Posted on October 31, 2015
101 Ways To Prepare Your House For Sale
A great first impression is a key to selling your house or condo. Prospective buyers want to see your home in “showplace” condition. Most buyers select their home based on emotion and then justify the decision with facts, so it’s important to make the house look great. Remember, you have just a few seconds to create a winning first impression. Here are 101 ways to prepare your house for sale to help boost your bottom line and sell your home quickly.
Start with the outside
The first impression people have of your home is what it looks like from the outside. Believe it or not, some buyers make a decision to keep on driving to the next property just by looking at the outside of the house. Here are some tips to make them want to come inside:
- Spruce up the lawn by cutting, trimming, weeding and removing all yard clutter. A great-looking lawn makes a great first impression.
- Weed and apply fresh mulch to flower beds – it gives a fresh and maintained look for a low cost.
- Trim your trees and bushes.
- Apply fresh paint to wooden fences.
- Power wash home’s exterior, driveway, walkway, patio and deck.
- Consider painting if the house needs it, or if the color is “dated” – a fresh coat of paint on the outside can make the house look completely updated.
- Ensure all gutters and downspouts are firmly attached and functioning.
- Place potted flowers near the front door.
- Plant some bright flowers in places that could use some brightening.
- Tighten and clean all door handles.
- Clean windows inside and out – make them sparkle.
- Make sure your house numbers are easy to see, and consider getting new ones if it would improve the look from the street.
Now let’s go inside
The way you live in a home and the way you sell a home are two different things. Once your home is on the market it’s in competition with other properties – it needs to always look like a model home. Even if you aren’t Mr. or Ms. Perfect, your home needs to look like you are. Here are tips on keeping the inside of your home looking its best.
The entryway sets the stage:
- Replace the entrance light bulbs to brighten up the entry, and make sure the light is on if people are coming at dusk or after dark.
- Make sure the doorbell works.
- Make sure the door is in perfect working order. No squeaking, jamming or sticking locks. Make it effortless to get in the house.
- Once inside, make sure the entryway is free of clutter: shoes, coats, umbrellas and anything that takes up space.
- If you have an entry table or shelves keep them clutter free.
- Make the front closet look spacious and uncluttered by removing any extra coats, shoes, hats, gloves, etc.
Tips for every room in the house:
- Go through your home room by room and pack up 30% of your stuff. You want it as clutter free as possible.
- Evaluate the furniture in each room and remove anything that interrupts “the flow” or makes the room appear smaller. Consider renting a storage unit to move items off-site.
- Clean or paint walls and ceilings. Use a neutral color. You don’t want buyers to remember your home as “the house with the purple bedroom.”
- If carpeting is in good condition and neutral in color, have it cleaned. If not, replace it. Off-white carpet is best; this makes the rooms look larger and cleaner.
- If replacing the carpet pad, select a very thick one then install just a modest grade of carpeting. The feel will be plush and expensive, but it’s not.
- Clean or refinish wood floors.
- Pack everything from all closets that you don’t need. You want to create the perception of roominess.
- Remove everything but a week’s worth of linens from the linen closet. Fold them neatly and color-coordinate them. I’m not kidding.
- Remove out-of-season clothes from clothes closets.
- During the day, have all your curtains and blinds open. If the day is cloudy, turn on all lights as well.
- Make sure blinds, shades and window coverings hang level.
- Brighter is better. Upgrade all your light bulbs to at least 100 watts to make your house appear bigger more inviting.
- Replace all burned out light bulbs.
- Clean all light fixtures and ceiling fans.
- Remove any family photos you have displayed. Too much of your personality in evidence does not allow for the potential buyer to “mentally” move in.
- Repair all plumbing leaks, including faucets and drain traps.
- Make minor repairs (torn screens, sticking doors, cracked caulking).
- Fix or replace discolored grout.
- If you have pets, get rid of pet odors.
Make the most of your kitchen and dining room:
- Make your kitchen look more spacious by removing everything from the counter like the coffeemaker, toaster, flour container, etc.
- Your eat-in kitchen and dining room should have a table and chairs in it to showcase the rooms’ purpose.
- Remove extra leaves from your dining room table to make the room look larger.
- Set the dinner table or counter bar to help buyers envision the room.
- Make sure the inside of your cabinets are organized and clean. Store non-essential items elsewhere to make the cabinets look more spacious.
- If your cabinets show wear and tear, you might want to paint them. A simple trick to update the look of your cabinet doors is to replace your current knobs with new ones.
- Make sure that your counter is spotless and shiny.
- Remove notes, pictures and coupons from the refrigerator door.
- Keep garbage and recycling bins out of sight.
- Keep the exotic spices and fish to a minimum when cooking the night before a showing. Work towards achieving a “clean” smell.
- Get rid of kitchen odors by pouring hot salt water down the drain twice a week. Also, grind some lemon rind in the disposal.
Help buyers see themselves in the living room:
- Take down personal photographs and family items that create the sense that this is your home. You don’t want the buyer wondering, “Who lives here?” You want the buyer to see themselves living there.
- If you have a favorite “old” chair that doesn’t go with the rest of the furniture, remove it. Big furniture can weigh down a space.
- During “showings” turn on all lights and lamps.
- If your furniture shows the effect of raising kids or if pets have ruined the rugs and upholstery, think about storing or removing your existing furniture. Buy, borrow or rent what you need.
- Have your DVD collection, CDs and video games out of sight.
- Open the drapes and blinds. Nothing is more depressing than walking into a home where shades, curtains and drapes are closed.
- Remove all knick-knacks under 10 inches tall.
Make the bathrooms sparkle:
- Put the trash can under the vanity to clear floor space to make the bathroom appear as big as possible. Always empty bathroom trash cans before showings.
- A new shower curtain is a great investment – very little money for a big impact.
- Things like toilet cleaners, plungers, and hampers add clutter; put them away while you’re selling your house.
- Keep all reading material out of sight in the bathroom.
- Place personal items (such as hairdryers, makeup kits, and hairbrushes) in cupboards or drawers.
- Hang matching new towels; go for the best-looking towels you can. Like shower curtains, they add a nice impact.
- Remove everything from the countertop, except pretty soap sets, candles or fresh flowers.
- Check the faucets for leaks, drips or disrepair. Repair or buy new faucets if they are leaky or worn out.
- New silicone beading can do wonders for your shower, tub and sink area…especially if the caulking is stained or cracking.
- Shine your faucets and knobs and use cleaner to prevent water spots.
- Keep your shower and tub spotless. Buyers will often look behind the curtain. Keep shampoos and soaps to a minimum.
- Scrub tiles and bleach – or replace – the grout so it all sparkles.
- Replace or paint the vanity if it shows excessive wear and tear. Replacing knobs can give an updated look to an older vanity.
Make the bedrooms look big:
- Remember that buyers love to snoop and are likely to look in your closets. Make sure the closets are as spacious looking as they can be. Remove all the clothes, shoes, and items that you won’t be using right away.
- Candles and fresh flowers are excellent accessories on bedroom furniture.
- New bedspreads or quilts make a bedroom look inviting.
- Make your bed look pretty and make sure the bedspread or quilt fits the bed properly and hangs low enough to cover the view under the bed. Buyers won’t look under the bed, so you can store other non-essential items there.
- Put away the stacks of reading material on night stands and leave room for one good book.
- In kids’ rooms, posters, photos, drawings and awards are all personal items that should be taken down for showing the house. You want the buyers to imagine the rooms as their own.
- Put away all items that are hanging off the backs of doors. Cluttered and clanking doors often make the room feel smaller – especially if they don’t allow the door to open all the way.
- Hang your clothes by category: all blouses together, all shirts together, buttoned and facing the same direction.
- In kids’ bedrooms, be sure to put the toys in boxes or bins, and slide them under the bed.
- Items that you don’t need should be taken out of the closet to make them more spacious. If you need to, get a storage space for them.
- Coordinate your clothing in your closets and line shoes up neatly so it looks as organized as possible.
Create a clutter-free home office:
- Store all the files and paperwork you don’t need for everyday function.
- Remove big, bulky filing cabinets that take up a lot of space and store them somewhere else to make the office look bigger.
- Clean everything off the desk surface, leaving only your computer and desk lamp. A neat desktop makes the work space look more functional.
- Store all personal and confidential or client information out of sight. Set up a password protected screensaver on your desktop.
- Weed out the postings on bulletin boards or wall organizers. A few things are okay to make the office look organized and functional, but an overcrowded bulletin board looks crowded.
- If your office is a part of another room, make sure it doesn’t overpower the main function of the room. If it’s in the dining room, consider setting up temporary space elsewhere.
Make the most of the basement/laundry spaces:
- Tidy up and organize your basement. Discard, donate or recycle items you can give away.
- If you have unfinished concrete floors, paint the concrete to give it a cleaner look.
- Be sure to clean and polish the washer and dryer to give them a bright and shiny look.
- Put all detergents, laundry items and irons out of sight. Remove any residue that may have accumulated in the laundry sink.
- A bright throw rug in front of the washer and dryer will often help cheer up unfinished laundry rooms.
Finally, tackle the garage
The garage is usually the catch-all area where everything goes that has no other place to go, so it’s usually a mess. If your garage isn’t neat, no buyer would surmise that you take good care of the whole house. You’re going to say I’m going to extremes but believe me, this works every time.
- Empty everything out of the garage. Hose down the floor, and if there are stains remaining, paint it porch gray.
- Paint the garage walls off-white using a flat latex paint.
- After the paint is dry – put everything back in the garage piece by piece and throw out what you won’t be taking with you. Then organize what’s left.
- If you have a storage shed, organize it the same way and if it needs a coat of paint or stain, do it.
- Use an open bag of charcoal to absorb moisture in the storage shed.
- If you have too much “stuff,” rent a storage unit and store it there.
Want to know more about getting ready to sell your home? Give me a call.
David L. Board, Realtor
Posted on August 24, 2015
7Th Flag Coffee Shop
Many of you that follow me on Facebook know by now that I’m a huge coffee shop fan and I can usually be found in coffee shops all over Austin and Bastrop. You might ask yourself why do I hangout in so many coffee shops? Well for one thing, I don’t drink alcohol or frequent the bars or clubs, so those are really not an option for me and to be totally honest, I love the quiet atmosphere of most coffee shops. Being the busy realtor that I am, I have a ton of paperwork to do and I would much rather get’er done in a coffee shops sipping on my favorite java. It’s so much better than working from home or in an office somewhere. I also run into folks that have questions about the real estate market and of course I’m always eager to offer my advice in hopes of turning them into a client one day. My daily routine usually starts off with a stop at the Starbucks in Bastrop for a Vente dark roast coffee and a blueberry oatmeal. I pray to Baby Jesus they don’t leave out the dang blueberries which they have been known to do on occasion and that can definitely ruin a morning. While at Starbucks in Bastrop I’m able catch up on the local news, also know as gossip, from the regulars who have a wealth of information about the going ons in my little town. They have all this gossip and don’t know what else to do with it other that to spread it around.
During the mid afternoons or weekends I usually venture off with my Austin friend Jacob Streckfus another coffee enthusiast to the Starbucks on Riverside Dr, Dominican Joe’s on Congress or 7th Flag on 1st Street in Austin where I indulge in a tall refreshing glass of ice brewed coffee. I must admit I didn’t acquire the taste of iced coffee until recently and you know when the temperature hits a 105 degrees outside the last thing you want is something hot. I can’t leave out a few of my other Austin favorites like Bennue Coffee, Buzz Mill, Halcyon, Gunuine Joe’s and Cherrywood Coffeehouse located off 38th Street. I could go on and on but I think you get the point, I like coffee shops, a lot.
7Th Flag Coffee
So if you are feeling social and prefer coffee shops over bars and are looking for some friendly conversation about real estate, politics, fun things to do in Austin or Bastrop, well feel free to hit me up. While I have your attention if you are thinking about buying or seller real estate in the Austin or Bastrop area please feel free to give me a call. I would love to earn your business.
Posted on August 22, 2015
Home For Sale
Don’t miss out on this unique opportunity to purchase this large 2,209 SF +/- 5-bedroom, 2.5 bath home located in the Colorado Crossing. This home priced at only $225,000 can be found in south east Austin near McKinney Roughs located only a short distance from Bergstrom International Airport and only 15 minuted from the world famous downtown Austin. And don’t forget you have easy access to the toll road for quick trips to north or south Austin.
You won’t find many 5-bedroom homes built in 2011 that are priced at $225,000 so call David Board now to schedule your private tour. The master bedroom with master bath is located downstairs and the other 4 rooms are located upstairs. This home has very tall ceilings, recessed lights, new carpets installed August 2015 and a fresh coat of paint throughout, large private backyard for family fun and entertainment and located directly across the street from the kiddy park. If you are looking for a move in ready home this is the home for you and if you are worried about financing don’t worry I have several preferred lenders that I work closely with and they are ready to get you pre qualified today.
Posted on February 2, 2015
If you are looking to get out of the house this weekend and you happen to be in the Smithville area please stop by and see this beautiful 1953 home that hit the market last week. This home will be OPEN to the public on February 7th between 1-3 pm so don’t miss out on the chance to see this 4-bedroom, 2-bath 2,057 sf home nestled under 6-massive producing pecan trees. Any while your at it bring your friends, family and anybody else you think might be in the market to purchase a home.
Posted on January 25, 2015
This beautiful two-story home with 2,477 feet of floor space located in one of Bastrop’s finest family neighborhoods hits the market in the coming weeks and it can be all yours for $169,500. You definitely don’t miss the opportunity to get ahead of the Summer time buying curb and view this spacious four bedroom, two and one half baths located in Riverside Grove. Located walking walking distance from Bob Bryant Park and the Colorado River. All bedrooms are located upstairs, along with two full baths. Downstairs you’ll find two formal living rooms with a fireplace, open kitchen with gas stove and breakfast area for the kids. if you are interested in purchasing this home or other please give me a call, I would love to be your realtor.
Posted on August 19, 2014
Estimates so far indicate that summer 2014 is likely to be a better than usual season for Bastrop, TX home sales. The past winter threw a wet blanket over all kinds of business activity, creating a perfect scenario for a sale bounce back—and that’s exactly what is beginning to show up in the stats. As Bloomberg News reported last week, sales of homes “climbed in April for the first time in three months…the biggest in six months…”
If you will be taking advantage of the uptick by listing your property for this summer’s market, having an open house in Bastrop, TX is a prime way to attract prospective buyers. With a little focus and energy, getting your home in shape can be easier than you might imagine.
The checklist is short:
The place to begin is with the landscaping—it frames the picture that’s the first thing buyers’ see when they pull up during the warm months. If you don’t have summer flowers planted, that’s okay—improvise! Purchase a few hanging baskets and potted plants. Place them along pathways, the entrance, and other places that could use a little bit of color. Hose the exterior, but if the years have been too tough, you may need a refresher coat of paint or trim. Perk up the lawn with an easy-to-apply lawn food spray; edge where needed; then mow and admire!
Get a Fresh Outlook
Give your windows a good cleaning (outside first)—it’s surprising the amount of sparkle that simple job can add to your Bastrop, TX open house. Air the house thoroughly as you do a deep clean where it’s needed: usually a shampoo of carpets and rugs will accomplish the lion’s share of the work. Add some summer color to your rooms with fresh throw pillows, and as your open house draws near, see where a few well-placed floral arrangements would add bright color to draw the eye.
Before the day of your open house, there are a few more quick checks to be made. Walk around the house. Are the air conditioner units clean? Are the gutters and rainspouts in good shape? Outdoor spaces are great selling points to make your home more attractive to buyers, and a summertime Bastrop, TX open house creates the perfect opportunity to show them off. There are always a few little things you’ve been meaning to attend to…now is the time!
Looking for more open house tips? Call me today if you’re thinking of listing your Bastrop, TX home for sale. We can discuss a marketing plan to get your home S-O-L-D this summer!
Posted on August 1, 2014
When you begin scouring the Bastrop, TX listings for a new home, the cost of the home appears to be right there at the top: the asking price. All the other details about the property are there, too, but they usually get close attention only after that dollar amount at the top falls within (well, is at least close to) your target number.
But as soon as the shopping starts to narrow the field, the financial implications of those other details begin to reveal themselves. Good thing! In fact, the true bottom line cost of your new Bastrop, TX home will be greatly affected by them.
Many buyers work with the details exactly as presented—but as a purchase grows more likely, they should consider them simply as starting points. Back when home prices were racing steadily upward, it may have been okay to assume that price appreciation would make up for any exaggerations or oversights about the property (whether inadvertent or not), but today’s more cautious buyers appreciate how the disclosures impact the real cost of a property. They know how expensive it can be to correct inaccuracies later on.
When comparing properties, it’s time well spent to confirm as much of the information as practical. It will give you confidence that you aren’t missing potential expenses or devaluing factors when figuring the cost of a home versus its true value. Some relevant factors
- •Even when there are laws requiring sellers to disclose obvious repairs, those that are less obvious can come as a surprise after the keys are handed over. Some may not even be known to the seller; for example, mold in walls caused from earlier flooding may not be visible, or termites that are just starting to colonize the structure might not be obvious. That’s why consulting with a home inspector is so important. The best ones know the places to look for the telltale signs it takes an expert to uncover.
- •If the property you are considering belongs to a homeowner’s association or is subject to any kind of maintenance fees, be sure to factor in those costs. Ask for copies of receipts for the last few payments—then find out what plans have been announced that might mean future increases.
- •Bastrop< TX property taxes will obviously figure in your home cost calculations, but it’s good to know the basis upon which the property is taxed. Unrecorded improvements could raise that figure: so have a look at the recent bills. If you have questions, a check with the assessor’s office should settle them.
- •Don’t just have a chat about the cost of utilities—you should request copies of the utility bills for at least the last full year. Water and power (and sometimes sewer and other utility expenses) can be more substantial than you’d expect, significantly increasing the cost of your Bastrop home’s annual operation.
These factors all play parts in determining the true cost of a home in Bastrop —its current purchase price and a sound projection of the cost of living in it. Accurate estimates of both are what you need to guide your decision about whether to make an offer—and what that offer should be.
If you are thinking of buying in Bastrop this summer or fall, do contact me today. I’ll help you to be sure the right questions are asked!
Posted on July 28, 2014
It’s a bit complicated, selling a home in Bastrop, TX. Although you can make a case for the feasibility of doing the whole thing yourself, there are enough areas of knowledge where experience, expertise, and even licensure are recommended that few would ever try it.
At the end of the day, selling a Bastrop, TX home is a true team undertaking. And you’re the one selling a home, so you’re Captain. In addition to interviewing and selecting the Bastrop real estate agent you will be working with, there are other professionals you should plan to engage as well. Here’s who and why:
It’s quite a good idea to have a professional inspection performed at your property before selling a home. In addition to any major issues that could affect your smartest listing price, you want to be made aware of any minor issues before buyers come across them. Sometimes small details that are easy to fix can upset timing and even derail a deal entirely.
As a seller, you shouldn’t try to value your property blindly. To do so runs the risk of over- or undervaluing it—and a smart listing price is a key element in the successful selling of a home. Your agent will give you key guidance on pricing. However, having a professional appraisal performed in advance can help support your price to potential buyers (especially if you are asking a high number that could be difficult to otherwise support). While the buyer’s bank will require their own appraisal, the money spent here in advance can help speed up the offer and/or negotiations.
The most difficult part of selling a home is finding and attracting a serious buyer. Fortunately, this is a burden your Bastrop real estate agent will shoulder for you. But before everyone has signed on the dotted line, it’s important to understand what the financial and tax implications will be once you’ve sold. If you have gains, you want to know how much—if any—tax burden it will trigger. If there is a loss, you’ll want to know how to turn that to your advantage. Either way, knowing the tax implications before you list may well affect the price you list at or will accept.
Thinking of buying or selling a home in Bastrop soon? Why not come by or give me a call? I’ll be here at the office, working hard for my clients all summer.
Posted on July 18, 2014
When you set about buying a house, you will have already taken as a given that this will be among the most expensive purchases you will ever make. It’s going to be your house on the line; you’ll want to make sure you have the top resources in your arsenal. Chief among them will be having a Realtor® in the Bastrop and Central Texas who understands your goals, respects your bottom line—and who sees the joint goal the way you do: recognizing the right properties when they become available, and helping to remove any and all obstacles to securing it.
But this summer, just how will you recognize the Realtor® in Bastrop, TX who fits the bill?
Who Do You Know?
The right Bastrop, TX Realtor knows every leading vendor in the business and can introduce you to as a valued client. Need an inspector or attorney? Maybe a floor guy to price out staining the hardwood? The right Realtor will know the key players at every step, and will be able to get the facts and inside scoop to help you sound out the right decisions. Often you’ll be presented with multiple options for each resource so you’ll be sure you have a vetted group of experts to choose from.
What am I Looking For?
The right Realtor in Bastrop, TX will interview you to pin down as closely as possible which of your goals are must-haves…and which want-to-haves. Before long, your Realtor will understand instinctively what matters to you, how that translates to the current listings; and even how it matches inventory that’s waiting in the wings. If you’re a first-time homebuyer, you’re likely to find that the right Bastrop, TX Realtor will answer some of your questions even before you know what to ask!
How Can I Reach You?
If you’ve ever had trouble—real trouble—reaching an agent, you’ll appreciate that a great Realtor in Bastrop, TX has not only excellent communication skills, but back-up systems in place to be quickly available for questions, showings and negotiations. So make sure you ask all Realtor candidates how she or he plans to field last-minute or urgent requests.
The right Realtor in Bastrop, TX will always demonstrate having your best interests at heart—from the first home viewing to the day you close. If you’re interviewing Realtors in Bastrop, TX to help with either buying or selling a home, I’d love to show you what my team and I can accomplish for you this summer!