Lessons from being a 4-H kid and leader seem to stay with you for a lifetime. Posing your best Steer or displaying your Dutch pple Pie for a judge teaches a simple lesson in marketing.
As we enter the typically slower season in the Tucson real estate market here are some tips to help your property stand out. Remember, when you have fewer buyers actively shopping the market, “standing out” means a better opportunity at attracting one of those buyers. There are two words that describe the opportunity. WOW and Remarkable.
When you are thinking of putting your home on the market this spring, and yes today is the big day 3/20/2012. Real estate’s favorite old adage is “location, location, location,” but with our immediate information society it is true that your first impression starts themoment your property is found on-line. You get one chance to make a first impression, and that could be on-line or at the curbside.
Since you can’t change location, focus on what you can do to start strong. So how do you make your property a Remarkable property that drives a “WOW” response.
Be real with yourself (self critical)
Recognize that your taste is unique. Not everyone will appreciate that sculpture, or colored gnome by the shrubs. You’ve seen the outside of your house so many times that you don’t really see it anymore. A fresh set of eyes on the situation will help, even if it hurts a little. I’ve heard many presentation comments from other Realtors over the years. Some of them barely assertive and some very bold. One most true is this, “I am hired for what I know about getting a house sold, what I share with the sellers to get a house sold, and how I manage the process of getting a house sold. If you want comfort, get a lap dog. If results get a pit bull.”
Put yourself in the role of a buyer, and visit a home that is for sale. Open houses in your area a re a great way to see what otherfolks have already learned about preparing for a sale. Take the time to make write down a list of those things that might raise some concerns for you if you were thinking of buying it. Look the house over with a critical eye, because a buyer will do the same to your home. Consider:
Exterior paint: The color and condition of your home’s exterior is one of the single most important things to a prospective buyer, it’s a major contributor to “curb appeal”. The color makes a visceral impact the moment a buyer walks up, and while you might have thought that the neon blue siding with stark white trim was a good idea at the time, your individual taste is not what the buyer is interested in. With out a doubt, color palate is going to severely limit the home’s visual appeal.
Beyond the color scheme, if the paint job is faded and peeling, it’s an immediate warning sign to buyers that the house hasn’t been maintained. This will likely trigger a more critical buyer examination. A smart buyer will now look for faults, where before they might have overlooked certain “faults” as meaningless.
If you’re handy with a brush and an airless sprayer, you might just want to undertake a repainting project yourself. A long weekend and a few hundred dollars in paint can make a world of difference in how well the home shows and how quickly it sells.
If you don’t want to paint the entire house — or if it doesn’t really need it — just painting the trim, exterior doors, garage door or window shutters can make a big difference as well.
Using a professional painter will likely have superior results. If the $5,000 paint job brings a $10,000 higher price it will be worth the trade off.
Check your roofing: Buyers will conduct a roof inspection, count on it. A bad roof is another indicator of a general lack of maintenance. Besides the potential structural issues presented, when there is water anywhere but outside there will be mold in the same place. Roofs are expensive to replace, but a repair may be in order. Showing on a Seller’s Disclosure that roof work was done paints a picture of staying on top of the home’s maintenance. Depending on your market and your desire to reap top dollar from the sale, you may want to take a hard look at the economics of re-roofing. Get more than one quote and see if the roofers are scoping out the same work to be done. Ask for a detailed explanation of the work needed.
Most agent will agree it is better to re-roofing now versus crediting the cost of a new roof to the buyer in escrow. Credits at escrow can cause delays in closing and will wreak havoc with mortgage loan underwriters. Loans have been killed because of repair credits.
Dress up you driveway and walkways: Driveways are a dominant feature for most homes. Clean any oil-stained concrete, and repair small cracks before they get larger. Dawn and a pressure washer can be your friend. For asphalt driveways, a seal-coat will often make a big difference in appearance and help prolong the asphalt as well.
For concrete or asphalt that’s badly damaged, it’s time to be thinking about replacement. You can replace the driveway with the same material as before, or consider an updated look by using paving stones instead — they hold up well in all types of weather, and create a unique look to make your place pop!
When visitors arrive, is there a clear and safe path to your front door? You may used to walking across your front lawn, but guests and prospective buyers would definitely prefer a walkway. Well placed flat stones will work nicely for this and will be cost effective. There are lots of options for creating a new front walkway or replacing an existing one, so check out your Lowe’s home center for ideas. Check out your area’s Multiple Listing Service photos of other homes.
Homescaping; makes a placde inviting: Are things overgrown? Dead or dying? Obviously neglected? Landscaping is a huge part of that first impression, and you do not want to leave a buyer with the impression that there will be a lot of time spent on yard work. You do want to give the impression that you care about your place. Take a critical look at your yard.
- A few colorful pots in the fall, winter and early spring will help add color even if the flowers are not blooming.
- Rake up leaves, pine needles and other yard waste.
- Repair sprinkler systems and cover the supply hoses.
- Prune back or even remove those wild shrubs, and trim overhanging tree branches.
- Use bright flowers to create borders and accent areas that add both color and hominess to the yard.
- Consider adding new shade trees in front, which help a home look more established and appealing. Trees look best planted in odd numbers — a grouping of three or five for example — and the folks at your local nursery can help you with proper spacing.
De-clutter, clean and organize: If you’re not going to paint, at least wash down the siding to remove dirt and stains and get it looking fresh and clean. Wash driveways, walkways and patios. If you have a wood deck, consider a complete cleaning to restore the wood to a fresher look.
Wash all the windows, inside and out, and wash the screens as well. Polish doorknobs and light fixtures. Stow all of your garden tools and kids’ toys away to remove clutter and potential tripping hazards. Please, roll up thegarden hose and put it away when you are not using it. You might even want to buy a Rubbemaid storage shed to put everythign in it’s place.
Check the evening view
One last thing: Check the night view as well. A home that shows well at night really creates an impression. Replace any burned-out lightbulbs, and consider adding a timer or two to keep the lights on a little longer into the evening.