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Miracle Bennett's Blog

By Miracle Bennett | Agent in Cedar Hill, TX

Thinking about selling?

When it comes to selling in this market, there are lots of things to think about - chief among them is current market value. If you have even been paying even a little attention to the news you know that the Real Estate market is not being nice to sellers these days, with home values dropping over the past few years.

I am not one to try to sugar coat a hard truth, and if you thinking about putting your home on the market you  need to be prepared for those hard truths. There is a lot of competition out there and a lot of that competition is foreclosed property which may be selling for less than other homes in the neighborhood.

If you have lived in your home only a few years, it is possible you may owe more than it will sell for right now. It's a terrible thing to have to say, but there it is. You may have to take a loss on the home and even come to the closing table with money to make up the difference. If you think you may be in this situation, contact a REALTOR® and have them do an analysis of your neighborhood to see where you are. Sellers have a lot of closing costs on their side of the deal and between the drop in values in many areas and those fees, it may be impossible to walk away from the home without being upside down.

If you are in this position you will need to consider your options, Which a REALTOR can also help you with.

If you decide to put the home on the market, now comes the big job of getting the home ready to be shown to potential buyers!

The simplest way to put it is, clean, de-clutter, conceal and clarify! 

Clean - Every day your home is on the market it should be showing ready. Make sure the bathrooms and kitchens are swept, mopped, wiped down, scrubbed and free of debris. Many buyers can overlook an untidy living room, but a dirty bathroom or kitchen will put them off for good. If you are gone at work every day, wake up 15 or 20 minutes early and do a sweep of the home to look for trouble spots. Make the beds, get all laundry to the hamper and dishes to the washer. Give the counters a wipe, check the glass and mirrors for smudges and any other little details. Don't forget to get the often forgotten areas like door jambs, switch place covers, ceiling fans, air vents and plant ledges. Buyers will nit pick every detail!

De-Clutter!  I know it's hard for some people to remove thier possesions from the inside of the home, but you have to consider that you are trying to make the home appeal to new people...you want them to visualize their things in that space and it's hard to do when all our stuff is already there. Try to remove all the little pieces of furniture that are there for show...end tables, knick-knack shelves, ottomans etc. Take down about 75% of the pictures you have on the walls. You don't want the house to look vacant, but the more things you remove the bigger your rooms will look and that is always a great thing. More floor space = more interested buyers, epsecially in spaces that are small. Open those small spaces up! Stack things neatly in containers in the garage or a storage building. Reduce the number of appliances and storage containers on your counters. Put them in the cupboards underneath. If possible, reduce the amount of clothes and linens in your closets. Take out the stuff you never use and really make those closets look super roomy. It is a lot of work to do this, sure, but your potential buyers will love it and you will be doing the right thing to get the house sold as soon as possible. De-cluttering also works for your yards. You want the yards to look open and welcoming. Remove excess objects off the porches, tidy up your flower beds and trim your walk ways. Curb appeal is as important as interior appeal!

Conceal? Yes! Conceal!  When your house is on the market you will be having strangers go through the home with their agents. Buyers will open drawers and cabinets and peek in to all kinds of nooks and crannies. While we as agents always are overly diligent to protect your homes, we can not be sure that a potential buyer will not have light fingers. Pack away every thing you do not want a stranger to see or steal. Get a box and put your important papers in it - especially things with account and social security numbers on it. Jewelry too. Keep the box in the trunk of your car or find a way to lock it. Do not leave mail and loose coins sitting on the table, desk or counters. Here's a terrible truth - but there have been people who will steal prescription drugs. Take your prescriptions with you when you leave the house or find a way to secure them in a locked loaction in the house. The same for guns, rare collectibles and anything else you can think of.

Clarify. When I say clarify I mean take those rooms that may have once been a bedroom but are now the craft room or study or workout room and turn them back in to their intended spaces. Make the dining room that has somehow become the home office back in to a dining room. That sun porch that has all the workout equipment on it? Put the equipment in the garage and make that sun porch look like a great place to sit and have morning coffee again. If you have painted the walls with murals or overly bright colors, neutralize them with soft inviting shades instead. Not everyone will appreciate your sense of style. When your home is on the market, buyers should not have to ask themselves "what is this room supposed to be?" or "what were they thinking with all this faux finish on the walls??" 

Should you do major remodeling projects? Well..that depends on how you are selling the home. If you are trying to really get every penny, things like new carpet and paint will go a long way. Have a bathroom or kitchen that was fashionable in the 60's? Maybe some work in there would be a good idea. The big thing to remember is to not remodel yourself out of the market. Putting in custom granite counters and walk in shower with travertine tile in an area where the homes are selling for 100,000$ might not be a good idea. It would be very hard to get your investment back. Consult your REALTOR about remodeling that will be beneficial and a good contractor to do the work within your budget. Remodel wisely.  If you are unable to do needed remodeling you may want to sell the home "as is" at a price that reflects the work needed and let someone who is ready to do the work buy the home.

That's it for now!  Anyone have a question?


By David & Samuel Rifkin,  Fri Feb 8 2013, 13:32
Thank you very much for this great information.

By Miracle Bennett,  Fri Feb 8 2013, 14:23
You are welcome!

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