Ten Tips for a Fast Home Sale

Thinking of selling your home? Take the extra time the time to get your home ready to put on the market. This is my top 10 list of  ideas for sellers to put their homes in top condition for a quick sale.

1. Jazz Up the Front Entrance. A coat of paint and a new brass kick plate or doorknocker makes a welcoming impression. Remove any personalized doorknockers or signs from the front of the home. Remember to trim bushes and shrubs and keep walkways clear. A blooming plant or festive wreath is a nice touch.

2. Organize the Kitchen. Kitchens sell homes—make yours appear more large and inviting! Clean off counters and organize cupboards and drawers. Store or pack seldom used appliances and large pans. Consider replacing the counter if it is worn or has an unusual color. Repair or replace leaky kitchen faucets and dated florescent light fixtures.

3. Reduce Clutter Inside and Out. Sort out E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G! Throw away anything you do not need and organize the rest. Too much stuff? Consider an off-site storage facility during the move. Donate unwanted items to a local charity. Campers, boats and old cars should be parked at a different location.

4. Clean. Your home should be spotless and smell clean too! Remember to give attention to the yard and garage too. Buyers want to see the size of your garage not where you dumped all the stuff from the house. If you have a dog, make certain that the yard has been picked up before every showing and it is completely free of debris.

5. Paint. Light neutral colors make small rooms appear larger. That cute personalization you painstakingly painted on your child’s wall is a paint-over project to a new buyer. Do them a favor and paint over before the first showing. Remove dated wallpaper and borders and paint walls. Use premium quality paint and remember to patch holes properly and tape woodwork prior to starting. A sloppy paint job can be more detrimental to your bottom line than no paint job at all.

6. Update Bath. If cleaning and painting cannot help a dingy bath, consider     replacing vanity, counter and sink. Look at the faucets and light fixtures. If they are vintage, consider replacing. Also consider installing new flooring or buy nice plush floor mats to make the bathroom cozy. If the tub is nasty and stained, look into having it resurfaced. 

7. Make Minor Repairs. Tighten knobs, fix leaky faucets, oil squeaking hinges, replace dirty filters, repair cracked windows and holes in screens. If it can be fixed, fix it! Buyers do not pay top dollar for a “project house”.

8. Fix Roof Leaks. One tiny water stain on the ceiling will cause a buyer to question the entire roof. Find and fix the leak at the source. This may be the time to call in an expert. Repair any ceiling damage. Disclose any information on repairs made to potential buyers.

9. Explain a Wet Basement. Do what you can to make repairs but be prepared to explain all existing and repaired problems to the potential buyers. Never try to cover signs of a wet basement.

10. Exterminate. Call a professional to get rid of the pests, repair any damage, and allow time for any pesticide smells to dissipate before showing. One bug, dead or alive, can make a bad impression on a buyer. If you have periodic mice, remove the traps and bait before showings. Again, disclose any pest infestations to potential buyers before the sale.

Teri Eckholm

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Theresa "Teri" Eckholm is a Licensed real estate agent in the State of Minnesota
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