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How to Get Your Home In Show-Shape Quickly, Cheaply and Easily

jennifer-myers-september-3With the Fall market getting into full swing this week, here is our quick and easy guide to get your home looking its best for its debut on the market! With a little elbow grease in just the right places, you’ll get your home ready for multiple offers in no time.

Curb Appeal:  A Big Deal

People often under estimate the value of good curb appeal.  You want to speak to a potential buyer before they even get out of their car!   Most buyers drive by homes and decide whether it’s worth a visit at all.  In just a day or two, you can upgrade your home’s first impression.

  • Make sure the front entrance shines—literally!  Take a look at all the elements of your front entrance: the door, the hardware, the fixtures, and walkway. Add a burst of color and repaint the front door—we recommend a red front door.  Why? In both Feng Shui and old early American traditions, a red door means “welcome.”  Even further back in history, a red door would signify protection.  We love these traditions, but more importantly, your home will photograph well and stand out from the neighbors in today’s market.  Cost: $30 for one gallon of paint.
  • Take care of aging hardware with a little metal polish. If it doesn’t match the style of your house, then swap it out.  Gold is more traditional and works in some homes while silver is better in others. Depends on your neighborhood, home style and most likely buyer.  But, don’t worry–we’ll let you know what’s expected from your buyer so you don’t have to guess.  Update or polish the locks, mailbox and put up modern looking street numbers that match the rest of your home’s hardware.
  • Get rid of any debris, like tools or toys, prune the shrubs, and do a fresh weeding.  Add fresh mulch. Reset, replace, paint or clean any walkway stones. Think about adding window boxes. 
  • If you have any wood around your home—a deck, porch or fence, powerwash, stain or paint it to make it look fresh and new.
  • Throw out your old welcome mat—buyers want a clean entryway.

Time to Go Inside:  Sweep Your Buyers Off Their Feet

Ok, now that your home looks amazing on the outside, it needs to look equally as good on the inside.

  • Since you are moving anyway, now’s a GREAT time to get rid of everything you don’t plan on moving.  A good rule of thumb–whether it’s clothes or decorations—if you haven’t touched it in a year, toss it.   Declutter counter-tops.  Keep toys to a minimum (for just a few days while your home is on the market).  File your paperwork. Organize your now roomy closets since you’ve donated everything you haven’t worn in a year.  Box up any extraneous items and put in your basement, attic, trunk, a friend’s house, or wherever else it can go for just a few days.
  • Look at each room floor to ceiling with a critical eye. Patch and paint so everything looks fresh.  You’d be amazed at what just painting the trim and ceiling will do to a room and that will cost about half as much as a full paint job!
  • Replace all outdated fixtures.  Gold is out unless it’s art deco or post-modern, which is expensive.  But, replacing dated fixtures doesn’t have to be expensive at all—do not spend over $100.  If that’s too much, at least replace the light bulbs with the highest wattage fit for your fixture, which will lighten up the rooms literally. No fluorescent lighting, though—nothing looks good in that lighting.
  • Take off window treatments and screens. This lets as much light in as possible. This will make your home bright and sparkly.
  • Invest in an inexpensive set of white towels, bath mat and shower curtain for each bathroom.  Pack up the old stuff—people want the bathrooms to feel like a spa.  New, clean white accessories will do the trick.
  • Become a cleaning fanatic–Clean the windows, floors, counters bathrooms, appliances, everything (twice).

Just remember—we sell our homes differently than we live in our homes.  You want to create the most perfect version of living in your home so your buyers can picture THEMSELVES, NOT YOU, living there.  All the above tips will help them with this.

Now, it’s time for your home to be on the market—what should you do while your home is open all afternoon?  Go check out your competition.  You want to see how your home stacks up to the competition that weekend, so be sure to ask for the best comps and their open house times so you can be out and about seeing what all your buyers are seeing.

If you do everything we’ve suggested above, your buyers will be able to see themselves loving living in your home and that’s when they are willing to make an offer.   All your hard work will pay off!

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