Get ready to sell!

April 17th, 2015

th-2

Getting your house ready to sell. Every seller wants their home to sell and to sell fast for top dollar.

Although we wish we could wave a wand and make that happen, it is not a wish. It can happen but it is careful planning and knowing how to professionally spruce up your home that will get home buyers making offers.

Here is how to prep a house and turn it into an irresistible and marketable home.

Disassociate Yourself With Your Home.

You need to think – this is no longer my home. You want to sell it so in the words of my daughter’s favorite song from Frozen “Let it Go”.

De-Personalize.

Pack up those personal photographs and family heirlooms. Buyers can’t see past personal artifacts, and you don’t want them to be distracted. You want buyers to imagine their own photos on the walls, and they can’t do that if yours are there!

You want to take down any collections you have and pack them away for your new home. I have had clients that love their antique doll collections that is spread out all over their living room. A prospective buyer is there to see the house and not any collections. They just become a distraction and take people’s eyes off of seeing your home.

You don’t want to make any buyer ask, “I wonder what kind of people live in this home?” You want buyers to say, “I can see myself living here.”

De-Clutter!

People collect an amazing quantity of junk. Consider this: if you haven’t used it in over a year, you probably don’t need it.

If you don’t need it, why not donate it or throw it away?

Remove ½ the books from bookcases.

Pack up those knickknacks.

Clean off everything on kitchen counters.

Put essential items used daily in a small box that can be stored in a closet when not in use.

Think of this process as a head-start on the packing you will eventually need to do anyway.

Rearrange Bedroom Closets and Kitchen Cabinets.

Buyers will open closet and cabinet doors. Think of the message it sends if items fall out! Now imagine what a buyer believes about you if she sees everything organized. It says you probably take good care of the rest of the house as well. This means:

  • Neatly stack dishes.
  • Turn coffee cup handles facing the same way.
  • Hang shirts together, buttoned and facing the same direction.
  • Pack away clothes you won’t be wearing to make closets look larger.
  • Line up shoes.
  • Organize your pantry.

Rent a Storage Unit.

Almost every home shows better with less furniture. Remove pieces of furniture that block or hamper paths and walkways and put them in storage. Remove extra leaves from your dining room table to make the room appear larger. Leave just enough furniture in each room to showcase the room’s purpose and plenty of room to move around. You don’t want buyers scratching their heads and saying, “What is this room used for?”

Remove/Replace Favorite Items.

If you want to take window coverings, built-in appliances or fixtures with you, remove them now. If the chandelier in the dining room once belonged to your great grandmother, take it down. If a buyer never sees it, she won’t want it. Once you tell a buyer she can’t have an item, she will covet it, and it could blow your deal. Pack those items and replace them, if necessary. If you love the curtain rods you have, take them down and replace with less expensive curtain rods. Just do it before the first showing. Not after.

Make Minor Repairs.

  • Replace cracked floor or counter tiles.
  • Patch holes in walls.
  • Fix leaky faucets.
  • Fix doors that don’t close properly and kitchen drawers that jam.
  • Consider painting your walls neutral colors, especially if you have grown accustomed to purple or pink walls.
  • (Don’t give buyers any reason to remember your home as “the house with the orange bathroom.”)
  • Replace burned-out light bulbs. Use bulbs that are bright.
  • If you’ve considered replacing a worn bedspread, do so now!
  • If you have lights that are gold colored and look dated, buy a can of spray paint and paint it a modern brown. $5. And you have a new light fixture!

Make the House Sparkle!

  • Wash windows inside and out.
  • Rent a pressure washer and spray down sidewalks and exterior.
  • Clean out cobwebs.
  • Re-caulk tubs, showers and sinks.
  • Polish chrome faucets and mirrors.
  • Clean out the refrigerator.
  • Vacuum daily.
  • Wax floors.
  • Dust furniture, ceiling fan blades and light fixtures.
  • Bleach dingy grout.
  • Replace worn rugs.
  • Hang up fresh towels.
  • Clean and air out any musty smelling areas. Odors are a no-no.
  • Wipe down your furnace and water heater in the basement.

When a house is cleaned it looks well cared for.

Little things that make a big difference – set the table, make your bed to look like the beds at Macys.  Pillows make a big difference on couches and beds.

Scrutinize.

  • Go outside and open your front door. Stand there. Do you want to go inside? Does the house welcome you?
  • Linger in the doorway of every single room and imagine how your house will look to a buyer.
  • Examine carefully how furniture is arranged and move pieces around until it makes sense.
  • Make sure window coverings hang level.
  • Tune in to the room’s statement and its emotional pull. Does it have impact and pizzazz?
  • Does it look like nobody lives in this house? You’re almost finished.

 Check Curb Appeal.

If a buyer won’t get out of her agent’s car because she doesn’t like the exterior of your home, you’ll never get her inside.

  • Keep the sidewalks cleared.
  • Mow the lawn.
  • Paint faded window trim.
  • Plant yellow flowers or group flower pots together. Yellow evokes a buying emotion. Marigolds are inexpensive.
  • Trim your bushes.
  • Make sure visitors can clearly read your house number.

Sometimes putting a little money into getting your home ready will pay off in bigger amounts. Houses that are staged correctly and clean sell quicker and for more money. Get it right the first time. Most buyers won’t come back.

In the past few weeks I have had listings in Foxboro and North Attleboro that have sold at the first Open House for thousands over asking because they were staged correctly. The work the sellers did up front has paid off!

Buyer’s must be prepared!

April 17th, 2015

th-1

Buyers, in a sellers’ market you must be prepared to act.

The real estate market is a Sellers’ Market right now. This means there are not enough houses for sale to meet buyer demand. If you are trying to buy a house in you must be prepared to act when you find the right home.

Here are the top 5 things buyers can do to be prepared:

Is it the right house

1. Think about the kind of space you need ahead of time. It will make it much easier for you to recognize whether a house is “right” for you if you have throught carefully about the kind of space you need for your lifestyle. Do you need a dedicated “guest room” or can another room have two purposes? If the house doesn’t have enough closets to keep your belongings organized is there room to add free-standing closets? When you have thought about this ahead of time, you’ll be better prepared to act quickly when you find the house that meets your space needs.

2. Be ready to compromise. You may have been pre-approved for a mortgage but that doesn’t mean you have the money for a big renovation project. Finding the home you can afford may mean making compromises. Upgrades such as hardwood flooring, granite counter and stainless steel appliances are nice, but are they going to be the deciding factors when you find a house that has the space you need, in your price range? Remember, you are buying a home to live in for a length of time. Cosmetic changes and upgrades can be made gradually. It’s more costly and difficult to change the functionality of the space.

Owning a home costs a lot of money

3. Get pre-approved by a lender and figure out how much you can actually afford. You must submit a pre-approval letter with your offer. Sellers will not want to accept your offer and take their house of the market, only to find out you can’t actually get a mortgage.

You may get re-approved for more than you want to spend. It is equally important to know how much you can afford to pay each month for all of your expenses. This includes the mortgage payment, insurance, real estate taxes, water, utilities, garbage, maintenance and repair for the inside and outside of your home and landscaping. You will be better prepared, and in a stronger position, to act quickly when you find the house you want to buy if you know what you can afford.

4. List your current home for sale when you are ready to start your search for a new home. If you have to sell your current home to buy a new one, it will become a contingency that you are asking the seller to consider. This means that the seller is accepting your offer and taking their home off the market, knowing that the sale may “fall through” if you do not sell your current home. In a Sellers’ Market, the seller may receive more than one offer. Your contingency may be the obstacle that prevents the seller from accepting your offer.

You may also have to make the sale of your current home contingent upon finding a new home. Planning for short term rental and storage may make a difference to a buyer considering your home. This is part of being prepared to buy in a Sellers’ Market.

5. Work with a buyers’ agent who is dedicated to your best interests. The most important thing you can do when you are ready to buy a home  is to hire a buyers’ agent whom you can rely on for guidance. Make sure you choose a buyers’ agent who is only representing you and not the seller, too. The agent must give you a copy of the Massachusetts Mandatory Licensee Consumer Relationship Disclosure which states who the agent represents.

An agent in Massachusetts can legally represent both the seller and buyer in the same transaction as long as both the seller and buyer agree to that in writing.

What I am seeing right now in the North Attleboro, Mansfield, Foxboro area is that houses are going for over asking price.  I have had two houses in the last month go for $27,500 and $25,000 more than the asking price.  Be prepared to put your best offer forward.

In a Sellers’ Market you must be a prepared buyer so you can act quickly to make an offer and buy a home.