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12/11/2012

Ten "Must Do's" Before Listing Your Home for Sale


The ten most important things to do before listing your home for sale:

1.      Repaint the front of the house. Repaint any rooms with scuffs or dirty walls in a palette that highlights the style of your home. Painting can be the least expensive pick me up to the appearance of a home. There are a number of online painting programs that are helpful in choosing colors that will work with your architectural style, the existing stone or brick and landscaping. Check with your homeowner association’s rules, in Orange County California where I live many associations are enforcing color palettes that are very restrictive. Paint websites:
Pratt & Lambert my favorite paint for the colors:


2.      Unclutter every room. Reduce the number of items on countertops to three or four. Have a garage sale and get rid of clothing crowded in closets and things you are saving in the garage. Think the opposite of the television show "Hoarders."  List the sale on Craig’s list and have a male attend the one day morning sale with you. Post cardboard signs around the neighborhood early in the morning before 6:30 AM. The rummage sale is only from 7:00 AM- 11:30 AM and have Salvation Army or your favorite donation truck prearranged for pick-up the items that did not sell, and save the receipt for income tax deduction. Take a photograph of the items donated so you will remember what you might itemize.

3.      Take everything out from under the sinks, under the washing machine and behind everything and clean and scrub to the floor and walls of the house. Every surface is going to get scrubbed. Use up all the cleaners you have stored under every sink and hidden in the garage. Think cheap and make your own from supplies you already have at home. Simple cleaning solutions are probably already in your home:

Spray Cleaner for windows and glass: cups water, 2 Tbsp. rubbing alcohol, ¼ cup distilled white vinegar, 5 drops lavender essential oil (optional, for scent) ½ Tbsp. liquid castile soap

Cleaner for tubs and showers: 2 tsp. borax, ½ tsp. liquid castile soap, ½ cup distilled white vinegar, 3 cups hot water.
No mildew stains on anything. Wash the shower curtains in your washing machine on gentle or purchase new ones. Organize kitchen cupboards and start using everything down to reduce the amounts of dry foods, canned foods and clean the refrigerator top and bottom. Empty fireplace ashes and clean out the whole fire surround. If you have firewood outside stack it neatly away from the home.  

 

4.      Plant annual color around front entrance to add to curb appeal, choose smaller pony packs of six rather than the four inch pots and get these in the ground now for a head start. Take a look at my Pinterest Curbside Appeal http://pinterest.com/carolinegerardo/curbside-appeal/ listing of homes in different styles that seem to welcome a buyer to enter. Having landscaping that frames the home and leads the eye in can be a simple matter of trimming your existing scrubs and arranging some pots.
 
This Laguna Beach home has sweet peas, iris and annuals to greet you at the curb. Doesn't this little cottage look welcoming?
 

5.      Check your bedrooms for smoke detectors. In California, and other states, it is required to also have a carbon monoxide detector. Save yourself the trouble of paying for “reinspection” costs. An appraiser or home inspector might add a couple hundred dollars and a few days to your timeline. Avoid such delays of proving you have these necessary items at closing. Having a professional inspection before you list might also give you a target punch list of items you can cheaply repair and be aware of ones a buyer or bank lender might ask you to complete. Be aware that accepting an offer with an FHA loan is going to have more sticky repair requirements than an all cash deal.

6.      Clean up pet areas and create a plan to kennel or have dogs “babysat” at a friend’s location when you have an open house. Although you adore your dogs and cats and critters they have odors that you might not be aware of and these might offend a potential buyer. Buy two spray bottles of Fabreeze for shoes, closets and fabrics in your home. The light spraying of these an hour or less before someone enters the home makes your residence neutral to a new buyer. You are not selling your personal lifestyle, you want to appeal to a variety of types of people. Realtors have long known that even baking toll house premade cookies can make a home smell appealing. A simple warm aroma can be accomplished by boiling an orange peel with cinnamon for five minutes. This is easier and safer than candles.

7.      Shop for a Realtor. There is a difference between a listing or buyer’s agent. Many focus on one side of the business. Who is running advertisements for home like yours? Not necessarily the Real Estate agent who sold your neighbor or sister’s home. Research your neighborhood online and see who pops up in the first page, who can still afford to run newsprint and magazine advertisements and the visibility of the firm or agency they work with. Find someone who you believe you can trust and who communicates in a style that makes you feel well taken care of and will price the home correctly.

8.      Box up personal photographs, any offensive images or strange artwork. Your objective is not to show off your private life, but have a buyer see themselves in your home. Remove any medications in the medicine cabinets and lock them up. Remove jewelry and put in a safe deposit box.

9.      Oil and lubricate anything that squeaks and make sure doors close easily.

10.  Advise your family that they must do the dishes right after eating, make their beds neatly every day and keep the front lawn looking perfect. Getting in the habit of being tidy in morning is a healthy and life changing simple pleasure. A new welcome matt with a coir or rough surface is a good suggestion to wipe the feet of all your new visitors.
 
Next article is how to get your self ready to move- fine tuning your FICO score and taxes to be able to qualify for a home loan. Thanks for reading- C. G. Barbeau, the loan lady. Mortgage home loans to suit your needs

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