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Preparing Your Home To Sell For More!

Why does one house sell within days and another languish on the market for months?

In today's real estate market, far too many sellers watch prospective buyers troop through their homes without making an offer. To avoid this kind of frustration, you must learn the secrets of making your house more saleable.

More important, the longer a house is on the market, the less likely the seller is to receive a high offer. It's human nature to suspect the quality of merchandise that has been "on the shelf" for a long time. A slow-selling house makes prospective buyers nervous.

Selling your home can be a painless and profitable experience - if you follow the guidelines offered on the following pages.

THE BASICS

Put yourself in the buyer's shoes! Remember, they arrive at your front door waiting to fall in love with your home. If you've done your homework and set the stage, every room in your home will greet the customer with a pleasant surprise.

What makes your home special?

First, settle down in your favorite easy chair, close your eyes, and try to remember your feeling the very first time YOU walked into your home. Now, start listing your home's most positive features. Remember, the more personal, the better.

Ask your spouse and your children to add their own special positive reactions. Your teenage daughter may remember how she fell in love with your home years ago because of a swing that hung from the old oak tree in the backyard. Don't make the mistake of ignoring children's special impressions.

Tour every room, basement, the garage, and yard. Note at least one positive feature in each. Include the items that attracted you and those desirable features you have added.

Accentuate the Positive

A real estate agent will bring prospective buyers to your door, but don't rely on him or her to do the WHOLE job of selling your home. A saleable home has each room sending out a unique message to the customer. It is more effective to have the buyer's "discover" your home's special features themselves (than to have the owner or agent point them out like a tour guide.)

Draw attention to your home's best asset by a LITTLE CREATIVITY : a cheerful glow of logs in the fireplace; a spotlight beaming down; a pot of red geraniums...stimulates the buyer's imagination by setting the scene!

Eliminate the Negative

You can eliminate many of your home's negative features by transforming them into something visually pleasant. Inexpensive and creative disguises will minimize those drawbacks.

No Home is Perfect, Even Yours

List the negative features you can find. Be "HONEST"!



GENERAL CONSIDERATIONS

* MAKE THOSE MINOR REPAIRS.

All those tiny flaws in your otherwise beautifully maintained home will add up to one thing to the observant buyer: the dreaded OWNER NEGLECT. All signs of OWNER NEGLECT must be eliminated.

* REGARDLESS OF SEASON, TACKLE SPRING CLEANING.

Those hours spent thoroughly cleaning your home will be hours well spent when the results pay off in an early and profitable sale. Clean windows are important! Pay particular attention to your kitchen and bathrooms - they involve personal health and hygiene, and are areas buyers scrutinize closely.

* CREATE THE ILLUSION OF SPACIOUSNESS.

Make your living space APPEAR larger by eliminating bulky, unnecessary furniture - rearrange to give the illusion of spaciousness.

* GIVE YOUR ROOMS A LIGHT, BRIGHT LOOK.

Most buyers want large, bright, cheerful rooms.

* USE COLOR AND LIGHTING TO DRAW ATTENTION TO YOUR HOME'S BEST SELLING FEATURES.

Highlight the graceful bay window with a colorful arrangement of flowers. Color has the power to attract. Lighting should be used for emphasis.

* DISGUISE UNSIGHTLY VIEWS.

Disguise that potentially offending view, but always let light into your rooms. Replace heavy curtains with sheer white panels. Above all, don't apologize for a poor view.

* ELIMINATE UNPLEASANT ODORS.

Remember that some people are more sensitive to odors than others. Smokers rarely notice the odor of tobacco that fills their homes, and pet owners may be oblivious to objectional doggy odor. Use powered products like "Love My Carpet" regularly. Mildew odors are another no-no. Don't allow wet towels to accumulate in hampers, or old laundry to pile up in closets.

* AVOID ECCENTRICITIES

Smart sellers play down individualistic touches that may express perfectly their taste and personality, but, at the same time, appeal to a minority of home buyers. In selling, play the odds. If your rooms are painted purple and beaded curtains hang in every doorway, don't rely on your real estate agent to find the perfect buyer whose taste match yours. The average buyer will have a hard time looking beyond purple walls and eccentric decor. Two coats of white paint may be the best investment you ever made. Other areas of possible offenses are those two old bugaboos, politics and religion. Everyone is entitled to his own beliefs in these areas, but if you are trying to sell to the widest possible market, it is wise not to make your living room look like campaign headquarters or your dining room resemble a sacred temple.

* RECOGNIZE THE FINE LINE BETWEEN CLUTTER AND STERILITY

Notice the small details that make the rooms particularly attractive and appealing - a vase of flowers, a basket of knitting yarns. Accessories can make or break a room. But be on the lookout for distractive clutter.

* DISPLAY PHOTOGRAPHS THAT SHOW YOUR HOME DURING OTHER SEASONS.

Go through your photo albums and select pictures of your house and yard during all four seasons. If hung at eye level in a well lighted area, the pictures will speak for themselves and give you yet another selling edge.

Front Door and Porch

No matter how lovely your home may be behind that front door, a buyer will be turned off by crumbling front steps, a doorbell that doesn't work, creaky hinges, or chipping paint on porch columns. Give special attention to your home's front entry. Remember, first impressions are likely to color the remainder of the house tour.

* CREATE A WELCOME SPOT OF COLOR.

There should be something special that beckons him to your front door, something that sets your home off from the other houses on the block. A bright red milk can, a tub of geraniums, a pot of floppy petunias, or a basket of nasturtiums. Invest in a new doormat that says "welcome."

* OPEN YOUR HOME TO THE OUTSIDE WORLD.

A buyer approaches a home with curiosity aroused; he wants to have positive feelings. If all the curtains are drawn and the front door is locked and bolted, your home will seem like a forbidding fortress. If the curtains are open, the windows sparkling clean, and the front door open (in warm weather), your home will radiate a welcome spirit and invite the buyer to enter.

* CAPITALIZE ON A SPACIOUS FRONT PORCH/DECK.

Take advantage of the nostalgia it evokes. Set the stage and stimulate imaginations.

Your Home's Entry Hall

* CREATE A DRAMATIC FOCAL POINT

Study your entry hall and ask "what kind of statement" it makes about your home. This area should "greet" and say "Welcome, your house hunting days are over." Dried flowers can make a striking focal point on a hall table any time of the year. Imagine cattails, a bunch of orange Chinese lanterns, an arching spray of bittersweet, or wheat stalks in a glowing copper planter.

* ADD SPACIOUSNESS WITH A MIRROR.

Virtually any entry hall, will benefit from a well placed mirror (enlarges the area). Clean regularly!

* IMPROVE THE FLOOR'S APPEARANCE HERE, IF NOWHERE ELSE.

Your entry hall flooring is observed carefully buy the prospective buyer - give them a positive attitude.

* CLEAN OUT YOUR COAT CLOSET.

The entry hall closet is the first one inspected - make it appear roomy. Add a few extra hangers. Hang a bag of cedar chips or a potpourri ball to give a pleasant, fresh scent.



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