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Old 12-21-2002, 11:43 AM
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Getting home ready to sell

It appears that my family will be moving sometime this year, probably summer time. I'd like to get my house prepared ahead of time for sale, although we probably won't put up any signs just yet. Have any of you gotten any good decorating tips from real estate agents? I have read articles that said take down all family photos so people looking at the house can "picture" themselves as living there. My daughter said that makes her kind of sad that we have to "remove" ourselves from the home before we even leave it! Other things I know would be new carpeting where needed, getting rid of clutter, especially in closets/cupboards to make them appear bigger, etc.

Any ideas/help would be appreciated.
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Old 12-29-2002, 08:20 PM
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Pinkie Winky

I don't think you should take down ALL your family photos - you want your home to look family-friendly and inviting. However, cleaning out your closets, basement & garage are good ideas. You want your house to look like it has a lot of storage space. Rent a storage space if you have to, or ask a friend if you can store extra things in their basement until you move.

One of the most important things to remember is curb appeal. When someone is driving up to your house, the first impression is a big one. Trim bushes, plant flowers. Give the front door a fresh coat of paint. Keep the lawn mowed. Wash windows inside and out until they sparkle.

Other little tips: paint any interior walls that need sprucing up. Keep the carpeting vacuumed. Make sure your house smells good. Air it out by opening windows for awhile, and/or simmer a mixture of cinnamon, cloves, ginger & orange rind in a small pot of water on the stove. (Make sure you turn off the stove before you leave the house!)

Hope this helps...
~Melanie
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Old 12-29-2002, 08:25 PM
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Hints to help get a house ready for sale

Help - I also need to know this information. We are planning on selling our residence of 40 years and downsizing into either a smaller home or a condo. Any and all help would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 12-30-2002, 04:27 AM
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Having bought 5 houses in a 21 year marriage (we were an Army family for 20) I've read some excellent advice here! Another area that needs attention are cabinets doors. They get so grungy with every day use that we often don't see this. We rented one of our homes once until we sold it a few years later and prospective renters notice these things! Clean light globes of dust and dead bugs. Clear out as much clutter as you can. Personally we always preferred looking at empty houses but if this isn't possible then clear as much clutter as possible.
Try to get an unbiased opinion--either start at street side (or better yet get a friend or family member to do it and ask them to be honest!) and look at your home. Does it have the curb appeal mentioned? If not, imagine some pretty plants that will enhacne it without breaking the bank.
Look at the door. Is it fresh looking? Is it an ugly door? Paint if so. Is the sidewalk swept clean? Is the grass trim and full? (no bare spots)
Is the outside of the house in good shape? Are there any signs of peeling paint? If there is siding, is it clean? We had a house with white siding that we pressure washed regularly due to its showing dirt easily.
Walk inside--is the entry area clean and uncluttered? Are the floor tiles, etc in good shape?
Are the walls clean and painted? If there is wall paper on the wall, is it out dated or faded?

Is the carpet in good shape and clean? This is a must so keep it vacuumed daily at least.

Dust your lamp shades! No they won't stay with the house but it's all part of the overall appearance. Ditto the end tables, etc.

Make the beds daily. You never know when someone will want to see the house! This is so important. We looked at a home in our last location that was nice but the beds were unmade and (this is gross, sorry) someone had used the toilet and forgotten to flush! NOT a pretty thing to see when house hunting.

If you paint the walls, use neutral colors. We have looked at homes with some very imaginative color schemes that I couldn't have tolerated. In fact the house we now own had to be re-painted inside before we moved in due to LOUD color schemes all through the house. (periwinkle hallway, BRIGHT turqpoise living room, bright green, pink and blue plaid wallpaper in a bedroom, etc).

Ask your real estate agent for advice. This is what they're trained to do. If you want to stry selling the home yourself, ask a couple to come over for appraisals anyway. They can give you an accurate fair market value of the house and this way if you don't sell on your own you already have one in mind that you would like to list with. Not sure who to call? Ask around for referrals. There is nothing more aggravating than a bad real estate agent. Been there, done that.

Good luck with the sale! My family has done this so many times and hope this is the last time for a while. It's not easy when you've become "attached" to a home (which doesn't always depend on amount of time lived in it. We have had 2 houses that we LOVED and after only being in them 2 years or less) but moving on can also be extremely rewarding.

Jayne
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Old 12-30-2002, 07:15 AM
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blushing

I JUST RECENTLY SOLD MY HOUSE AND BOUGHT ANOTHER, WE FOUND THAT THE MORE OPEN YOUR HOME IS THE BETTER. DON'T PUT FAMLIY PICTURES AWAYS JUST MINIMIZE THEM, YOU STILL WANT IT TO FELL HOME AND FAMLIY FRIENDLY BUT GET TO CLUTTER GONE, IF YOU HAVE ALOT OF NIC NACS, STOR SOME OF THEM, TO HELP OPEN UP YOUR HOME, IT ALSO HELPS WITH LAST MINUTE DUSTING. CLEAN CLOSETS OUT ANYTHING THAT CAN BE DONE WITHOUT FOR NOW (SUMMER CLOTHES IN WINTER) AND VISA VERA, WE STORE BOXES IN THE RAFTERS OF OUR GARAGE, BUT YOU COULD USE THE ATIC, OR AROOM IN THE BASEMENT (JUST MAKE IT LOOK ORGANIZED) NOT LIKE YOUR TRYING TO HIDE ANYTHING. DEPENDING ON WHERE YOU LIVE IT MAY TAKE AWHILE TO SELL YOUR HOME OURS TOOK ABOUT 8 MONTHS, OTHERS AROUND OUR AREA HAVE TAKEN OVER A YEAR TO SELL, THE MARKET RIGHT NOW IS BETTER FOR NEW HOME THAN FOR OLDER HOMES, SO LOOK AT YOUR HOME LIKE A POTENTUAAL BUYER AND CHANGE THINGS THAT DON'T LOOK RIGHT, IF YOU NEED TO HAVE A FRIEND TELL YOU WHAT THEY THINK YOU SHOULD DO (JUST DON'T GET UPSET THEY ARE JUST HELPING) I HOPE THIS HAS HELPED, OUR MOVE ENDED UP GOING GREAT, AND WITH CLEANING OUT OUR OLD HOUSE BEFORE WE MOVED IT ALSO MADE THE MOVE EASIER.
JULIE
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Old 12-30-2002, 10:34 AM
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Definitely get all the clutter put away somewhere. When they walk into the room, you want them to only see the necessary furniture, nothing peeking out from behind, nothing sitting on the floor if you can help it.

If you have a dining room with a hutch in it, clean everything off the hutch and just have one item per shelf, like display plates, know what I mean?

When people come to see the house, always have all the lights on! That's a tip a realtor taught us. Keep the temperture level, not too warm, not too cold...better on the cooler side though.
And as someone else mentioned, always have it aired out with some nice scents also...but not too strong, a lot of people don't like scents.

If you keep your coffee pot and other small appliances out, think about putting them away somewhere in a cabinet, or in the garage if you can, so the counters appear large and uncluttered.

Go to some open houses and see what other people have done!
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Old 12-30-2002, 12:04 PM
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We also recently bought a home and sold ours. We were lucky, we sold our home without a realtor and in about two days time. The thing I have always been told is to bake cookies (or light a candle with a cookie smell) before the people come look at the house. This gives it a nice "homey" feel to it and who doesn't love the smell of cookies?

We had just recently done a bunch of outside landscaping and these people told us that they would drive around town and see our house and say that they would want a house like that someday, and they had never seen the inside. So, I agree, make the outside the most important project right now!!
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Old 12-30-2002, 05:00 PM
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Most of the replies address the issue well. It's important that the house be "showable" which means uncluttered, clean, and fresh
smelling. It's also important that the house be well-maintained in order to appraise well.
Anything that needs fixing should be fixed before the house is put up for sell.
In most parts of the country the buyer's bank requires a home
inspection. An inspector comes and assesses all the home's systems and the home's general state. Anticipate all that and fix anything that needs fixing.
If painting is required, it's wise to use an off-white for two reasons. 1. Everybody has a different color preference. 2. White is easier for a potential buyer to match their furniture to.
Consider the used car lots. The cars are washed and vacuumed regularly so that they can look their best. It's the same with the house. The curb appeal is very important. It's that first impression thing.
And btw moving is the third most stressful event in a child's life, next to death and divorce. One way to help counter that is to get the kid's friends email addresses so that they can keep in touch while they're undergoing the transition. With video cams, mics, and instant messaging the kids can see each other while they talk. Pretty cool. Or if that's not available get the friends' addresses and give the kids post cards.
"The Moving Book: A Kids' Survival Guide" by G. Davis addresses this stress issue. (I have no connection with this book. Nor have I read it, but it's good to anticipate this issue.)
-RC Scott-
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Old 12-30-2002, 07:38 PM
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RC Scott brings up a good point. We moved when my oldest son was 2 1/2 and my youngest was 5 1/2 weeks old. Of course, the youngest had no idea, but adjusting to the baby and the move was almost more than my 2 1/2 year old could bear. He would put himself in boxes so we wouldn't forget him and he burst into tears at the slighest thing. Potty training was held back for about four months until he got used to things. Now, eight months later, he is fully potty trained, loves his own big boy room, and adores his brother, but it was rough sailing for a while. I wish I had known about that book -- it would have helped me a lot!
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Old 12-31-2002, 02:03 AM
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Food for Thought

As a Realtor, I would strongly advise that personal photos and documents be put away for security purposes. Do not leave your checking information or anything on your desk or mail where your prospective buyers can see it. You may supply copies of your utilities to your realtor with your name and account information blacked out if the potential buyer would like energy information and usage on your home. Unfortuneately, not all perspective home buyers are honest in their home touring endeavors. You never think that such a thing would or could happen in your community until it does. Also, please do not allow passerby's to enter your home once a sign is displayed. This puts you at a significant risk by allowing strangers to enter your home. Most agents prequalify their prospective buyers so that they are assured that whoever is intersted isn't wasting your time or theirs. Please don't take this as doom and gloom because it is certainly not meant to discourage you but rather to protect you and your family.

Another strong recommendation is that you demand advance notice from your realtor so that you and your family may make arrangements to leave the house during the showing. Statistics have proven that when the current resident is present it makes potential buyers very uncomfortable.

Another consideration is LIGHTING. Please make sure that all lamps and overhead fixtures are in good working order and that sufficient natural lighting is allowed to enter through windows for the best viewing possible. If you'll ever notice showrooms and department stores have an enourmous amount of lighting to cast a pleasing open effect on items to be merchandised. Your home is no different. Everything looks great with light. You may even consider those small candle type electric lamps with the tiny shade to set on the back of your toilet to shed a pleasing light on the least eye-pleasing fixture in the house. It really works. If you have heavy drapes consider lightening those with sheers and open up those drapes for viewing appointments. Place mirrors opposite windows to carry light across a rather darkened area or room.
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