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10 Tips to Prepare Your House for the Market

12/30/2014

When your house goes on the market, you want to do everything you can to get it sold. Here are 10 tips from The Northrop Team to help you get started!

1. Paint
Make sure walls and ceilings are either white or a close neutral color. Your current colors may look great with your current design scheme, but to potential buyers it could just look like the cost and inconvenience of repainting. Your safest move is to provide a blank canvas upon which potential buyers can visualize their desires. Keep the trends to accessories that can be changed out such as throw pillows and drapes.

2. Making repairs
Unless you intend to market your home as a fixer-upper, now is the time to make repairs. Any little thing which requires repair can be grounds for lower offers. Consider finding a quick replacement for stained or damaged countertops, carpet or tile. If you have hardwood floors, consider having them buffed. The buyers will notice the floors and see they’ve been cared for.

3. Spacing
Even though an empty room might look pretty spacious, it’s quite difficult for buyers to imagine how much furniture will comfortably fit in. Stick to the old saying that less is more. Sellers are often advised to remove excess furniture in a room, and to take out all the personal touches that show the house is yours. The idea is to enable buyers to imagine living in the home. To make a small space look bigger, stick with neutral, light colors. Update old lightbulbs, and updating to a higher wattage or lumen can also help enhance a small area.

4. Cleaning and details
A deep clean and continued maintenance of a house shows the potential buyer that the house has been maintained. Most buyers have an eye for small details: windows, sinks, grout, molding, counters and appliances are all looked at by buyers. Make sure these items are in good condition when the house goes on the market. Making improvements doesn’t necessarily mean costly repairs or upgrades. Small things like doing some landscaping, updating light switches, and repainting the interior can make your home look and feel like new.

Another quick fix is simply to remove window screens and to thoroughly clean them, even before the home has been photographed as it can considerably brighten the overall appearance. An area that is often overlooked is the garage. A garage with a floor that has been newly painted with epoxy can make a surprising difference to a sale.


5. Appliances
Appliances play a large role in any home. Old, outdated or broken appliances can be a red flag to potential buyers. This doesn’t mean you need to buy the most expensive appliances. Although new and expensive appliances might be captivating, it’s likely you won’t regain the cost through the home sale.

6. House exterior
Make sure the driveway, walkway and yard are free from clutter. Consider painting the front door for an easy update. If you are repainting the exterior, consider what’s popular in the neighborhood or fits the style of the home. Picking a paint color that is uncommon or clashes with the neighborhood is a risky move. Make sure the outdoor lights are working and on at night. There’s a chance potential buyers will cruise by for a look at the house at night.

7. Landscaping
Make sure the lawn is mowed and bushes and hedges are tidy. If you’re selling in the fall, you need to stay on top of cleaning up the leaves. Trim trees. Make sure you can view your house from the street and it isn’t covered by trees in photographs. Consider how large a plant or tree will get and how far the root system will travel over time. Roots can wreak havoc with foundations and pipes.

8. Consider the Return on Investment
Certain large home additions, such as pools, are known for poor return on investment. Bathrooms and kitchen renovations are a good move as long as they are done with the local market in mind. Paying for costly upgrades such as granite countertops only makes sense if they are the norm in the neighborhood.


9. The Emotional Connection
Buyers looking for their new home want to make an emotional connection with the house. Your personal belongings such as jackets, purses and shoes do not make that emotional connection in photos or when the house is being walked through. Make sure personal belongings are removed before photographing the interior of the house. Remember that the internet photos are the first place buyers look when considering if they want to get a closer look inside a home.

10. Privacy from Neighbors
A National Association of Realtors survey reports that a full 86 percent of buyers list privacy among the most important features they are looking for.You can improve privacy by planting shrubs and trees along the property lines.

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