101 Ways To Prepare Your Home For Sale

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.
  • Paint the front door.
  • Buy a new welcome mat.
  • 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).
  • Replace worn door knobs.
  • Fix or replace discolored grout.
  • Replace broken tiles.
  • 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.
  • Clean your fireplace.
  • 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

512-629-6107

 

Don’t Miss the Farm Street Opry!

Farm Street Picture

 

Bastrop, Texas is known as an ideal place to work and raise a family. Their scheduled activities include many options for shopping, learning and entertainment. The majority of those activities are affordable and some occur regularly, so there is always the opportunity to plan for the next event.

 

One event to mark on a calendar will be found at the Bastrop Convention Center on June 5, 2014 at 7:00 PM. The Farm Street Opry occurs the first Thursday of every month and is a family friendly presentation. Fortunately, it is also very affordable to access, with an adult entry fee of only $5.00 and any accompanying children ten and under get in for free.

 

What to Expect at the Event

 

As the name implies, it is a small-town version of the well-known stage. Here, local musicians and visiting talent share their love and talent for country music with the audience. In addition, although concessions are available, no alcohol is sold or permitted at the event.

 

There is always the possibility that this popular event will be prone to lines or could sell out of available seats. Therefore, it is a good idea to arrive soon after the doors open at 5:30 to get the best seats for you and your family.

 

As expected for this type of event, dress will be casual and there will be people of all ages in the audience. There is also likely to be the opportunity for some audience participation, although the focus will obviously be primarily on stage.

 

 

Finally, it is also worth noting that this important event is one of Bastrop’s newer attractions. Its grand opening occurred in April of 2014 and therefore there are still many people who have not experienced it yet. That means it is a good opportunity to take your friends and family, then plan to make it a regular event.

Top 5 Home Selling Mistakes to Avoid in Bastrop

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If you are ready to list your Bastrop or central Texas home for sale, set yourself up for success by avoiding these 5 common selling mistakes:

 

1. Putting your home on the market prematurely. 

 

Presentation is everything when it comes to selling your home. So, before you place your home on the market, address any and all needed repairs, de-clutter, depersonalize and consider staging.

 

2. Improper pricing. 

 

In many cases, homeowners choose to price their home above current market value. The sales price of your home will be determined by the current market value; in other words, what buyers in Bastrop and Central Texas are willing to pay for your property. To determine the fair market value of your home, check recent comparable properties and recent sales in the surrounding area. Working with an experienced real estate agent is key to setting the right price.

 

3. Lack of marketing. 

 

Once your home is listed for sale, it is important to market the property to prospective buyers. This is where using a professional real estate agent really pays off as they are experts in marketing your home through special events, open houses, and professional photographs with descriptions listed on a variety of sites help to place your property in the best possible light, in front of the widest possible audience of buyers.

4. Hiring an inexperienced agent. 

Don’t place one of your largest financial assets in the hands of an inexperienced real estate agent. Choose a professional with not only general experience, but someone familiar with your type of property and neighborhood.

 

5. Don’t go it alone. 

 

While it is tempting to list your property yourself to avoid the costs and fees associated with hiring an experienced real estate agent, this decision could be costly. A local agent stays abreast of the current home market conditions, trends and laws that could affect the pricing and ultimately, the sale of your property. A mistake in the sales process can be very costly and time consuming.

 

Armed with this information, work to proactively avoid these common mistakes when you list your property for sale. If you’re thinking of selling and would like to discuss what you could get for your home, call me today.

US Grand Prix Formula 1 Austin, TX

Formula 1 Picture

Cedar Creek, Texas a small community within Bastrop County. What natives like to call “their little wide spot in the road”. Picturesque farms, ranches, single and 2 story homes dot this beautiful countryside. Cedar Creek has recently made its mark in Central Texas as a hot spot to live, work and play in the not quite so racy fast lane of Austin, Texas, thanks to the addition of the new Circuit of the Americas F1 Racing Track.
An ideal location if you are looking to purchase investment property, or start a new business in a growing community. Are you a racing enthusiast that just wants to be close to the Formula 1 Facility? As your real estate agent David Board Properties can assist you with purchasing land for business or investing, and homes for living.

Cedar Creek, Bastrop County is the perfect location for all of these ventures. With worldwide visitors flocking to the circuit for the F1 United States Grand Prix, mega concert events like Sting and the Austin Fan Fest, these events can only benefit your business.
If you are looking to purchase a home within close proximity to Austin, then Cedar Creek is a great choice for a location. Located just off of Highway 71, a short ride to Austin Bergstrom International Airport and Austin. With the new state of the art Cedar Creek High School-(which was awarded Academic Distinction by the Texas Education Agency), up and coming sports teams (Go Eagles), elementary, middle and intermediate schools and community programs. Cedar Creek is great choice if you have children. The small town feeling welcomes you as you visit local restaurants and shops many off the beaten path but well worth the trip.

Allow me, David L. Board to earn your business and represent all of your real estate needs in the Austin/Bastrop communities. I have lived and worked in Bastrop County for over 25 years and know the area like I know my own backyard. I represent buyers, sellers and those interested in leasing their home or commercial business. I also provide a referral service and assist with relocating to different cities or states. I can provide you with a custom guided tour of hundreds homes or land parcels available in the area based on your individual taste and family needs. Give me a call today to discuss what options are available to you and to schedule an appointment to see what I can do for you. I would be honored earn your business.

Bastrop Mortgage Tips

Here’s a little Austin and Bastrop Real Estate Update for all my central Texas folks. According to Freddie Mac the interest rates for a 15 year fix rate mortgage are holding steady at 3.2% while a 30-fixed rate mortgage are at 4.1%. The interest has ripped a bit over the last few months but has actually gone down for the second week in a row. The Fed’s have done a good job keeping the interest rates down so you still have a nice window of opportunity to take advantage of the low interests rate. If you are seriously considering purchasing a new home I would not recommend waiting long. The Bastrop mortgage interest rates and home price will continue to rise. If you’re considering buying a new home please give me a call or complete the form below. I look forward to seeing you in the Bastrop, TX or Austin, TX soon.

Austin and Bastrop Mortgage Tips

Multiple Quotes

In order to maximize your investment, you need to shop around for the lowest rate possible. Getting multiple quotes is an important first step for getting an optimal rate. When you’re shopping around for quotes, make sure you get a Good Faith Estimate for each offer. This will enable you to compare offers more accurately.

Fixed Rate or Adjustable?

While adjustable rates may start lower to begin, they can ultimately lead to more interest paid over time. If you anticipate a rise in interest rates, a fixed rate may be more appropriate. This can be hard to predict over long periods of time. Fixed rates remain the same for the life of the loan, while adjustable rates fluxuate as the interest rates change. Another important consideration is the margin and index of your Bastrop mortgage. While the margin will stay fixed after closing, the index will fluxuate. The margin is the lenders profit on your loan. This has room for negotiation. The index cannot be changed.

Other Considerations

Some other things to pay attention to when seeking out a Bastrop mortgage:

  • Locking in your rate
  • Prepayment Penalties
  • Discount Points

Halloween Time in Bastrop, Texas

If you lived in Bastrop, Texas right now you might be enjoying the much cooler weather that the rains brought to us last week. That feeling of the Fall season when leaves crunch under your feet and rustle in the winds. When the pecans start to fall and it’s time to rake. You might be decorating your Bastrop yard with scarecrows, cornstalks and Halloween decorations like your neighbors and businesses around town. On October 31, the Bastrop, Texas Downtown Business Alliance transforms the downtown area for their annual Halloween Fest into a spooktacular family fun filled evening for people of all ages.

If you lived in the Historic Bastrop downtown area you could walk the tree-lined streets, see historic Victorian, older or modern homes decked out in Fall finery. Or drive to designated parking areas and take a shuttle bus to the festivities. If you lived here you would see your neighbors in costumes volunteering at the game booths, as street crossing guards, vendors and manning the lost & found booth. You might see your County Judges in their robes with the Mayor at the viewing and judging stand for the best costume contest. You might see your City Council Members hard at work judging the Lip–Syncing contest. The ghosts, goblins, monsters and creatures you might see will truly amaze you. Bastrop, TX has a very vibrant arts community with many talented artists in residence and you never know what they will come up with. The Haunted House gets better and spookier each year as more people volunteer their talents. The Fire Department runs a wonderful hay ride. This is just one of the festivals that Bastrop, TX puts on each year. The sense of family, camaraderie and commitment to the residents of Bastrop County by the residents of the county is what makes Bastrop a special place to live.

If you or maybe someone you know are looking to purchase a home I have the resources to guide you through the entire process to ensure a smooth process. I will work with you to sell your property and to find the perfect home for you and your family that meets your work/life balance needs and your budget. Give me a call today to discuss what options are available and to schedule an appointment to see what I can do for you. I look forward to earning your business.

FHA Loans and Low Down Payments

If you think you need a 20% down payment to purchase a home think again. According to a recent survey nearly 2/3 of all home buyers put down 5% or less and with the interest rates at an historic low there has never been a better time to buy. If you’re thinking about buying your first home in the Austin or Bastrop, TX area, contact me today, I would love to earn your business. There are many options available for those who need assistance with down payments, including a FHA loan.

FHA Loans

An FHA loans is a US Federal Housing Administration backed mortgage which is lent to you by a FHA-approved lender. Federal Housing Administration loans are offered in conjunction with the U.S. Government. These loans are designed to assist home buyers overcome many of the obstacles to buying homes of their own. FHA loans are a loan that affords buyers the following benefits:

  • Low down payments
  • Closing costs can be covered by grants or even gifts
  • No cash reserves needed
  • Co-borrowers that are non-occupying are permitted
  • Depending on the program, loans may be fully assumable

FHA loans are recommended for first time home buyers, people lacking a down payment, those who plan to use gifts or grant money, individuals lacking credit history, and those who are concerned about qualifying income. These loans are also limited to single family homes, townhomes, condos, and manufactured homes on permanent foundations. While there are underwriting requirements on these types of loans, the FHA can allow home buyers to get down payments as low as 3.5 percent. The underwriting requirements tend to be less stringent than conventional loans. While these loans may be a good option for those who cannot come up with the minimum 5 percent down payment of traditional loans, most people would benefit from exploring all of the options available to them, including down payment assistance programs. Check out some starter tips for getting an Austin or Bastrop mortgage.

8 Interior Home Features Buyers Crave

Home buyers are sizing up homes with a long list of preferences. The typical home shopper buys a home with three bedrooms and two full bathrooms, according to the National Association of REALTORS(R) 2013 Home Features Survey. What feature did home shoppers report they most desire in a home? Central air conditioning, according to the survey of 2,000 buyers on 33 home features. Central air conditioning was overwhelmingly the top home feature desired by home shoppers. A home that is cable/satellite TV-ready/Internet was also ranked highly. What else should you be spotlighting on your listing ads for homes that you’re selling? The NAR survey revealed the following eight interior design features that buyers ranked as “very important” in their home search:

1. Walk-in closet in the master bedroom
2. Ensuite master bath
3. New kitchen appliances
4. Eat-in kitchen area
5. Hardwood floors
6. Granite countertops
7. Kitchen island
8. Stainless steel appliances Interior Home Features Buyers Want

State of Texas Home Loan Grant

300 Wildcat (1)Your Texas Legislature working for Peace Officers.
http://www.TexasHeroes.usIn order to be eligible to receive the Homes for Texas Heroes Home Grant Program you must meet the following guidelines:The Homes for Texas Heroes Home Grant Program is for the full time, paid Firefighter, Emergency Medical Services Personnel, Peace Officer, Corrections Officer, Juvenile Corrections Officer, County Jailer, or a Public Security Officer working in the State of Texas.

Detailed definitions of “Heroes” (PDF)

Additionally, the home buyer must:

  • Reside in the State of Texas
  • Meet the income and home purchase price limits
  • Meet standard mortgage underwriting requirements which demonstrate credit worthiness
  • Occupy the purchased home as their primary residence
  • Complete a HUD approved homebuyer education course prior to closing on the home loan

You may purchase the following types of properties:

  • Single Family Residences
  • Condominiums and Town Homes
  • Planned Unit Developments (PUDs)
  • Manufactured Homes (Meeting FHA Guidelines)