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

 

Top 5 Home Selling Mistakes to Avoid in Bastrop

IMG_0085

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.

Bastrop Tradition: Happy Holidays

Home for the holidays? It really has special meaning when you find the perfect home for you and your family.  As you unpack your lives, dreams, and settle in the wonderful and historic community of Bastrop, Texas bringing with you old family traditions and starting new ones as you begin your new adventure in Bastrop.

Bastrop’s River of Lights Walking Trail

One of the most treasured Bastrop traditions that take place each year is the River of Lights Walking Trail. The trail takes place in Fisherman’s Park which is along the Colorado River. It continues for half a mile to Ferry Park. It has been popular since its inception, with over 100 sponsors in the first year. Each year, area merchants, businesses, churches, community groups and individuals decorate trees with lights, garland and all of the trimmings and set up lighted Christmas and Holiday displays. There are many individuals who sponsor a memorial for loved ones or simply want to decorate one of the trees in the park. There are about 20 various school groups, Band Boosters, PTA, Boy and Girl Scout Troops, 4H Clubs and other community groups set up stands along the trail selling cookies, hot chocolate and coffee to raise money for their projects. This is a great healthy tradition to enjoy a stroll along the River of Lights after your holiday meals. The half mile trail is open from the Friday after Thanksgiving evening until New Years Eve.

Bastrop. Texas is located on Highway 71, a short ride from the Austin Bergstrom International Airport and Austin, the States Capital. If you’re interested in a personalized tour or real estate consulting in the Bastrop area, set up an appointment with me. I have the resources to guide you through the sometimes complex home buying process and I will do my very best to ensure a smooth transition for you and your family.

Board is going BOLD

I am pleased to announce that after three successful years as a real estate agent with Keller Williams, the Nation’s largest real estate agency, I am ready to take my business to the next level.  Starting October 21st I will be taking the highly recommended and sought after course BOLD.  BOLD is a 7-week intensive course that’s based on the book BUSINESS OBJECTIVE: A Life By Design, written by Dianna Kokoszka, BOLD  is designed to condition agents with powerful mindset exercises, language techniques, business-building strategies and live lead generation activities. My overall purpose for taking this course is to improve my business skills and gain the additional knowledge, expertise and education so that I can better serve my clients in the Austin and Bastrop, TX communities.

I mention this only to reenforce my commitment to the good folks in Austin and Bastrop that when it come to representing you in all of your real estate matters you can count on a level of knowledge and experience standing beside you. So if you’re are thinking about buying or selling in the Austin or Bastrop areas or if you know who might be, I would appreciate you giving me a call today.

www.austinbastrophomesales.comImage

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

First Steps to Buying a Home

If you find yourself in a position where you are thinking of buying a home, you may have thought that it would be easy to simply drive around town, make your way into a few open houses, and make a purchase of the home of your dreams; while this would be nice if it were the case (and while there are, in fact, a handful of people who get lucky in this way), it is far more often the case that buying a home requires you to make the right moves every step of the way, in order for you to end up in the house that is truly right for you!

The first couple steps you will need to take for purchasing a home are for you to get ready to purchase a home by understanding what you can spend, and by making a checklist of the things you want to find in this house of your dreams – and then, it will be time for you to find (and team up with) a real estate agent who will be able to help you find exactly these things.

After you have accomplished these two steps, the next couple steps are going to be for you to start looking at houses and to get a feel for what the market looks like; oftentimes, once you start looking at houses, you will be surprised at what you find is available (or at what you find is unavailable!), and will be surprised as well (either pleasantly or unpleasantly!) to find the prices you are looking at – which is where getting a feel for the market comes into play.

After taking these first four steps, your agent will be able to help you find a home and negotiate a deal – which is the next two steps to take care of; as long as you have teamed up with an excellent agent, they will be able to help you each step of the way on this leg of the process, and will be able to ensure you are getting the best possible deal on your home.

Finally, you will be ready for the last two steps: getting a loan and closing the deal; the sort of loan you are able to get will depend a lot on what the current interest rates look like, and on what your personal credit score and credit history look like – so make sure you know these things even before you start shopping around for a loan, so as to avoid any unpleasant surprises.

Buying a home is often an exciting process, but can be a difficult one as well – especially if you are not prepared with the right knowledge, and with the right action plan to get you into your dream home; if you are preparing to look for a house, be sure to keep these steps in mind, and get ready to find your way into your dream home today!

Image