Sprucing Up the Exterior

Preparing Your House to Sell – Tips #12

 In this age of internet listings and virtual tours, buyers will usually go through the process of elimination on line first, then the process of elimination through drive – bys.  The first impression when a buyer drives up to a home is critical.  Walk across the street from the property and think like a buyer.  What do you see?

Take a hard look at the front door and trim.  Give special attention to this because this is where buyers will get their first opportunity to make a close inspection of your home.  Does it need repainting or staining?  Repainting doors and trim will help make the house look crisp and in good condition.  This is one of the least expensive things you can do to dress up a home.  Regarding colors:  if it goes on an Easter egg, it doesn’t go on your house.  Drive through some new construction neighborhoods to get some ideas of what is popular at this time.

Sweep all decks, walks, porches and patios and keep them swept.  Remove any moss from all decks, walks and patios.  Decks should be pressure washed and stained or painted if they are in need of it.  Reduce clutter on decks, porches and patios so that they look bigger. Get rid of old flowerpots, barbeques, charcoal, planters, toys, construction materials and excess furniture.  If you have outdoor furniture create one simple “room setting” of clean furniture that will remind buyers of the usefulness of the space.

Clean all debris and moss from roof and gutters.  If you know you need a new roof, address it now because it will definitely come up later.

Repair broken fences and paint if necessary.

Plants are like children – they grow up so fast!  First they are little and cute, then they seem just right and all of a sudden they’re so big we hardly know how to take care of them!  You can’t trim the kids, but you can trim your plants.  If they need it, do it now.

Rake and weed flower beds.  If possible spread new mulch to put a finishing touch on the landscape.  Remove, and if needed replace all dead plants.  Mow lawn and keep it mowed on a weekly basis during the growing season.  Trim branches around roofline to prevent animals, insects, and foliage from getting on roof.

The final blog for the exterior of “Preparing Your House to Sell” is coming up so hang in there.

Published in: on November 9, 2009 at 6:58 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Dividing your “Treasures”

Preparing Your House to Sell – Tips #11

When I was preparing my own home to be on the market, I definitely practiced what I am blogging and it did pay off! I can also name countless others that I have helped with these exact same tips.  Don’t lose heart! I want to end the inside of the house today and begin the garage.  I will cover the outside of the house on my next blog.

We, that includes you, accumulate way more “stuff” than we ever intend to keep and moving is an excellent time to make a new start.  I recommend dividing your “treasures” into three or four (4th is optional) categories:

1.)    Garbage               2.)  Donate          3.)  Keep              4.)Sell

Where to put all the stuff removed from the house?

  1. RENT A STORAGE UNIT
  2. HAVE A GARAGE SALE
  3. GIVE IT TO CHARITY
  4. PUT IT IN THE ATTIC
  5. STORE IT IN THE CRAWL SPACE
  6. USE A PORTION OR CORNER OF THE BASEMENT
  7. USE PART OR ALL  OF THE GARAGE
  8. AS A LAST RESORT, SACRIFICE A 3RD OR 4TH BEDROOM

As you might imagine, after all the work to this point, #8) using one of the bedrooms to store excess “stuff” is truly an emergency last resort.

Carports must completely cleaned out.  Everything!

Garages should be swept out and organized.  If you have to use part or the entire garage for storage that’s fine, just keep it neat.  Always keep garage doors down while your home is on the market.

If you’re not using the garage for storage keep all cars in the garage and not in the driveway.  Move boats and RV’s to a storage facility or a neighbor’s home several homes away until your home sells.

Whew!  Finally!  I know you are feeling pretty good about your accomplishment by now and your house looks great inside and you are probably feeling better and better about getting a reasonable price without waiting forever on the market.  My next blog will cover the yard and curb appeal in “Preparing Your House to Sell”.

Published in: on November 8, 2009 at 2:44 am  Leave a Comment  
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The Goal…Pending…Sold…CLOSED!!

Getting Your House Ready to Sell – Tips #8

I know, you are thinking, “This is ridiculous – too much to do just to get ready to sell.  I’ve seen lots of houses on the market that didn’t have all this stuff done to it”.  Well, I say, “They are on the market”.  Your goal is not to be on the market but to be pending – SOLD – Closed!  Remember back when I talked about selling in the least amount of time for the most amount of money.  Keep up with me here.  Just a little more to go.

Master Bedroom – Make the bed every single day without fail.  Invest in a new bedspread if necessary or a “bed-in-a-bag”.  Nothing too busy as busy beds/fabrics don’t photograph well.

Clear off bedside tables and chest of drawers except for a very few necessary items (remember living room coffee and end tables).  Store extra books and magazines underneath the bed.  Keep closet door closed.  If you have a walk-in closet keep the floor clean and free of laundry and clutter.  If you have a clock radio, keep it playing soft music during showings.  Reduce the number of photos on tables and chest of drawers to a minimum.  Master bedrooms and bathrooms are at the top of the list of importance so de-personalize and unclutter.

Remove plastic runners on carpet or hardwood floors in hallways.

Follow the master bedroom guidelines for all other bedrooms.  In children’s rooms take down all the posters except for one favorite (non-offensive) over the bed; repair nail holes and paint walls.  Many times children’s rooms are painted shocking colors.  If it’s shocking, it’s not a good idea.  Paint that room a color that flows with the rest of the house color.

In the laundry room, put all soaps and cleaners in a cupboard or reduce the number and organize them neatly on one shelf.  Are you kidding-stage the laundry room?  Yes, if it’s a mess and crowded for you, buyers will believe it will be for them, too.  Just like the kitchen, keep counters and sinks clean and empty.  Get rid of excess hangers and hanging laundry.  If you have a drying area, replace all those miscellaneous hangers with one style of white plastic hangers.

Make sure that light bulbs are working and have adequate wattage.  Many laundry rooms are too dark and need to be brighter.

It looks like a lot in print but this is a half a day project for the rooms in this blog so get started and you will still have time for a nice lunch with a friend or loved one.  Do not dismay, it is about time to reap the benefits of your labor of love.  Okay, labor of necessity.  I will talk about everyone’s favorite – bathrooms next.  Stick with me here for more tips on “Getting Your House Ready to Sell”.

Published in: on November 4, 2009 at 4:10 am  Leave a Comment  
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Conquering the Kitchen

Getting Your House Ready to Sell – Tips #7

As I promised in my last blog, we will talk today about the kitchen.  I just felt like Paula Dean when I said that.  Not cooking –  getting your kitchen ready to sell.

The main question in the kitchen is what can you live without?  Clear off counters leaving only a very few items that you have to use on a daily basis.  Everything else should be kept off the counters to create space.  Most homes have far too many appliances and other items out that should be stored out of sight.  Leave a few larger items on the counters like a bowl of fruit or a basket with bread in it.  Toasters, mixers, blenders, coffee pots, (okay maybe keep the coffee pot) all the appliances you can store in a pantry or inside a cabinet, do so.

Repair any tile or Formica countertops that have been damaged or come unglued.  Clean tile grout with bleach if it is stained.  Remove all magnets, photos, children’s drawings, etc., from the refrigerator front.  If there are a couple of truly necessary items put them on the side of the refrigerator but I prefer they be kept in a drawer, a nesting basket or otherwise out of sight.

Clean the stovetop and oven. Replace old burner pans if they are badly stained.  Even if the refrigerator isn’t included in the sale of the house, clean it and make sure it smells fresh – they will look!  Clean all exhaust fans, filters, and hoods.  Clean the kitchen floor and keep it clean for showings. Make sure faucet is working smoothly without drips and is clean. Remember to pack up the collections in the kitchen, too.  Pack up the antique plate collection and whatever else will distract buyers and take up space.  Keep all soaps, towels, scouring pads and cleaning supplies out of sight underneath the sink.  Some kitchens have too many scatter rugs in them.  Too many rugs make a room look smaller.  If space allows, one large rug in the middle of the kitchen looks great.  Empty garbage regularly to prevent kitchen odors.  Move pet dishes so that they don’t interfere with buyers walking around the room.

If these chores aren’t on your regular cleaning list prior to getting ready to sell, you may have some wrinkled hands after all this cleaning but the cook in the family that looks at your house will greatly appreciate all your wrinkled skin.  Keep up the good work.  Stay tuned for more tips on “Getting Your House Ready to Sell”.

Published in: on November 3, 2009 at 3:03 am  Leave a Comment  
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More Tips for Getting Your House Ready to Sell

Tips #5

Well, by now you may be feeling pretty confident and enjoying the changes you’ve made.  Don’t get too attached, remember you’re getting it ready to sell.

Be sensitive to odors, because buyers are!  Excessive cooking or smoking odors, dog or cat odors, baby odors, laundry and mildew odors will turn buyers off.  If there is a challenge in your home, use room deodorants or disinfectant sprays and keep windows cracked open even in very hot or cold weather for ventilation. There are great products in pet stores for pet odors, and many professional carpet cleaners have special ozone machines that can really help with difficult odors.  You can’t sell it if you can smell it! More and more people are developing allergies to fragrances so don’t burn candles and have lots of fragrant potpourri, plug-ins…….you get the idea.  A fresh, clean house will serve you much better than overwhelming fragrances and the buyers won’t think you are trying to mask a problem.

Wash all windows and make sure they are working freely.  If the seal is broken on a double pane window replace it now.  Repair items that are broken.  This will show that your home is well taken care of.  In many cases buyers will ask for them to be repaired anyway, so do it now.  Buyers usually overestimate the cost of repairs so you won’t want to try and negotiate obvious repairs or deferred maintenance.

By now you are beginning to see progress and why these things are so important in getting your house ready to sell.  Unless you are offering your house as a “good buy” for someone, as-is, you are beginning to understand that buyers who are paying market value don’t want to inherit your undone projects.  Remember the pay off will be worth the work.  Stay tuned for additional tips on “Getting Your House Ready to Sell”.

Published in: on October 29, 2009 at 4:06 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Getting Your Home Ready to Put on the Market

Tip #3

Remember in my last blog I reminded you that with a surplus of  inventory, the pretty ones will sell at a higher price in the least amount of time.  So,  in addition to the carpeting and lighting some repairs may need to be made.


Look at your home with the eyes of a buyer and repair and repaint cracks on all walls and ceilings.  Repair or replace broken light switches and switch plates.  Clean any dirty areas around them.  Keep all curtains and blinds open during the day to let in light and allow buyers to enjoy the views.  The extra cost of additional heating or air conditioning is a necessary cost of selling so open the curtains and keep the temperature at a comfortable temperature.  Buyers and their Realtors (who are human although there has been some debate) will not want to remain inside the house long if it is an uncomfortable temperature. Important to remember that a comfortable temperature is one that appeals to the majority, not necessarily to you.   Reduce the number of pillows on couches to zero or two.  Remove all afghans and blankets (there are occasional exceptions to the pillow and afghan rule).  Pack up all valuable items and prescription drugs to protect them.  If necessary, take them to a safe deposit box or invest in a small fireproof safe.

Take a hard look at those beloved house plants.  In most cases they need to be pruned and/or the number reduced to create more space.  If they don’t look super healthy or are just barely clinging to life then give then away if you don’t want to bury them.  Make sure they are not covered in dust.  Most houseplants don’t make the best “greenery” accent piece.  Over the years, I have seen many, many, old, really old philodendron which are long and viney and very sparse.  Get unattached to those unattractive plants.  Every suggestion is not going to apply to you but if you will take all of them to heart and take a good look at your property, the pay-off will make you smile.

In my next blog…Tip #4 on “Getting your home ready to sell”.

Published in: on October 27, 2009 at 2:06 am  Leave a Comment  
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The “Pretty” Ones

What have you heard it is?  Location, Location, Location?  Maybe you have heard:  Location, Condition, Price?  If I asked you, “which houses sell?”,  what would be your answer?  Well, of course, all of the above are true and all are important but………

Several years ago, I had a couple of listings that were in good areas, priced within the market value for similar properties, well maintained and Realtors were showing the properties to qualified buyers but………nothing.  After six months of this, the Sellers are more than frustrated and I am searching for a new plan as my own frustration has exceeded my comfort zone.   The house just didn’t reach out and grab anyone and it was a great floor plan. 

Through years and years of helping buyers buy houses and sellers sell houses; I knew that buyers buy on emotion.  You know that “warm and fuzzy” feeling that makes you act.  Well, in the absence of the “warm fuzzies” you get nothing.  Why is that?  Because, buyers keep looking until the “warm fuzzies” show up.  Now, there is the occasional analytical buyer but rare and often offset by the “warm fuzzy” spouse. 

So, back to the property listing problem:  I asked the seller if I could bring in some décor and rearrange some things which was perfectly fine with them.  One of the agents in my office helped me and we changed a few things, moved the furniture, and eliminated some things.  Voila!  Two offers in the first week!  Okay, it was so obvious.  Remember, I said, I had a couple of listings like that.  Well, sure, we did the same thing to the other one and had a contract within two weeks. 

Before staging became an everyday word and before HGTV made staging famous, we had figured it out!  The pretty ones sell.  Remember, pretty is a relative term and is usually based on price range.  My co-worker and I knew then what we had to do.  We, of course, didn’t call it “staging” because “staging” wasn’t a trademarked term yet.  It is now.  Yes, we eventually went to school and got our accreditation so we could actually say we could “stage” your house to sell.  As you probably guessed, neither of us “stage” properties other than our listings and it is included in the listing fee.  What a deal!  Sellers not only love the way their house looks and feels but the love the results that “staging” brings.  

Remember my last blog where I talked about the house listing where the pictures looked like someone was actually in the master bed and the big black bag of trash on that beautiful slate floor? (btw: not my listing)  It’s important to note here that when it expired, I listed that house, “staged” it and it sold!  The way we live in our homes and the way we market our houses are completely different!

Published in: on October 13, 2009 at 6:39 pm  Leave a Comment  
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******SOLD IN 3 DAYS******

For Sale: 3BR/2BA Single Family House in Claremore, OK, $85,000

Call or text 918-798-7271 to find out how I can help you sell your home.

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Published in: on October 7, 2009 at 2:53 am  Leave a Comment  
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