Preparing Your Home for a Spring Sale

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The holidays have passed and new year has begun.  What is in store for you this year? For me, my goal is to double the number of listings I sell in 2014.  If you have been waiting through the holidays to list your house for sale during the market’s ever-popular season, Spring….the time is NOW! Think about it, from the point you make the decision to list your house, to hiring the right Realtor to sell it for you (ahem), to preparing your house for sale, the average days on the market before locking in a solid offer, to closing day. You are looking at approximately 120 days. Here’s the realistic math: You spend approximately a week researching agents and set up an appointment or two to talk about selling your home.  Let’s say, you sign the listing agreement right then (because you’ve decided your agent, Mary Ferguson is the best choice) and the listing date is set for two weeks from now. You’re already three weeks into deciding to list your home and the process has barely begun! The average days on the market for a home priced, presented, and marketed properly is around 56 days.  A typical contract will close 45-60 days after you accept the offer. You are now looking at a mid May closing date, provided you listed your house in January.  Most families prefer to buy and move during this time because the kids are getting out of school and they need to get registered for their new school by a certain time. So, are you prepared to list your home this month? It is more than just hiring an agent to plant a sign in the yard and “tidying up”.  Here are some tips, in no particular order on making your home presentable for a quick sale:

  1. Pack & store whatever personal belongings you will not need or can live without for the next 3-6 months. If you have a basement or garage, store boxes neatly, or better yet, rent an off-site storage unit.  Packing up not only makes your house appear more open and uncluttered, but it also motivates you and solidifies the decision to sell.
  2. Do a deep clean; think, “white glove”. I mean, wash windows inside & out, clean and paint baseboards, get the carpet and flooring professionally steam cleaned, maybe the furniture too.  Clear all hard surfaces (countertops, desks, tables, etc) and leave out a couple decorative items only. But do not just stash things somewhere; keep in mind that buyers open doors, drawers, and cabinets! PAINT! Neutral colors and décor not only freshen up a home and give it a cohesive look, but buyers will not be distracted by “custom” paint colors in each room like electric pink, dark brown, or (gasp!) wall paper. Dust everything- lamp shades, shelves, decorations, ceiling fans… You get the idea.
  3. Tidy up and de-clutter your closets.  If you haven’t worn it in a year or longer…sell it, donate it, or pack it up. Free up space in all closets, including the pantry, so as to appear to have plenty of neat storage space.
  4. If you have children, put toys away in an organized fashion, preferably in their bedrooms. Making a room “multi-purpose” just adds clutter and shows buyers that the house might not have enough room for them. Make the dining room a dining room, the living room a living room, not a play room/ office/ gym. Try to designate the room as it was designed to be. Try your best to keep beds made.
  5. Pay attention to curb appeal.  It might not be grass-cutting time yet, but you might want to hire a lawn care company to get rid of weeds and trim shrubs and trees.  Plant some pretty flowers in the ground or potted, near the mailbox and/ or main entry to the house. Paint the front door and shutters if necessary. Get the house power washed from the roof the concrete if necessary. Keep the outdoors clean; no trash, broke down cars, broken kid toys, etc. Poor curb appeal could be a major turn off and the buyer may not even want to see the awesome work you’ve done on the inside.
  6. Create an inviting patio space for outdoor entertaining. Make sure patio furniture is clean and place out some fresh potted flowers.
  7. Appeal to all five senses. The buyer can SEE that your house is nice & clean, but what do they smell? Re-heated leftovers? A strong cooking spice? Animals? Run some warm water and Lysol in your sink before buyers arrive (drain before you leave!). Boil some orange peels on the stove top (turn off before leaving). Burn an apple pie scented candle. Try not to use air freshener in a can, you want the scent to be inviting, not “I’m trying to cover up a bad smell with worse-smelling aerosol”.
  8. Be safe about what is left out. Important mail, small electronics, prescriptions, jewelry, firearms and whatever else you think is personal and do not want others to see: put them away in a safe place. Though the buyer’s agent may be showing them around your home, you must remember they are complete strangers to you.

As a mom and Realtor, I know keeping your home perfectly presentable waiting on a showing is near impossible, so be smart, use an eye of a buyer, and prepare ahead of time.  A helpful tip: Place a bin or laundry basket in or near each room. When your agent calls to schedule a showing, “clean up” by putting out of place things like toys, jackets, laundry, newspapers, etc into the bin and then load the bin and your family into the car. This relieves a little bit if stress for you when a short-notice showing pops up. Trust me, it will happen! 

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As a motivating incentive for those of you considering selling your home, I would like to make this special offer: I will sell your home in 90 days, or I will sell it for free! Of course, certain stipulations apply, but they are easy and I am more than happy to talk more about it when you contact me. I hope these tips were helpful and I wish you the best in your home-selling ventures!

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*I am a Realtor® with Keller Williams Realty Atlanta Partners North Gwinnett. I am a listing specialist for the North Gwinnett, South Hall, South/ West Jackson, and West Barrow areas. I can be contacted at MaryFerguson@kw.com, on Facebook at MaryFerguson-kwAgent, or visit my website, www.NortheastGAhomes.com. Real estate is my passion & purpose. I love what I do, & I’d love to help you!

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