Lasting Impressions

Dated: May 8 2020

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Planning and preparation are two words that describe the months leading up to listing your house for sale. Below, tried and true "to-dos" that can be started now to get your house ready to sell when the time is right.

First, pretend that you are a buyer on a showing at your home. Walk through each room and note your impressions. What do you like? What don't you like? What needs fixing or updating? It's important to critique your home from a buyer's perspective. Another way to approach this step is to imagine that you are a first-time visitor to your home. Ask yourself, on a scale of 1-10, with 10 being high, what would you rate your house, if you were a visitor for the very first time? And from whatever number you come back with, then ask what would need to happen for the house to be a "10"? You know your house better than anyone and are in a good position to be open and honest with the prep work needed before putting your house on the market. Now, what if you can't afford to do all the things necessary to make your house a"10"? You're not alone. The idea here is to name those things that you can do, and can afford, so that your house is in the best possible condition to appeal to the greatest pool of buyers at the price that you are selling for.

You may consider getting a professional home inspection to see if any repairs are needed. That way you can address them long before the house goes on the market and hire a contractor to handle any major repairs.

Many home sellers have heard that they need to "clean, declutter and depersonalize", and then wonder what that means, exactly. It really is as simple (though not necessarily easy) as it sounds! Some good ole' elbow grease is what comes in especially handy at this stage of your efforts. First, you'll want to sell, donate, or trash any of those things that you no longer need. Then you'll want to thoroughly clean the entire home, from top to bottom: scrubbing tile in the kitchen and the bathrooms, cleaning hardwood floors, getting rid of all the dust bunnies, and steam cleaning carpets and drapes. If stains are prominent, you may want to consider replacing the carpets all together if feasible. The condition of the carpet can make or break the perception of the condition of the entire space. Wash your windows and screens, inside and out. Repair cracks and holes in walls, and paint interior walls with neutral colors, like beige, cream or light pastels. Here's a tip: pale blues and green are good for bathrooms. A coat of paint goes far in freshening up the house and making a good impression to potential buyers.

Remove excess and oversized furniture, and position what's left to optimize the space. Organize closets and store out-of-season clothes. Remove small appliances from kitchen and bathroom counters, toys that aren't being used or that take up a lot of space, magazines, and bulky pet items. Remove family photos, kids' drawings from the fridge, personal collections, and medications. Declutter the garage, attic and basement, and store unnecessary items off site. You'll also want to be sure to secure your valuable items, like cash, jewelry or priceless collections, as you get ready for showing of the house.

While getting the house ready for sale is simple, it's not necessarily easy, and will require a bit of elbow grease and care. Prepping your home for potential buyers, by looking at your house from a buyer's perspective, will go far in prioritizing your list of things to do before the For-Sale sign goes up in the front yard.

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Melissa and Todd Rolland

Melissa Rolland is a real estate salesperson, accredited home stager and has been a real estate investor for over a decade, helping hundreds of homeowners buy houses, sell houses, and invest in real e....

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