ByAli Sahabi of Optimum Group, LLC
President, Building Industry Association (BIA) Baldy View Chapter
With the Fourth of July behind us, the summer home-buying season is in full swing. For those who need to sell their current residence in order to purchase a new home, one of the first projects on their “to-do” list is to spruce up their existing home to list it. Because selling a home will often entail conditions on the sale later on by a buyer or require upgrades to the structure or plumbing to meet newer building or environmental standards, most home sellers will want to phase in improvements to their home. So one of the best places to start selling a home will be to enhance your home’s appearance or curb appeal with a few simple upgrades.
The key to selling a home is to help a prospective buyer to see an existing home as their new home. Start by storing everything but the essentials you will need for day-to-day living. Make sure to store personal items such as family pictures or trophies because potential buyers don’t want to feel like they are intruding on somebody else’s life. Consider renting a commercial storage unit and leave your garage as clean and spacious as it can be because garages can be a big selling point.
Clean your house from top to bottom including walls, floors, furniture and tabletops. Everything should be sparkling clean when a buyer makes that all-important first visit. First impressions are important, so consider a fresh coat of paint on your front door. Remember to polish doorknobs and knockers and clean any glass. Also, consider replacing a worn screen door. When a buyer waits at the front door to enter, let them know that the home is well-tended.
Take a long look at your home from the street and see that your home appears clean, inviting and well-kept. Be sure to weed garden areas and trim unruly bushes. Depending on the age and condition of your driveway, you might consider resealing it. If you have older windows, consider replacing them. If you retain your original windows, a good coat of paint will always improve their appearance.
Give your exterior and interior a paint job with a single neutral color throughout such as beige or taupe. This will make the home look newer and the rooms look larger. Consider new flooring if your carpet is aging. If you have carpets covering an existing hardwood floor, consider removing them.
Because kitchens and bathrooms are the two rooms that make or break a sale, sprucing up these rooms might be less expensive than the profits you could lose by reducing the price.
If your home's appliances such as dishwashers, ovens, refrigerators and washers and dryers are outdated, it could pay to replace them. Buyers do not want to be faced with the possibility of having to replace appliances when moving in to a new house. Shiny, new energy-efficient appliances already in place will be a big selling point.
In addition to traditional methods, take advantage of the digital revolution. Use a video-sharing website such as YouTube to introduce yourself and your house for free. Take home shoppers on a virtual tour and tell them about its uniqueness and strengths from a first-person point of view. Consider Internet social networking sites to create a web link with a profile of your home. Email the link to your friends and ask them to forward it on to their network of contacts. Get your home listed on real estate websites. There are some that are national in scope and others focus on your specific markets.
Most importantly, remember that for most Americans their home is the biggest and best investment they will ever make, so if you do any major remodeling, use only a properly licensed contractor and make sure he acquires all of the necessary permits for any work done. You can check a contractor's license number online at the California Contractors State License Board (CSLB) www.cslb.ca.gov or by calling (800) 321-CSLB (2752) to ensure you that you are getting the best possible results and protection for your investment.