Getting Your House Ready For The Spring Market

Dated: February 20 2017

Views: 1325

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Whether in Nyack, Palisades, Stony Point, Suffern, or anywhere in between, these 10 tips can make a difference in going to the closing table or being an "also ran." 

Before you put your house on the market, ask your Realtor®for guidance on improving your home's presentation.Your agent can tell you what buyers expect in your particular market and at your home's price point. The following 10 steps are a way to get a good head start on preparing to sell your home.

1. Welcome agents and buyers.Go out to the street and take a critical look at your house. Is this a house that you would feel comfortable approaching if you didn’t already live there? Are the bushes too close to the sidewalk to allow people to comfortably walk to the front door? Is the yard well mowed and edged? You will want to make your front door visible and accessible to buyers. Paint the door, clear debris and clutter from the walkway and yard, mow the lawn and prune hedges. Don't forget to power wash the house and have the windows cleaned. You can attract attention from people approaching your house by planting or placing pots of colorful annuals and perennials on the front porch or steps. Fix broken screens, doorbells, roof shingles and outdoor lighting, and replace your Welcome mat. Exterior flaws make a poor first impression on buyers.

2. Make it sparkle.Have you ever walked into a home and knew a pet lives there? Or smelled mothballs? Cleanliness and the smell of the house (or the lack thereof) are the 2nd impression your potential buyers will have, so deep cleaning can go a long way in making your house stand out against the competition. Buyers scrutinize homes, especially kitchens and bathrooms. Steam clean the tiles. Re-caulk and repaint to give these rooms a fresh and clean, ready-to-move-in look. Change the shower curtain/liner. And make sure the countertops are immaculate (no grungy feel when fingertips go across them.) Clean rugs and carpets to eliminate unsightly stains or dinginess and eliminate odors. Tidy each room, including cabinets, closets and the garage, before showing. And if it seems daunting to do all that cleaning yourself, consider hiring a professional cleaning company to take care of all of it for you.

3. Start packing.Cramped and cluttered rooms turn buyers off and make your house look smaller. A home packed with your personal belongings also makes it difficult for others to envision living there. Start by storing away excess furniture, toys and personal decorations, such as family photos. Pack up things you don't use on a daily basis, and put them in storage or ask a friend to hold onto them. A good rule of thumb is to put every other item you see or touch into a packing/moving box (or donate it or throw it out.) Decluttering your house also gives you a head start on your move. A professional staging consultant can also help point out items that need to go and those that can/should stay.

4. Paint wisely.A well-done, basic paint job is all you need. Put a fresh coat of paint on white or beige walls, and repaint walls that have “electric” or unconventional colors. Nature- and spa-inspired neutral colors, such as taupe and subtle gray, are the best choices. Definitely don't forget the trim and molding either. Don’t forget about outdated or worn cabinetry when considering the painting work.

5. Fix the small stuff.We all have that list of things to do when I get around to it. Putting your house on the market just got you “around to it!” Repair or replace broken or outdated hardware throughout your home. You can install new door handles, faucets, towel bars and curtain rods – fixtures that are readily visible to homebuyers – rather inexpensively. New hardware in the bathroom, kitchen and on windows and doors also improves the functionality and safety of these components.

6. Update lighting.Install new bulbs with the appropriate lighting for specific areas of your home. If your light switch controls an outlet, be sure a lamp is plugged into that outlet and turns on when the switch if flipped. You have beautiful space – make sure the prospective buyer can see it. Use accent lighting to highlight focal points in a room, such as the artwork above a mantle, to draw buyers' attention to certain selling points. Replace decorative light fixtures that no longer fit your home's cleaner, fresher look or that are too “dated.”

7. Frame the natural light.Ensure you have the right window treatments, which enhance natural brightness and boost the appearance of a home. Window treatments also can impact a room's temperature because they reduce or increase the amount of light entering the space. Adjust window treatments appropriately when showing your home in the mornings, afternoon and evenings. If your neighbors have a direct line-of-sight into your home, consider installing the shades that pull up from the bottom of the window. This allows light into the rooms but keeps wandering eyes out.

8. Set the table.Fresh, decorative flowers in the kitchen or on the dining room table are always a nice touch (conventional wisdom says that yellow flower are the best – I don’t know why, but that’s what I’ve always been told.) Also, keep place settings handy for your tables so you can quickly set them out right before showings or an open house. Pull out all the formal stops for a dining room, and keep the table casual in the kitchen.

9. Hide unsightly everyday items.Kitchen counters should be as clear of clutter (mixer, toaster, canister sets, dish racks, etc.) as possible. Remember, you want the prospective buyers to be able to envision their own things in the house. Don't leave children's toys and pet belongings out in the open during showings and open houses. Move litter boxes, pet dishes, toys, animal crates and kids' entertainment to less conspicuous areas of the home, such as an outdoor storage unit or garage before each showing or open house. Also think about where you can store things like dirty laundry and dirty kitchen items.

10. Don't forget the back.Keep your backyard looking spacious and functional. Plant or pot colorful flowers and keep the landscaping trimmed and neat. Consistently pick up after your pets so buyers feel comfortable touring the yard.

All this sounds daunting, but will be well worth the effort once your house sells.

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Diane Mitchell

I am a Licensed Real Estate Associate Broker and work full time helping people to achieve their dreams of home ownership or their dreams of selling their home or both. I love working with buyers and s....

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