Two "must-dos" That Will Sell your Home

By: Doug Jones

Christmas is over, and many of us homeowners had planned to put our homes on the market in time for the spring home-buying-shoppers. But how will we be affected by the unsettled climate in the realty market? Well, one thing is for sure, it indicates a buyer's market and that means that a seller has to try that little bit harder.

If you have anticipated this and have already scrubbed, painted and repaired then you are probably wondering what else you can do to separate your home out from the many others. Well, there are many suggestions you can follow, but here in detail, are two of the prime ways to catch a buyer's eye.

The first thing to do is to realize that over 80% of all home buyers browse the Internet themselves. Furthermore, 30% of all homeowners browse the Internet without even employing a realtor first, so your photo is important. Your realtor knows this and will take great photographs for the virtual tour, but he needs you to do the preliminary work.

Usually on the Internet is the large photo of the house and front yard, and if they like it buyers will click on this to see the rest of the virtual tour. The key phrase here is 'if they like it. You have to get them past this first photo, consequently this photo is the key to accessing buyers. You probably think you have already done the 'curb appeal' preparation work, but surely you can improve on it?

If your clematis has not grown up the porch frame yet, buy an artificial silk vine to give the impression in the photo. If you have very large trees, step back and put these into the picture too. Buy an extra tree or bush in large pots and 'place' them where they give the most enhancement in a photograph, they can always be moved inside or onto the deck after the photo.

If you have a gravel driveway, hose the stones so that they are wet, and consequently more colorful, in the photo. Do not have your car parked in the driveway, however prestigious of a model it is!

Sunshine on a home is a plus, even if it is only a psychological factor. Is it ethical to use the computer to 'brighten' the white paint and 'green' the fir trees? Hmm....your call!

The second suggestion is perhaps a less popular one - it requires expenditure. However, for every dollar you spend this way, statistics say you will reap back 80% on your sale price. If you can afford to do a 'big fix' it will probably be worth it. A 'big fix' is either the bathroom or kitchen.

Analysts have found that new homeowners will make one change within the first three months of moving into a new home. Forty seven per cent improved the kitchen and forty five per cent improved the bathroom. Now this means that if your home has a brand spanking new kitchen or bathroom they will be tempted by that alone.

Bathrooms are cheaper to renovate, but kitchens carry more weight; if you are undecided, you can let other factors choose for you.

For instance, if you are broke, it has to be the bathroom; if you have an outdated kitchen let it be the kitchen; if time is a crucial factor, it better be the bathroom; if your bathroom is so small that it will not photograph well, let it be the kitchen.

Remember we are still thinking in terms of photographs on the Internet. We are working on getting them to come for a personal viewing.

When you are doing your update, stick to neutrals; this is very important. Yes, a bright color will catch peoples' eye in a photo spread, but it may get an 'ugh' reaction too.

Concentrate on lightness and brightness in a kitchen by keeping walls very pale and in a light- reflecting tone (some pale tones still suck in the light!) Add inexpensive strip lights under the counter top, and put them on for the photo.

Change just the cupboard doors if you are economizing. (amazingly cheap and there are companies that specialize in this). You can lay ceramic tiles for as little as one dollar per square foot, so these four changes (paint, lights, flooring and cupboard doors) will not be expensive. However, it must be said that if you can afford the 'whole new kitchen' it will be better for the sale!

Now for the bathroom, the lighting here needs to be bright, but a secondary ambient lighting is also recommended. The new buzz is that bathrooms are being considered as a 'mini-haven' in the home and therefore pale or amber light bulbs, some candles, and soft music need to be here too.

Of course in the morning for shaving, make-up etc we all need the strong bathroom lighting, hence the double lighting choice. If you re-vamp the bathroom think only of neutrals. White and beige together or white and gray together are considered very classy at the moment.

In either the kitchen or the bathroom, only install either white, off white, cream or stainless steel appliances.

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