Not just selling shore homes, selling a shore way of life. Your resource for the best homes, hotspots, & happenings in Margate, Ventnor, & Atlantic City.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

The Best In Show - Gaining The Edge When Selling Your Home

Now that the decision to sell your home has been made and assuming you found the right Realtor to market your property you are over the first hurdle.
Your next challenge is to make your home “show ready” so that people will be eager to come in and see all of its best qualities of your home. This can be a real challenge for many people.

Curb Appeal and the WOW! Factor

75% of a buyers’ decision is made when they pull up to the door. Some buyers will even ask their Realtor for a list of the properties they will be going to so they can do their own “drive by” so they can eliminate the ones they are not interested in seeing.

First impressions do matter!

Most people can get away without painting their house. Simple clean up can make a world of difference. Rack the leaves, pick up debris that has blown into your yard and make sure your lawn is mowed. If you have a driveway, make sure it is clear and unobstructed. Plant flowers in the springtime, baskets of mums in the fall. Use window boxes if you don’t have beds. The purpose is to add color. The buyers will be standing on your front porch and staring at your front door while the agent opens the door. Buy a new door mat and make sure the porch is clear and clean. Touch up the front door if it needs a coat of paint. If you haven’t seen your neighbor’s lately because you can’t see out your windows, wash them. Do whatever you can to give the exterior of your property that “WOW” factor. If you are in a condo, that “WOW” factor will have to happen when they open your unit door. If you live in a condo and they don’t vacuum your hall enough, complain to management, but vacuum outside your door. It can only help you.

It’s An Inside Job – It is a simple fact; less is more. When buyers enter your home, you want them to see your home, not “your stuff.” We want them to see the best aspects of the home, the space and the features. The home should reflect your personality but it is often filled to the brim with memorabilia and collectables that can be distracting and detract from the best features of a home. Remember you are selling your home; not your collection of tea pots, your assortment of wind chimes or the shrine of family photos you have scattered throughout the house. If you have made the decision to sell your home, we need to put enough of your “personality” away so that there is enough room for a buyer to put themselves in your place.

Rooms that are filled with too much furniture make it difficult for a buyer to e
nvision the actual size of the room or how their own furniture will fit. Closets crammed to capacity where another shirt or box can not fit will render the buyer with concerns about how their belongings could be accommodated. “If they can’t fit their stuff in the closet, how will I?” The result will be the wrong impression being given to a buyer about a home that may have great flow and ample closet space. You are selling your home so you may as well start packing now. It is time to give away things to those favorite relatives, pack up the things you will never part with and store it in the attic or move it to relatives.

Equal in importance to prospective buyers coming through your home is cleanliness. Get ready folks because if your house is not clean, 9 out of 10 buyers are turn off big time. Realtors will tell other Realtors about a house that “shows well”. They will also tell each other about the house that "smells like cat". Some buyers will not enter a house that looks unkempt others will enter it but will eliminate it because of the way the home has been maintained. Buyers assume that if your home is not clean and fresh smelling, you are not maintaining other aspects of the house. Even if they do decide they want to make an offer to purchase your home, it can effect the amount of the offer.

Simple housekeeping tips would include not leaving the garbage sitting for days, vacuum the house regularly, make the beds and don’t leave dishes in the sink (a real turn off).
Kitchens must be clean with clear surfaces. Remove all of the useless appliances you never use (ice-cream makers, pasta makers, etc) and store them or re-gift them. Your kitchen must show as much open space for food preparation as possible. Make sure the kitchen counters and appliances are wiped down and clean. Remove the kitchen magnets (even the Realtor’s magnet calendar), artwork and “to do lists” from the refrigerator. You will be surprised how nice your naked “frig” will look.

Bathrooms should be clean and clear in spite of the fact that we use it every day. Store your personal belongs away. Toothpaste, hairspray, medicines and the like should be kept in a basket and stored under the sink. Clean the mirror and put the seats down on the toilets. If you can smell it you may not sell it.
Most of us love pets. Unfortunately, if buyers smell it in your home they may go running out. You may not mind the odor or may even be oblivious to it, but you can bet that it will be the first thing that some potential buyers notice. Stale cigarettes or pet aromas are instant turn offs to most people, making your home appear dirty and unsanitary. If you are selling your home and you smoke, start smoking outside or at least try to contain it to one room. Empty and dispose of old cigarette butts and open windows. Start changing the litter box as often as possible and bath the dog regularly. Also pet odor neutralizers can be effective.

Ok, so your house is clean and de-cluttered. The dog is bathed and you made your husband stop smoking.
The Realtor just called and someone is coming to see your house.

What do you do?

1. Turn on every light in the house and open every drape or shade unless the window overlooks something undesirable like a brick wall, a messy neighbor or a parking lot. A sunny home not only looks more cheerful it also looks larger.

2. Turn on soft music if you have it.
3. Turn off dishwashers, TVs, washing machines or any other noisy machines that disturbs the tranquility of your home.
4. Air out the house if you are a smoker or you have pets. Room fresheners can help too, but only if you don’t over do it. Don’t spray till you make people gag.

5. If you have a dog, take it with you during the showing. Not every buyer is an animal lover.

6. If you have a gas log fireplace, turn it on, but only if the weather permits. Set the thermostat to a proper temperature. Don’t freeze your buyers in the winter or make them sweat in the summer. Use your HVAC system appropriately to keep them comfy.
7. Leave the house BEFORE the buyers arrive. If they happen to get there while you are leaving, do not engage them even if they try to talk with you. Be polite but avoid conversations. This is for your own protection. Sellers often reveal unnecessary information to buyers and their agents that work against them. If the other Realtor asks you questions, tell them to please speak to your Realtor.
8. If you can’t leave the house, avoid hovering. Give the buyers their privacy as much as possible. Step outside or go into your car. Buyers will spend a fraction of the time in a house if the owner is there. It is not easy to open someone else’s closets when they are standing over them.

So grab a bucket and a broom. Pack it away or throw it out. Your home is ready to win “Best in Show” in this very competitive market.

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