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Old 05-30-2007, 07:59 AM
 
Location: Stuck on the East Coast, hoping to head West
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I'd like your input on the top improvements that a seller can do that will translate into quicker sales other than cleaning/de-cluttering. For example, I was thinking repairing/painting nail holes in the walls. In other words, things that don't cost a whole lot, but make a big impact on a potential buyer. Thanks in advance.
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Old 05-30-2007, 08:15 AM
 
Location: City of the damned, Wash
428 posts, read 2,322,877 times
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#1 would be fresh paint wherever things are less than sparkling.
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Old 05-30-2007, 08:37 AM
 
Location: NY to FL to ATL
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Definately steam clean carpets.

I would make the most effort in the front of the house (landscaping, etc) and the whole area you see from walking in the front door. It's like a one, two punch if you can get a potential buyer like that.
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Old 05-30-2007, 08:37 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bande1102 View Post
I'd like your input on the top improvements that a seller can do that will translate into quicker sales other than cleaning/de-cluttering. For example, I was thinking repairing/painting nail holes in the walls. In other words, things that don't cost a whole lot, but make a big impact on a potential buyer. Thanks in advance.
a) to emphasize and repeat - the most important is: unclutter all the rooms by throwing out or storing much of your stuff before showing the house - clear your shelves, clear your cupboards and pantry of all clutter/extra stuff. If you need to rent storage for all this stuff - then do it. Also get remove all large/over-bearing furniture which makes rooms feel smaller. You can probably put a lot of this in the garage (that's ok).
b) fresh paint throughout in neutral and room brightening colors (remove everything from the walls, fill the holes, fix any blemishes - you can then put back up a few things, but try to leave a lot of wall space unfilled with pictures/paintings, etc... - take down dated-looking or personalizing wall-paper and wall borders as well) - you want the potential buyers to visualize themselves in your home; not to be bombarded with reminders that this is "your home."
c) clean - "thoroughly clean" the carpets/floors and dust everything. Destain & steam clean carpets. re-stain/polish all woodwork to cover up small scratches and to provide new-woodwork feel (there's a ton of cheap/easy wipe-on/wipe-off products that do this).
d) fix every small thing that is visably broken/in need of repair - replace with matching items when repairs aren't possible - if you cannot find something matching or fix to look like new (if indeed you will see the repair - then leave alone and be prepared to talk to why it isn't fixed yet if someone notices)
e) consider new flooring if after cleaning it still looks rough - choose bright/neutral colors - choose products similar to what the local comparables have, or just something slightly better (don't do tile if no one else has it ; don't do granite counter-tops if no one else has them, etc)
f) remove all window treatments which are dated and or room darkening. People love to walk into bright open homes; darkness is a turn-off.
g) consider buying extra lamps/light sources which can brighten up the house for showing. Halogen lamps provide tremendous light.
h) biggest bang for the buck home renovations are bathrooms and the kitchen - replace old-looking fixtures, flooring, lighting, and countertops with new ones comparable or just a bit above what the local comparable homes have.
i) get some baked-goods or vanilla smelling candles - distribute and light them before showing so people associate your place with nice feel-good scents.
j) money well spent is on a professional landscaper to fix up the front yard - "curb appeal" is significantly impactful to all buyers. For "hundreds" (not thousands of dollars) you ought to be able to get all plantings cleaned up, mulched, and trees pruned. Plant some nice looking annuals or other cheap flowers to add color
k) power wash and/or stain/paint the outside of your house to give it fresh look and added curb appeal.

I'm sure I could come up with others, but these are the logical things I would consider when about to sell. It seems like any of these you don't do will likely turn off potential buyers - any that you do take care of will add value.

I once heard a realtor tell me it is ok to have 1 item which is dated or a turn-off to potential buyers (like a bad/dated carpet color OR cracks in the driveway/side-walk)... but when you have 2 or more noteworthy issues, then that's a major negative. Keep that in mind as you cannot be expected to make a 30 year old house "perfect" - but you can do a lot to encourage buyers to overlook the "one bad thing."
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Old 05-30-2007, 09:49 AM
 
Location: Long Beach, CA
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Up-date old kitchen and bathroom fixtures.
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Old 05-30-2007, 10:07 AM
 
Location: Montana
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Repair and maintenance issues should be taken care of before listing. Those things will come up on an inspection report, anyway, and sometimes even relatively minor repairs can be "deal breakers" for some buyers.

As far as no-cost, quick things that have a huge impact - thorough cleaning, decluttering, spruced-up front yard help with that first impression. Make sure it smells nice, too (no perfumy air fresheners, just nice and clean). Re-arrange the furniture and pictures to get the best flow and show off the features of the room.

Then low-cost improvements - fresh paint being #1. Look at changing out things that give a home a "dated" look. Top thing that comes to mind is light fixtures. Nothing says "dated" like a bright brass and glass dining room chandelier. You can get nice modern lighting for a pretty low price at the home improvement stores. $100-$200 can go a long way to updating the look of the home. While you're at it, check out the kitchen and bath faucets. It's surprising, but a lot of buyers really notice the faucets. If you can do the brushed nickel ones, that seems to really catch attention.

For more $$$ - Definitely flooring. If you've got yucky old carpet, it's a definite turn-off for buyers. Many people have trouble visualizing what a home might look like with different carpeting. Especially if the carpet is one of those 80's or 90's designer colors (hunter green, country blue, mauve), buyers can have trouble getting past that. If you don't have much to spend on flooring, try an entryway in 16"-18" tile. First impressions are lasting.

Then kitchens and baths bring nice returns if you have the $$$$$ for it. Seems kind of sad to go to all that work and not be able to enjoy it yourself . . . at least for awhile (unless you're doing a fix-and-flip, of course). Try to do what you can with some paint and maybe some tile for backsplashes, etc.

Try to look at your home as if you've never seen it before, or better yet, ask for the frank opinion of a couple of friends.
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Old 05-30-2007, 11:59 AM
 
Location: Stuck on the East Coast, hoping to head West
4,475 posts, read 10,332,960 times
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thanks! these are some great ideas. I had no idea people were so picky about faucets and light fixtures? Egads, I have the brass and glass! And ceilings? I did not know that.

I have a dog so am ripping out the carpets anyway, but I have those colors, too! I feel so....dated
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Old 05-30-2007, 05:59 PM
 
Location: Virginia Beach, VA
2,124 posts, read 8,271,377 times
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When you declutter, also depersonalize. Remove your pictures of your family and where gradution degree, your favorite sports team, your favorite collection (dolls, cars, etc.). We want your home to tell a story, just not your story. We want the new potential buyer to start telling their story in this home when they walk in. Good Luck.

Shelly
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Old 05-30-2007, 07:59 PM
MB2
 
Location: Sebastian/ FL
3,496 posts, read 8,922,894 times
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Default attention to detail......

We just sold our home, in the tough FL market, and had 2 months, to get it show ready.
No, it really didn't cost a lot, but, it was a PAIN IN THE A**...lol.
*De-clutter, de-personalize, organize, store stuff away and out of sight, and clean, clean, clean (please note...there is NOTHING more of a turn-off as the stench of cigarettes and pets!!!)....yuk!!!
I used to smoke (I quit), and have 2 large indoor dogs.
The new owners we met at closing NEVER smelled cigarettes nor any dog, and couldn't belive it.
WHITE VINEGAR WORKS WONDERS!!!!!! I SWEAR!!!!!
*Curb appeal doesn't have to cost much at all. I removed weeds, replaced 3 shrubs which died, and added some plant arragements on the entry way along with a new door mat. It was about $80 in all, but when I was finished pulling it together....priceless!
*Yankee candle french vanilla .....Never met anybody NOT liking vanilla....yet!!!!
*Stage....but with your own furniture. I didn't have the time and/ or money to hire a decorateur, or furniture rental for the staging process. They have GREAT ideas online to get that clean, streamlined look (Divine Design, Home Depot...etc.)
*And, last but not least...the right PRICE for the property! I had come to realize, that I can't be greedy, without "cutting my losses", and just come to terms that it still is a tough, stagned, and demanding buyers market.
I walked away being AHEAD, even though I was counting on more. I paid off my mortgage, a home equity loan....and my credit rating is now absolutely awesome, the highest ever. What more could I have wanted????

Last edited by MB2; 05-30-2007 at 08:05 PM.. Reason: add on
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Old 05-30-2007, 08:30 PM
 
Location: Virginia Beach, VA
2,124 posts, read 8,271,377 times
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MovingBack,

Congrats on your sale!! You are the epitome of a smart seller!! You did the right things to get your home showing ready. You were smart on your pricing. And when your home came on the market, your first impression was the best impression. That is the way to go!! My hats off to you.

Shelly
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