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First time home sellers: 10 Tips for Getting Your Home Ready to Sell

Smart strategies in any market

1. Most real estate agents will agree that the first thing you can do is get your home to sparkle. Wipe down in places you've likely never cleaned before. Once you have cleaned the tops of door frames and inside windows. It's time to think about paint. You've heard it before, a new coat of paint can make all the difference on time warn walls, closets and doors.

2. Think about floors. It is worth it to go the distance. Have carpets professionally cleaned. Steam clean tiled floors and grout. If you have wood floors that may be overly warn or scratched think about what you can do to get them to shine.

3. Now it's time to think about odors. Oftentimes, homeowners do not realize they may have odors in their home. They are used to cooking smells or pets. You want to be sure that someone who is thinking about purchasing your home is not put off by any offensive smells. If you have done a good job of cleaning floors and maybe even painting, you have likely already helped to diminish a lot of odors. Think about potpourri or gentle and natural smelling air fresheners. And, you may not want to deep fry anything or cook meats inside while your property is on the market.

4. You have a plan for odors, but you have pets. It's a very good idea to think about removing signs that you have pets. A prospective buyer may not smell them, but if they know they are around, it may take away from the picture of a clean and fresh home. Make a plan to remove all pet items: food and water dishes, toys and beds. Keep a basket or box ready to throw those items in quick and easy for a showing.

5. Look around and see what fixtures may be dated. I'm not talking vintage or antique with special appeal. I'm talking about that old ceiling light fixture that looks like a crystal ball and was likely installed 15-20 years ago. Look at your cabinet hardware, will replacing knobs and handles really spruce up the kitchen or bathroom? You can find updated fixtures for reasonable prices at your local hardware store. It may not be reasonable to replace old appliances, but if you think your old appliances may turn-off your buyers, it's worth considering updating those too. if appliances are really showing their age or even broken, it is likely you'll have to replace them anyway if you do get a contract.

6. Of course, when you make a house a home you make it your own. Photos of family, a craft room with special projects underway or a children's play area. You want to put your feet into the shoes of the people that may want to buy your home. You want your buyers to see themselves living in your space. Put away those special projects. Remove photos on shelves and mantels. Replace photos with flowers or candles. Take the personalization out as much as possible.

7. Now that you are de-personalizing your home, it is time to think about clutter. We all have it, and it piles up daily especially after a visit to the mailbox. Mail clutter is easy to hide. You can find decorative photo boxes at most hobby or general stores. It's a great place to hide a lot of countertop items. Wicker baskets work great for children's toys. Especially if you have a place to tuck those baskets away. Look for spots under beds or even stacked high in a closet. It is much more appealing to open a closet and see an organized row of baskets rather than piled high miscellaneous items. All surface tops should be clean as much as possible. A table top with something simple on top like a bowl of fruit or fresh flowers is inviting and homey, and it says anybody can live here.

8. So, your top surfaces have been cleaned and de-cluttered. I'll bet your home already looks more airy and spacious. Take it a step further. Think about your floor space. Do you have items that have found a home in corners or under tables. You may not notice they have settled in, but if they don't need to be there get rid of them. Move them to one of those baskets high in the closet or give them away. Even a home with a lot of square footage can seem cramped if the floor space has been filled. Open it up, and let in the light.

9. Let's not forget about the very first impression of your home. You've gotta have curb appeal. Some fresh mulch around trees and bushes and garden beds goes a long way. Trim down those trees. Weed out the front steps. Plant flowers if it is the right season. Wash down your decks and porches. Even power-wash the entire exterior of your home. Get a good broom to do a quick sweep before a showing. Look for spider webs and nests in the eaves. Don't even think about leaving anything outside such as tools or toys. And, make sure to get rid of the clutter around your home as well. You want your prospective buyers to feel ownership of the real estate that pulls them to the front door. Remember, they don't want to see that there is work to be done.

10. Your home is in tip top shape. What do you do when someone is ready to look at it. Make yourself scarce. Have a plan in mind of how to get out fast if you have a last minute showing. If you have children or pets have those baskets ready to throw in toys and other items that you can put in the trunk of your car or stash neatly in a garage or shed if you are leaving for a walk. Most importantly, get yourself out of that house. Buyers do not feel comfortable looking at a home if the owner is right there with them, or even if the owner is outside in the back. The buyer needs to feel that he/she can go into every room and open all closets. Buyers need to Look behind shower curtains and doors if they are going to be able to truly consider making an offer. And remember, you want that buyer to think that he/she can live in your home. If you are in it, they will only see it as your home.

Important tips for getting the most out of your home sale with your sellers agent:

smart strategies for first time homeseller

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