Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Preparing Your Home to Sell

Homes are selling, even in Cleveland, don't let anyone else tell you otherwise. What is helping them sell, over the many others buyers have to choose from? I believe it's Price,Condition and Amenities. I am going to focus on a home's condition and how little you may have to spend to make it appeal to a buyer over and above all the others out there.

A professional Realtor® (like myself!) can help you - but this is what I suggest as a first step: walk your house from room to room, look at your yard, your garage, your basement. Use a critical eye. Pretend this is not your home, but a house for sale. Here are a few things you might notice that can be corrected inexpensively:

1. Wash your windows, inside and out. Yes, even in cold weather. OK, you can't do it when the water would freeze to the glass, but get someone lined up to wash them for you on a day when the temps are above freezing. A cloudy window may make a buyer think your windows are in need of repair because they are so dirty. Sparkly windows increase your chances to sell. If you need a good recommendation, try a membership with Angie's List. Consumers recommend the people on Angie's List, that's the only way they get there.
2. Clean and Uncluttered, that is how your house should be when someone walks through it. This is not expensive. Store things in one room of your home, or in a basement room; Start packing things up and put things in the garage, in a POD, or if you really have a lot of things and it's making your rooms look smaller than they are, rent a storage space for a few months. As for cleaning? We need that critical eye of yours again! Do you always have the door to your extra bedroom open because you use it as an office? Has it been years since the door has been closed? Does that maybe also mean the dust bunnies behind the door have multiplied better than real bunnies? In each room, clean things that you don't normally clean. Moldings on doors, baseboards, window sills, closet floors, under beds, inside kitchen cabinets. Wash the curtains; keep your counter tops clean.

**The key is this; if a potential buyer walks through your house and the windows are dirty, the rooms unkempt, they may subconsciously think you have not cared for the home well enough and worry about repairs they might need to make that are unseen to them now. Even if there are no repairs to make, it's a subliminal thing, a comfort level they want.

Amenities. Should you remodel something? Can you recoup the costs? Can it help you sell your home? The National Association of Realtors (NAR) discusses this issue in a video on their website. According to NAR and other experts, a bathroom remodel can give you a very high return. You might want to consider remodeling an average sized bathroom by replacing the flooring, installing a new sink, freshening up the paint with modern colors. Another thing you can add for under 5k in most any house, is a deck or air conditioning. Or a fence. Are your funds limited? How about adding that disposal you always wanted but never got around to in your kitchen. Again, you might get an on line subscription to Angie's List and get an idea what repairs or upgrades might cost you. Find something you can do within your budget. The NAR site also offers you How To Remodel Your Home on A Budget.

I checked homes sales for the past 8 weeks in my Cleveland market areas, and I found the ones that sold while others sat on the market, had A/C, or a fenced in yard, or both - and at least a one car garage. If you have the funds available to add on one of these items, it might be just the thing that tips the scales in your favor while others sit on the market. At the very least, perform some easy steps like washing windows and replacing cracked outlet covers, getting rid of those growing dust bunnies behind the doors, little things that just might make a buyer pick your home over someone else's home.
Peace Out- 3C

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