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Steps to Prepare Your Home for Sale

Jan 13, 2008
When it comes time to sell your home, it often pays to take the time to carefully prepare your home for sale. It is important to eliminate all objections a buyer might potentially have. When a buyer drives up to your home for the first time, or from the moment he first opens the door, the reaction you need to get from the buyer is not "Ewww!" but rather, "Oohhh!"

Here is a list of things to do to your home to elicit the best response from potential buyers.

1) Clean, Clean, Clean: clean the heck out of your home. Remove all dirt and grime from the walls, appliances, windows, and windowsills. Don't forget the exterior! Pressure wash the exterior walls, including driveway, sidewalks, porch, decking, etc. Don't forget the windows, although you might want to do this by hand if possible. Clean the roof of leaves, pine needles, and other debris.

2) Remove clutter: when a buyer enters your home, she wants to see the home, not your belongings. Pack away as much as you can into boxes, and put them in the garage, or in a rented storage unit. Removing clutter is a pretty inexpensive thing to do, but it really can help your appeal to more buyers, which should help it sell more quickly and for more money.

3) Paint the interior: If you've removed all your clutter and scrubbed the place clean, it's pretty easy to paint, so really give this some thought. Choose neutral colors that the least amount of people will find objectionable. Do a good job; you don't want buyers to think you've just done a "slap and dash" job on it.

4) Take care of the flooring: if you have worn carpets on top of hardwood floors, remove the carpet. Refinish the hardwood floors as best you can. Buyers love wood floors, especially if they look to be in good condition. If you have area rugs, consider rolling them up and putting them in storage as well, so that the buyers can see as much of your lovely flooring as possible.

5) Recarpet: if your carpeting is faded, worn, or stained, replace it if you can afford to. Use colors that will harmonize with the flooring.

6) Linoleum flooring: if your linoleum flooring is torn or discolored, consider replacing it. Investigate getting rid of the linoleum as much as possible. Bamboo flooring might be great in your kitchen, and marmoleum (a biodegradable, all-natural product made from linseed oil, wood flour, pine rosin, jute and limestone) might look great in your bathrooms.

7) Window coverings: if your curtains are faded or funky, replace them with new, inexpensive curtains or blinds. If your blinds are dirty - clean them! If your blinds are bent or hang poorly, replace them, too. Anything blocking a natural light source should be moved out of the way as much as possible.
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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