January is coming to an end and the spring is just around the corner. NOW is the time to start preparing your home for the spring market. That’s right preparing your home which entails the following list of tasks. Even if you complete the entire list below but you do not combine your efforts with the right price you will be sitting a very long time on the market. If you do not choose to listen to your Realtor by staging the home and pricing your home to sell then don’t be mad or disappointed 6 months to a year later when your home has not sold. Preparing your home to sell and choosing the right professional to guide you through the process is more important than ever before.
1. De-Clutter every room.
2. Clean a SUPER DUPER cleaning – better than your best spring cleaning.
3. Clean the kitchen every inch. Remove everything off the counters with the exception of the coffee maker only. That’s right everything off the counters. Remove any and all pictures or magnets on the outside of the refrigerator door. If your appliances are avocado green or mustard yellows it is time to replace them. You would be surprised the price difference you will receive if you replace the out dated Formica counters with granite. If the flooring is outdated it is time to replace that as well.
4. First impressions are lasting. Your front door MUST be shiny clean and freshly painted or replaced. A beautiful welcome mat and a fresh pot of pansies alongside the doorway or leading up the walkway. Replace the broken down mailbox with something fresh new and clean.
5. Curb appeal is so……..important. If I drive up with clients to the front of your home often times they will say no……just drive on we are not interested. The potential buyer needs to be excited from the moment they pull up out front. A brand new American Flag flying high and a nicely manicured lawn and manicured shrubs is imperative. NO junk in the yard, NONE!!
6. Beds Made – that’s right everyday make your bed and if the bedspreads are old and worn out a trip to the linen outlet is a must.
7. Clean the Carpets – shampoo the rugs and clean and polish the hardwood floors. If the rugs are stretched out call a professional to fix them. Replace the carpet if necessary.
8. Prepare to Move by boxing up the extras and begin to store things in the attic or in a storage unit off premises. It is important that you make the home warm and inviting but devoid of clutter and collectables. If you are starting to pack now it won’t be as overwhelming once the house is sold.
9. Bathrooms need to shine like a new penny. All new shower curtains and rugs are imperative! Add new modern fixtures and lighting to give your bathrooms a bright new appearance. New faucets and lights from Lowes or Home Depot are affordable and imperative to get your home sold quickly.
10. Lighting and lighting fixtures throughout your home need to be updated and or shining clean. If they are outdated, replace. Lighting should be bright and welcoming.
11. Curtains and Drapes need to be clean and less is best. Open up the house with lots of light shining in. A most often complaint from buyers is not enough light, too dark. Brighten up the house let the light shine in!!
12. Animal smells – this can be highly offensive to potential purchasers. Put the kitty litter away out of sight out of mind. Animal bowls, toys and cages out of sight. Do you want to sell your home? Then listen to your professional. Animals are often a huge turnoff. Clean up the yard; doggie diamonds must be removed daily. Have the animals out of the house for your showings. Some buyers will not even go past the front door if an animal is on the premises. Put your pets in the car and take them for a drive while the house is being shown.
13. Do not be home during a showing. I know you think that you will be able to assist in the showing of your home because you know it best but a good professional will insist that you not be home during showings. Buyers need to feel comfortable and need to be able to picture themselves in your house. They need to make an emotional connection without the owner following them from room to room. I just recently purchased a new home in Florida and the owner literally led the way from room to room standing in the doorway of each room pointing out its every feature. He talked to us from the moment we entered to the moment we left. We were never able to really get a good look. My Realtor even started to body block him and tried to keep him distracted in order for us to get a moment in peace but to no avail. Since I’m in the business I knew I needed to come back a second time and this time without the owner being home. I had my realtor make that request to the Sellers’ Realtor; it was not well received by the Sellers but we insisted anyway. After our second showing without the home owner I was able to really envision myself and my things in this home. I was then able to make the decision to purchase. This well intentioned owner felt that he was insuring the sale by being home and informing his buyers of every detail. What he did not realize was that his overzealous showmanship had quite the opposite effect. That home was on the market for over a year and my suspicion is that it would have sold sooner and for perhaps a higher value had it not been for the owner showing his home for sale.
I have tried to give you as many helpful hints as possible and I can hear many of you saying oh my goodness is she kidding this is simply too much to do. I need you to know that I told you about my purchase experience but I also had to sell a home in Florida in order to purchase that new home. I listed my house in one of the toughest selling markets in the country in May only to get it sold to the very first buyer who looked. By June 10th we were at the closing table. There were four identical units for sale in our development similarly priced and unfortunately today they are all still for sale.
It was not a coincidence my home sold to a well qualified cash buyer in a timely manner. They went on to look at many homes but my house kept drawing them back. Do you want to know why? Remember the list above. That is why, because I had replaced the outdated kitchen counters, all the hardware throughout the cabinets in the kitchen and bathrooms were updated, the old wallpaper was removed and the entire house interior was freshly painted throughout. My front door was replaced; the house was decorated with warm and inviting materials indicative of a beach house, the lighting fixtures were updated throughout, my garden beds were mulched and filled with fresh plantings. I had wonderful soft music playing throughout the house and all the lamps were on in the house and lights were lit throughout. Our home was immaculate shining from head to toe and we left the house prior to the showing allowing for them to arrive in comfort and we made it as easy as possible for the Realtor. We had a lockbox on our front door allowing ease of access. Most importantly we were nowhere around allowing the potential buyers to make a true emotional connection. We staged the house allowing for the experience that every buyer wants.
Do you want to sell your home in a timely manner? The first two weeks of a showing are the most important. Price it right which means competitively. Stage your home; hire a professional. Follow my suggestions and you too can be in your new home in no time.

2010 Reflections – by Dagmer Chew

Dagmer Chew, Broker/ Owner, GRI, ABR

Finishing up the year 2010 brings my reflection on the Real Estate Market in general.  We have been on a downward spiral after an over inflated few years of what some would remember as a real estate frenzy.  Ever since the close of 2005 real estate has become more and more difficult to buy and to sell.  Being overly qualified is a necessity for those looking to purchase.  No longer available is the stated income, no doc loans that were so prevalent.  People were buying beyond their means with their hopes filled with “speculation” of the market bubble never bursting. 

Now in the end of 2010 we have seen this year prove that inventory is high and interest rates are at their all time low but buyers are still moving with great caution, as well they should.  With jobs being in question the lack there of or the fear of the unknown has made many qualified buyers sit the fence.  Many second home buyers, which is our primary market share, have the old adage we don’t “need” a home so we will just wait it out till the bottom of the market hits.  Well folks it looks like we are at the bottom and the interest rates are starting to climb so there is “No better time to buy than now and no better place to be then here”.

HomeStead offers the experienced and knowledgeable agents that you need in order to navigate your way through the more challenging days ahead.  When buying or selling Real Estate Call a HomeStead professional who will guide you through the process with professionalism and ease.