How To Get Your House Ready For The Spring Market

Selling your house isn’t a decision you make overnight. So it stands to reason that getting it ready to sell shouldn’t be left until the last minute either. After all, houses that show well will sell more quickly and at a higher price than those that aren’t maintained. Here are some tips for getting your house ready for the market this spring.

Make a Budget – There is always something to repair or fix in a home. And over the years, the rooms become outdated as decorating trends and tastes change. But before you begin to replace the roof or remodel the bathroom, take a look at your budget. What can you afford to do that will give you a decent return on investment? Spending $20,000 on a kitchen remodel won’t net you the same on the sale. But a simple coat of paint can add thousands to the sale price.

Hire a Home Inspector – Yes, this is what your buyer will do, but what better way to avoid surprises than to hire an inspector yourself? You are not an expert in foundations, wiring or air circulation. And while some problems, like a sunken driveway, are obvious, an inspector is trained to see all the defects you’ve lived with. Yes, it’s annoying that the light switch for the porch no longer operates correctly, but it may be a symptom of a more serious problem, like faulty wiring. This isn’t an issue you want to arise after the contract has been signed.

Pare Down, Pack Up – Buyers want square footage, not the doll collection in your spare bedroom. De-cluttering doesn’t cost any money, and gives you a large return from a minimal investment. So pare down (do you really want to pay the movers to take all this clutter to your new home?), and begin packing. Your closets will look bigger, as will the rooms. This will appeal to potential buyers.

How To Get Your House Ready for the Spring Market

Pay Attention to Curb Appeal – The first image buyers have of your home is the exterior. Some will see it driving by, some in a photo. Either way, they will make a decision within a few seconds of whether or not they want to see the inside also. So spend some time sprucing it up. Paint it, if necessary. Sometimes a splash of color on the front door will make all the difference. Pay close attention to the entryway. Your visitors will be standing on the front porch with their real estate agent while the door is being unlocked. Will they see cobwebs or a new welcome mat?

Make the Interior Inviting – Once inside, buyers will instinctively know if your house is one they want to live in. It should be bright and clean. This means lamps on, draperies open and floors and countertops scrubbed until they sparkle. You may argue that they are buying the house, not the image. However, if they see surfaces covered with dust and piles of boxes in corners, they will wonder what hidden deficiencies lie behind the obstacles. Make it easy for them to make a decision.

Hire a Realtor – Don’t try to go it on your own. Having a professional sell your home will not only get you a fair market value, it will also save you from heartache. A real estate agent has the outlets for marketing your home to buyers and other agents, which will get it sold more quickly. An agent also knows the details of a valid contract. You don’t want to find out at closing that because you neglected to exclude your grandmother’s crystal chandelier in the dining room, it has to stay with the house.

Compare Prices in the Neighborhood – Before you put your house on the market, see what other homes in the area are selling for. Then compare them with yours. Do they have the same number of bedrooms? What is the size of the lot? Is the yard fenced? Do the comps all have hardwood floors while yours is carpeted? A real estate agent can help pull these comps for you and suggest a fair listing price.

What Can You Afford? – It goes without saying that once you sell your house, you will need a new one. Perhaps you decide to rent, but most likely, you will purchase another home. But before you can start looking, you need to know what you can afford. Your real estate agent can tell you what your house can sell for, but you’ll need to talk to a mortgage originator to see what you can afford. You’ll also need to be pre-approved before you can make an offer on a home.

Selling your house can be stressful. No matter how long you’ve lived there, you have an emotional attachment to the home. It’s difficult stepping back and facing the process objectively. But with the right team in place, the move will be a smooth transition to your new dwelling.

How To Fall In Love With Your House – Again!

How To Fall In Love With Your HouseDo you remember the thrill you had when you walked through your home when house-hunting?  When you were handed the keys after signing the contract?  When you walked through the door for the first time and thought to yourself, “This is mine!”

Do you still feel that way?  Or is the carpet showing wear?  Have the kitchen cabinets lost their luster?  Do the creaks in the floorboards grate on your nerves?

We spend most of our non-working hours in our homes, just as we spend most of our non-working hours with our loved ones.  So it stands to reason that like with people, we have a connection with our home.  And like personal relationships, sometimes they go sour.

So what do you do to remedy the situation?  Moving is an option, although a very expensive one, and not necessarily convenient.  There are other, less expensive options, however.  Let’s explore some of them:

1.  Sort it out!  Take a good look at every room in your house.  Is there clutter everywhere?  Are there appliances on the kitchen counters?  Piles of magazines and mail on the dining room table?  Random bottles of toiletries in the bathroom?  Clothes spilling out of closets and dresser drawers?  It’s time to de-clutter!  Your needs have changed over the years; so has your lifestyle.  Get rid of what you don’t need or use anymore.  De-cluttering your home will de-stress your life.

2.  Clean it up!  And we’re not just talking dusting the surfaces here.  Give your house a good scrubbing from top to bottom, inside and out.  That means moving the furniture, pushing back the curtains to get to the windows, and taking a rag to the slats on your mini-blinds.  Wipe the fingerprints off the switch-plates, too!  You’ll be amazed at how different your home looks once the smudges are gone.

3.  Move it Around!  Now that the house is clean and clutter-free, look at the furniture.  If you can’t afford to purchase a new sofa or arm chair, re-arrange what you have.  The fresh layout will give the feel of new furniture without the expense.

4.  Fix it up!  The sliding door on your shower is always falling off the track.  There’s a cracked tile in the middle of your kitchen floor.  The dimmer switch in the dining room doesn’t dim anymore.  None of these are significant, but added up with every other little thing, they all nag at the back of your mind whenever you notice them.  And it sullies your relationship with your home.  Fixing these little things can make a big difference in your attitude.

5.  Add it on!  If you still feel you don’t have enough space in your house after de-cluttering and rearranging your furniture, consider adding on to your house.  This, of course, is an expensive option, so one to be thought about carefully.  Re-evaluate how you use all the rooms in your home.  Is there anything you can do differently to add more useful space?  Would adding on increase the value of your home when you sell it?  Do you have enough money in your savings, or would you need to take out a home equity loan?  Can you afford another loan payment?  Talking with a mortgage originator can help you make this decision.

6.  Look it over!  Step back from your home and try to view it objectively.  If your house was on the market, what would visitors think about the rooms?  Would they see dated wallpaper and art work where you see your first effort at decorating?  What features do friends and family like or dislike about your home?  Can you find new appreciation for the good, or easily fix the bad?  Have a close friend over to help with the assessment.

7.  Put it down!  On paper, that is.  Write down your monthly expenses and compare it to your income.  Has the home become too expensive for you to maintain?  Is that the underlying cause of your stress, perhaps?  If you don’t want to move, look at your budget.  Where can you cut back?  Are there any energy improvements you can make, like using CFL bulbs, to lower your utility bills?  Don’t let your home become a financial burden.

8.  Think about it!  Sometimes it’s all about attitude.  After all, you fell in love with the house years ago.  The house is still the same.  There are features you loved about the house when you bought it.  Perhaps it was the view from the kitchen, or the tree-lined streets in the neighborhood.  Think back to all the good you saw.  This includes the people living in the home.  Your family makes your home, too, not just the four walls and roof over your heads.  Appreciating the people and furry friends living with you can change your attitude about your home.

What feature do you love best about your home?  What would be the first thing you would change?

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