Knock down cobwebs, they tend to show up in corners and light fixtures.
  8. Laundry Rooms are important.  They should be fresh and organized.  This will make the room look larger and more inviting.
  9. Closets are equally important.  They should be orderly, shoes lined up instead of piled, and hanging clothes should be hanging the same direction.  Remove seasonal clothes.  An organized closet will appear larger than a cluttered closet. 
  10. Wash your windows, window sills and door tracks.
  11. Re-caulk any areas that the caulk has dried up or pulled away, especially in Kitchens and Baths.
  12. Dust the ceiling fans, they tend to get overlooked.
  13. Clean out the refrigerator and run your dishwasher, believe it or not people do look.
  14. Beware of unpleasant odors.  This is a huge turn off whether it is pet odors, cooking odors or an overdose of air freshener.
  15. Replace worn throw rugs with fresh, attractive replacements.  This allows you to add a splash of color as well as define an area.
  16.  Polish chrome faucets, they will sparkle.
  17. If you have a challenging room, stage it.  It is a problem when a buyer can not figure out how to arrange a room.  Solve the problem for them by staging.
  18. Fix obvious problems.  If you know that everyone walking through the home will see a flaw in the home that will need to be repaired before selling, fix it before listing the home.
  19. Create a focal point in every room.  This gives buyers something to focus on and fall in love with.
  20. Concentrate on big impact rooms.  If they love these rooms, buyers will usually accept less than perfect conditions in other areas.
  21. Hardwood is in!  It is warm, inviting, can make small rooms appear larger and is a top feature that buyers are looking for.
  22. In areas that require a municipal inspection, you may want to consider having the inspection done in advance to address any items that may come up.
  23. Consider getting an appraisal in advance if you are unsure of your position in the market.
  24. Hire a quality agent.  Interview qualified candidates that have made a commitment to their profession, have embraced technology and are willing to go the extra mile to earn your business.
  25. PRICE IT APPROPRIATELY!  The best agent and the best marketing in the world will not sell an overpriced listing.  It will certainly help you be positioned for a sale.  Have your professional Realtor review comparable sales with you to ensure you are positioned to sell in the shortest amount of time at the highest price. 

We hope these home selling tips are helpful to you.  If moving is on your mind or you are considering buying or selling Real Estate in the Metropolitan St. Louis and St. Charles County area, please visit us on the web at

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