Ready, Set, Sell: How to Get the Most Out of you Home

By: Josh Sloan

When it's time to sell your home, a little effort can mean a big pay-off. While I'm sure you've heard the term home staging, preparing your home for a sale doesn't have to be complicated. Sure, you can hire professionals to completely update and re-decorate your home. Market analysis is showing that the money invested comes back plus some in higher sale prices and faster sales. However, there's a lot you can do on your own to spruce up your home for sale, giving buyers an excellent first impression.

The outside is obviously what someone sees first about your home. If you're exterior needs re-painting, it's worth doing it. A cute paint-job on a cute home makes it so much more appealing than a faded and pealing one. Choose trendy colors, but don't go too crazy. Anything too bold or unique might not be to a buyer's taste. Sometimes a home just needs a little wash to brighten it up. Decide what your home needs and don't hesitate to do it.

After the house itself comes the yard. If you rented a power washer to clean your house, be sure to wash the driveway and walkways as well. These often get stained by water run-off and can accumulate moss and other living things. A good washing should make them look crisp and new.

How is your landscaping? Do some pruning. If you aren't sure what to do, there are quite a few very informative web sites out there, or you can probably hire a professional for not too much money, depending on the size of your yard. Hedges are usually pretty straight forward to trim, as long as you've got a bit of a sense of balance and think you can maintain a straight line. If not, it might be better to pay a professional than end up with an awkwardly crooked hedge-height.

Flowers can really make a place look cheerful and beautiful. Bulbs are perennials, and a really low maintenance way to make your yard look good. If you are anticipating a spring or early summer sale, plant some bulbs in the fall.

Once your yard has been beautified, turn your attention to the front door. Make sure it looks good and opens smoothly. In fact, this goes for all the doors in your home, including those on closets and cupboards. Squeaking or sticking doors signify a worn-out home and the need for an immediate repair. If a buyer sees immediate repairs are needed, they may not be as quick to appreciate all your home has to offer. Replace latches if necessary, grease hinges and be sure to wash dust off of the ridges in your doors and cupboards. I just did this the other day in my home and was surprised how much dust had collected on my doors.

This brings me to another important point: cleaning. Home selling is a time for doing those deep cleans that might not be a part of your weekly or even monthly cleaning routine. Clean every corner and crevice. Kitchens and bathrooms are especially important to buyers.

De-cluttering is also an important step. Buyers want to see the home, not all your decorations. Don't take everything away and make your home look sparse, but if you collect nick-knacks, or have crowded furniture, it might be a good idea to get an early start on your packing. And don't think you can stuff everything into a spare room or closet. A buyer is going to want to see those spaces too. If you really have a lot of stuff, consider renting storage space until your move is complete.

While some of this might seem like a lot of work, it is shown that nicer looking homes sell faster, and frequently sell for closer to, or even higher than, their asking price. So try to get the most out of your home. I'm sure you'll be glad you made the effort.

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