Pam Porter

Sales Associate

Preparing Your House for Sale

One of the first things I will do before putting your house on the market is prepare your house for sale. I want to show your house off in its best light to maximize your earning potential. I will tour your house with the eye of a buyer - what works, what doesn't work.

Curb Appeal
Does your house have curb appeal? Can we give it a little more pizzazz to draw the buyer in? Would a bit of touch-up paint add dollars to the sale? What about the garden? Is the lawn in order and neatly edged? Are trees and bushes neatly pruned? Are flowers in bloom? If not, it may be time for a garden upgrade. Adding colorful annuals to the front garden will make a big difference. Remember, creating curb appeal will add dollars to your house's final selling price.

Curb Appeal Checklist

Welcome Home
As I walk in the door of your house, I will ask myself, "Will this house say, 'Welcome home' to a buyer?" Looking through the eyes of a buyer, I will recommend changes that will enhance sales appeal.

I'll help you eliminate anything that gives the appearance of clutter. Countertops should be free and clear. Knickknacks, souvenirs, family photos, refrigerator artwork - it's gone. We need to "de-personalize" the house so buyers can imagine it as their home.

Closets and cupboards should appear large and roomy. It's time to make a donation to a local charity or store belongings at a friend's or family member's home.

Reviewing your home room-by-room, I will make recommendations that impact the sale. I'll point out the pieces of furniture that should be removed, rooms that need new paint, carpet that needs to be changed, fixtures that need polishing, windows that need cleaning, and any other improvement that can easily be made to promote the sale.

Setting the Stage
Before the first buyer walks in your door, I'll show you how to set the stage. We want to engage the buyer's senses. Lighting is critical. We'll draw back curtains, open blinds, change light bulbs and add lighting where needed to welcome the buyer. We'll enhance the ambiance with music playing lightly in the background and insure a pleasing aroma emanates from every room.

Should you paint?

rightThere are many factors involved in marketing and selling your home. You can't control most of them. The curb appeal of your home plays a big role in the sales process, and it's one of the things you can have direct control over.  You'll never get another chance to make a first impression of how your home looks from the street. If your home exterior needs new paint, potential buyers might not even get out of their car to come in and look.  Putting fresh paint on your home, both on the outside and the inside, is usually the one thing you can do that pays off the fastest.  You'll get more buyers looking, and they'll like what they see more, translating into a better chance for a quick offer at a higher price.   

Try to stick with light, neutral colors. These seem to resonate best with buyers.  A fresh coat of light beige on interior walls will freshen up your home and make it more marketable.   

Simply put, new paint is usually the most profitable improvement you can make when getting your home ready for sale.  So unless your paint is already in like new condition, you probably should paint.

The Kitchen

 Many experts recommend that you focus on the kitchen first when preparing your home for sale. For many potential buyers, the kitchen is the most important room in the house.  Since the kitchen has the power to make or break an offer, you should do everything you can to enhance it before showing your home to buyers.  And, most experts agree that next to painting, improvements in the kitchen are the most profitable.  Remember though, money you spend here is a cost of selling, you don't want to do a full remodel, but rather take some affordable steps to show what you have in the best possible light.

Start by creating space.  You want the kitchen to look large, light and roomy.  Clear the counters of all clutter.  Take everything you can out of drawers and shelves and move it to storage.  You can almost count on buyers opening your drawers and shelves when they come to see your home.  What you want them to see is space, and plenty of it, not your old pots and pans.

Consider paint.  Paint is always the most profitable improvement.  A fresh coat of light, neutral color paint on your kitchen walls will make them look spotless and new.  Exactly the look you want.

Pay particular attention to the sink.  It should be absolutely free of stains and of course there should be no leaks or drips!   If your faucet looks old and dated, consider replacing it with a new one, it will go a long way towards improving the look of the whole kitchen, for very little money. 

Counter tops.  If your counter tops are looking old and tired, you should consider new ones.  Remember to stick with neutral colors though.

Freshen up the cabinets.  Replacing the cabinets is expensive and probably doesn't make sense.  But you can paint them, or put new, modern looking pulls on them for very little money and give them a fresh look. 

In short, buyers will be quick to notice any shortcomings in your kitchen.  So you want to do everything you reasonably can to freshen up your kitchen and give it a new open large look.

Staging Your Home Checklist

  • Remove all clutter from the house.
    • Are countertops free and clear?
    • Have you removed unnecessary furniture throughout the house?
    • Remove the art gallery and coupon collection from the refrigerator.
  • Check the bathrooms.
    • Are the surfaces clean and clear?
    • Are shower curtains and doors hung properly?
    • Is the flooring clean and fresh?
    • Are towels neatly hung?
  • Check the walls.
    • Is paint and wallpaper fresh and clean?
    • Are the walls free from holes?
    • Are there any colors or objects on the walls that need to be removed?
  • Check the floors.
    • Is the carpet clean and free from stains?
    • Are hard surface floors clean and free from stains?
  • Check windows and window coverings.
    • Are all the windows clean?
    • Are draperies and blinds clean?
  • Pet check.
    • Are there any signs that this is a pet's home? Be sure to clean and remove kitty litter, pet toys and bedding.
  • How's the aroma?
    • Try to air out the home prior to showings.
    • If air freshener is necessary, use well before showings as a consideration to those with allergies.
  • Set the mood prior to showings.
    • Open draperies and blinds.
    • Turn on the radio to a classical music station, set the volume on low.
    • If you have time, cook a batch of cookies to have the warm, welcoming aroma permeating the home.
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    Make sure your home is easy to show!

    To get your home sold quickly, it’s important that other agents in the area show it to as many potential buyers as possible. The first thing a good agent will do when working with buyers is talk to the buyer and learn what kind of home they are looking for. Then the agent will search all the available homes for those most closely matching what the buyer wants. Next, the agent puts together a list of the best matches to go show to the buyer. When a busy agent is compiling a list of homes to show a buyer, the agent will naturally tend to show those houses that are easiest to gain access to first. Many homes on the market have “lock boxes” on them. The lock box is a device which holds a key to the home, that only qualified local agents can access. Homes that are listed as being “lock box, no appointment needed” will get shown more often than homes listed as “agent has key, call for appointment”.  If at all possible, you should let your agent put a lock box on your home for easier showing. 

    If you can’t do a lock box, you need to be sure that you make it as convenient and easy as possible for other agents to show your home.  If they call, do whatever you have to do to accommodate letting them show your home to buyers on their schedule.  If you don’t, the agent will probably show the buyer other homes, and if that buyer makes an offer on one of them, you’ve just lost a great opportunity.

    It’s best if you can leave when the agent and buyer arrive to see your home.  Buyers won’t feel comfortable with you there, and it could sour an otherwise good impression.