Five Simple Ways To Increase Value When Selling Your Home

By Allan Crooks (R)
Wednesday - August 08, 2007
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Thinking of selling your home? For Sellers, the market is more competitive than ever. To get the best price and sell in a timely manner, your home needs to look its best. Here are five simple, inexpensive tips to enhance the value of your home before putting it on the market. These tips can increase a property’s value by thousands of dollars and be the difference in selling right away or sitting on the market.

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1. Start with ridding the home of clutter! One of the side effects of living in our own home is that we tend to become packrats. Buyers on the other hand are often turned off by clutter. To a Buyer, piles of old books and magazines, boxes of clothes, photos, and knick knacks “displayed” throughout the home can give the impression that the owner is not very meticulous about home maintenance. The Buyer is thinking, “What is the likelihood of the owner keeping up with regular home maintenance if the owner can’t even keep up with their own life?” Ideally, a home in “show condition” should look very organized. For example, kitchen counters, tables, shelves and walls should be clear of any unusual distractions except for perhaps artwork or display of flowers. The Buyers’ eyes should travel effortlessly throughout the house without getting caught up in distracting clutter.

2. Get rid of excess furniture.

So you managed to get your California king size bed, two huge dressers and a bookshelf into your 9 X 12 master bedroom. Furthermore, the rest of the apartment is just as stuffed with furniture as the bedroom.

Unfortunately, most Buyers will be unable to visualize the home the way it could be. Most prospective Buyers will just turn away thinking the home is too small for their needs. Strategically select which furniture to keep and which furniture to get rid of with the goal of maximizing the home’s feeling of volume. A Seller must realize that to optimally market their home, sometimes functionality must be compromised in the name of aesthetics. Yes, in certain instances, you may be temporarily reduced to a one closet wardrobe, but because your home feels bigger, it will probably sell faster.

3. Thoroughly clean your home.

Buyers appreciate a clean home and can be totally turned off by a dirty home even if it’s in good condition. If the home hasn’t been cleaned recently, consider hiring a professional cleaner. They are well worth the investment. Ideally, carpets should be professionally cleaned and stain free. Bathrooms should sparkle. Windows should shine. At the very least, laundry should be picked up, toys put out of sight, beds made, and dirty dishes cleaned and put away.

4. Fix the small things. Perhaps some of the window frames need cleaning and lubrication, the toilet runs intermittently, or the bathtub needs to be recaulked. Many of the small items can be fixed by an energetic Do It Yourselfer or by a handyman. If there is ever a time to fix some deferred maintenance on the home, now is the time. When viewing homes, Buyers commonly perform minor tests such as opening and closing windows or cabinet doors, flushing toilets, switching lights on and off and running faucets. If the home “fails” one of these minor tests, the Buyer may question how well the entire (electrical, plumbing) system works.

Allan and Soomi Crooks congratulate Leo Andrus on the sale of his home in Aiea.
Allan and Soomi Crooks congratulate Leo Andrus on the sale of his home in Aiea.

5. Consider new interior paint and carpet. This is one of the most frequently recommended improvements Realtors will suggest to their clients. The investment in new paint and carpet “freshens up” the house and often sets it apart from competing listings. New interior paint and carpet can have such a dramatic effect on the look of a property that it can be the difference between sitting on the market for months or selling right away.

Given how complicated and time consuming selling a home can be, hiring an experienced, full time Realtor to represent you in the sale of your property makes a lot of sense. Realtors will advise you on the most cost effective way to prepare your home for sale and will often put you in touch with the necessary handymen, painters, and contractors. Your Realtor will also advise you on proper pricing. When the home is ready to show, your Realtor, typically at his or her expense, will market your home aggressively to the public. An advertising campaign designed around your property will include at the minimum, private showings, open houses, and print and Internet advertising. As offers are received, your Realtor will negotiate on your behalf to ensure that you receive the best possible price and terms. Finally, your Realtor will guide you through the multi-step escrow process to ensure that your interests are being represented at every juncture and ultimately guide you to a successful closing.

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