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Put Yourself in the Buyer's Shoes

Jan 10, 2008
You've finally decided to go ahead and sell your home. A word of advice: put yourself in the buyer's shoes, literally. Walk outside your home, and stand a ways in front, such that you can get a good view of it and the adjacent landscape. As a buyer, what's going to get your attention? What is the buyer going to like, and what is she not going to like?

As the old song goes: "You've got to accentuate the positive and eliminate the negative." What would a buyer like most about the house - the landscaping? Is it the lawn, the flowerbeds? If for example the lawn: is it lush, green, and well trimmed? If it's the flowerbeds, are they well cared for and tended to?

Now, take a closer look: what about the roof, the gutters? Are all the shingles where they should be, and are the rain gutters in good repair?

Does the paint appear faded or worn? If you need to paint (and if you've even wondered about that previously, the answer is probably yes), it's a good idea to go ahead and have the home painted. When it comes to choosing colors, keep on walking down the street, and take some mental notes: how are the other houses painted?

You want to paint your home in a color that harmonizes with the neighborhood, not that contrasts with it. Strive for distinctive colors, but ones that work well for the property, the landscape, and the vicinity.

Remember: less is more - or at least much of the time. Thick, lush landscaping is attractive to many people, yet at the same time, if the landscaping gets in the way of the house, tame it down a bit. Make sure trees and bushes are trimmed such that the houses' true beauty is shown in the best way possible.

This is an especially important thing to do before you paint, of course - so if you do plan to paint, consider addressing some other landscaping issues, too. Imagine what a buyer will think when she drives up and sees a freshly painted house with sharp, manicured landscaping.

It's good to keep yourself in the buyer's shoes as often as you can. When you leave in the morning, when you come back at night, I encourage you to look at your home through a buyer's eyes. Many buyers come by in the evening, after work. How does the property look at this time?

If you have a flare for landscape design, or know someone who does, consider installing some inexpensive, yet tasteful, outdoor lighting, if your property would work well with that.
About the Author
This article was written by Seb Frey, a Real Estate Broker and Realtor in Capitola, California (Santa Cruz County). Seb runs the county's most-complete Real Estate web site, SantaCruzHomeBroker.com. Seb is fluent in Spanish, and works with buyers from all walks of life, helping them to buy or sell Santa Cruz real estate.
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