Preparing To Sell Your Home

Getting Prepared

One of the great challenges to selling a home can be showing all of its space, decor and natural light potential. For example, every home has crowded closets and dead space. Sellers should be aware that areas such as these are easy to spruce-up with a little elbow grease and old-fashioned innovation.

Begin by evaluating your closet/storage space, determine which areas can cut-down in clutter. Go through old clothes, shoes, etc., and get rid of anything that will not be used and in turn create more space. Consider organizing shelves and other areas to make better use of your storage space, including your garage and basement. Also, try to throw out or give away any old furniture that is no longer of use. All of the discarded items can be given to Good Will, Salvation Army or even sold at a yard sale.

Although most sellers keep their homes clean and well-decorated, it can be difficult to convince a buyer of a home's potential when clutter is noticeable. As an agent, it's my responsibility to offer any tips that will expedite the sale and make the experience more enjoyable for the seller.

Once you've eliminated the unwanted items and furniture, begin the 'renovation' process. For non-storage spaces that could use a little more decor, consider adding a small bookshelf complemented with a cozy reading chair. Always be sure you're filtering as much light into your property as possible. Open or replace curtains. For example, light from a window overlooking the backyard offers a room more color, a great view and the illusion of more space.

Always maximize the potential of existing decor; wash old curtains, re-stain old wood casings, anything that refreshes and emphasizes all the potential of the space and decor of the home.

Prospective buyers are often more drawn to homes with features that they don't have, those with clutter-free closets, open sunny rooms, and cozy little corners. To ensure you've realized all of the above characteristics the last step should be to bring in a friend and observe their reaction. Make sure it's an honest friend, who will offer suggestions as well as notice the improvements. Seeing your own home through someone else's eyes is a great way to make a home optimally attractive and more sellable to prospective buyers.

Be diligent in your efforts and be sure the renovations improve the aesthetic appeal of the home. All the hard work will be worth the reward of a successful sale.

What's Your Style?

Styles of houses vary across the country, the choices are almost endless.  These are just a few of the popular styles of homes available throughout the state of Florida.

Condo style House: A condo or condominium is a single building or a community of buildings with separate units owned by individual residents. Condos can vary in size or style, ranging from individual homes to high-rises, but they often share walls with adjacent units.

Detached Condominiums: Detached condominiums are a type of hybrid of the single-family home with classic condominium features, including planned communities. Just like standard joined-condos or row or apartment-like condos, detached condos feature communities with homeowner associations. Detached condominiums also go by several other names, including "ground condos" and "free-standing condos." Detached condos give buyers the single-family homes they want but also often eliminate exterior maintenance chores, just as with traditional condo communities.

Villa Homes: Today, a villa can still be considered a luxurious and upscale vacation home, depending on the location.  Typically, villas in the U.S. may also share a common wall with another home like a patio home.  There are also detached villas, which are designed to look and feel like a single-family home but on a smaller scale, yet are still part of the HOA that handles the common area and exterior home maintenance. 

Townhouse: Mostly found in urban areas, the row house, more commonly known as the townhouse, became popular in the early 19th century thanks to limited space and the financial benefits for the architect/builder. Homes built in this manner could go up fast and in a smaller area of land. Practicality dictates row-house design; they are typically two stories or more with a traditional layout, side hallways and minimal lawn space.

Traditional Ranch Home: Traditional ranch-style homes usually have simple floor plans, attached garages, and efficient living spaces. The style dates back to 1932 and is still being built today. It was one of the most popular styles in the suburban home-building boom of the 1950s and 1960s.These long low houses rank among the most popular types in the country.

Contemporary: Some folks consider contemporary and modern architecture to be essentially the same. However, contemporary refers to today's building styles, which can vary in design and appearance. Both styles are similar in that they look to connect indoors and outdoors, but contemporary homes tend to emphasize energy efficiency, sustainable materials, lots of natural light and the use of recycled non-toxic materials.

Mid-Century Modern: Constructed out of new ideas, mindsets and a forward-thinking style, mid-century modern architecture flourished from 1945 to the 1980s. Characterized by flat planes, large glass windows and open space, the style focused on simplistic design and seamless integration of nature. World War II brought new materials, such as steel and plywood, to the forefront of architecture and design, and helped to enlighten new ways of thinking about residential living.

Mediterranean: Influenced by the area from which it's named, this style became extremely popular in the U.S. from 1918 to 1940. The homes were modeled after the hacienda style, with red tile roofs, arches and plaster surfaces. This style is very popular again and features a lot of the original design elements, including porticos, balconies and ornamental details such as heavy wooden doors and multicolored tiles.

Custom Home: A custom home is a one-of-a-kind house that is designed for a specific client and for a particular location. The custom home builder may use plans created by an architect or by a professional home designer. Custom homes afford consumers the opportunity to control layout, lot size, and accessibility.

 

Home Improvements

What home improvements really pay off when the time comes to sell your house?

That’s an important question for any homeowner contemplating moving or remodeling. And the only possible answer is a somewhat complicated one.

That answer starts with the fact that really major improvements – room additions, total replacements of kitchens and baths, etc. - rarely pay off fully in the near term. It ends with the fact that small and relatively inexpensive changes can pay off in a big way in making your home attractive to buyers if your decision is to move now.

It’s often the case that the most appropriate major improvements are unlikely to return their full cost if a house is sold within two or three years.

Does that mean that major home improvements are always a bad idea? Absolutely not. It does mean, though, that if your present house falls seriously short of meeting your family’s needs you need to think twice – and think carefully – before deciding to undertake a major renovation. Viewed strictly in investment terms, major improvements rarely make as much sense as selling your present home and buying one that’s carefully selected to provide you with what you want.

Even if you have a special and strong attachment to the house you’re in and feel certain that you could be happy in it for a long time if only it had more bedrooms and baths, for example, there are a few basic rules that you ought to keep in mind.

Probably the most basic rule of all, in this regard, is the one that says you should never – unless you absolutely don’t care at all about eventual resale value – improve a house to the point where its desired sales price would be more than 20 percent higher than the most expensive of the other houses in the immediate neighborhood.

Try to raise the value of your house too high, that is, and surrounding properties will pull it down.

Here are some other rules worth remembering:

        Never rearrange the interior of your house in a way that reduces the total number of bedrooms to less than three.

        Never add a third bathroom to a two-bath house unless you don’t care about ever recouping your investment.

        Swimming pools rarely return what you spend to install them. Ditto for sunrooms – and finished basements.

If you decide to do what’s usually the smart thing and move rather than improve, it’s often the smaller, relatively inexpensive improvements that turn out to be most worth doing.

The cost of replacing a discolored toilet bowl, making sure all the windows work or getting rid of dead trees and shrubs is trivial compared with adding a bathroom, but such things can have a big and very positive impact on prospective buyers. A good broker can help you decide which expenditures make sense and which don’t, and can save you a lot of money in the process.

Showing Checklist

Fully preparing your home for sale can make considerable difference in the time it takes to sell it. You can help eliminate buyer objections before they arise by making necessary repairs and improvements, some of which are suggested below.

Outdoors

  •  Spruce up gardens and lawn; trim shrubbery and replace dead plants.
  •  Yard and patio should be neat; outdoor furniture should be clean and in good shape.
  •  Clean or paint your front door - remember first impressions last longest!
  • Manicure your front yard, driveway and entry - you can’t sell what you can’t see.

Exterior

  • Check that door numbers, mailbox, and exterior lighting are all in good repair.
  • Touch up with fresh paint as needed.
  • Inspect chimney for cracks or earthquake damage.
  • Repair loose trim, drainpipes and fencing.
  • Clean stains; clean window screens.
  • Inspect Seawall

Garage

  • Remove clutter; tidy up shelves.
  • Wash floor so it looks clean and spacious.

Living Areas

  •  Apply fresh paint as needed…brighten your interiors with neutral-toned paint.
  • Clean draperies and carpets.
  • Replace burned out light bulbs.
  • Clean fireplace, remove smoke stains from wall and mantle.

Kitchen

  • Sinks, appliances and counter tops should sparkle without any clutter.
  •  Wax the floor.
  • Clean oven, range and other appliances.
  • Clean tile and grout; replace if necessary.

Bathrooms

  •  Clean mirrors, glass, chrome and porcelain surfaces.
  • Replace shower curtain if necessary.
  • Fix any faucet drips or leaks.
  • Clean tile, grout and caulking; replace if necessary.

Closets

  • Doors and drawers should open and close easily.
  • Remove clutter; tidy up shelves and racks.
  • Shoes and clothes should be neatly arranged.

Overall

  • Check the basics around the house. It takes just a minute to check all doors, windows and cabinets to make sure they don’t stick, squeak or are too loose.
  • Clean your furnace & water heater, so buyers know they are looking at a house that has been well maintained.

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