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Getting Real Estate Ready

From experience,
realtors also know
that a "well-polished" house appeals to more buyers and will sell faster and for
a higher price. Additionally, buyers feel more comfortable purchasing a
well-cared for home because if what they can see is maintained, what they can't
see has probably also been maintained. In readying your house for sale,

  • how much should you spend
  • exterior and curb appeal
  • preparing the interior

How much should you spend
preparing your home for the market, spend as little money as possible. Buyers
will be impressed by a brand new roof, but they aren't likely to give you enough
extra money to pay for it. There is a big difference between making minor and
inexpensive "polishes" and "touch-ups" to your house, such as putting new knobs
on cabinets and a fresh coat of neutral paint in the living room, and doing
extensive and costly renovations, like installing a new kitchen. Your realtor,
who is familiar with buyers' expectations in your neighborhood, can advise you
specifically on what improvements need to be made. Don't hesitate to ask for

Maximizing exterior and
curb appeal

putting your house on the market, take as much time as necessary (and as little
money as possible) to maximize its exterior and interior appeal. Tips to enhance
your home's exterior and curb appeal:

  • Keep the lawn edged, cut and watered

  • Trim hedges, weed lawns and flowerbeds,
    and prune trees regularly.

  • Check the foundation, steps, walkways,
    walls and patios for cracks and crumbling.

  • Inspect doors and windows for peeling

  • Clean and align gutters.
  • Inspect and clean the chimney.
  • Repair and replace loose or damaged
    roof shingles.

  • Repair and repaint loose siding and

  • In Northern winters, keep walks neatly
    cleared of snow and ice.

  • During spring and summer months
    consider adding a few showy annuals, perhaps in pots, near your front

  • Re-seal an asphalt driveway.
  • Keep your garage door closed.
  • Store RVs or old and beaten up cars
    elsewhere while the house is on the market.

  • Apply a fresh coat of paint to the
    front door.

Maximizing interior

Enhance your home's interior by:

  • Giving every room in the house a
    thorough cleaning, as well as removing all clutter. This alone will make your
    house appear bigger and brighter. Some homeowners with crowded rooms have
    actually rented storage garages and moved half their furniture out, creating a
    sleeker, more spacious look.

  • Hiring a professional cleaning service, once
    every few weeks while the house is on the market. This may be a good investment
    for owners who are busy elsewhere.

  • Removing the less frequently used, even
    daily used items from kitchen counters, closets, and attics, making these areas
    much more inviting. Since you're anticipating a move anyhow, holding a garage
    sale at this point is a great idea.

  • If necessary, repainting dingy, soiled
    or strongly colored walls with a neutral shade of paint, such as off-white or
    beige. The same neutral scheme can be applied to carpets and linoleum.

  • Checking for cracks, leaks and signs of
    dampness in the attic and basement.

  • Repairing cracks, holes or damage to
    plaster, wallboard, wallpaper, paint, and tiles.

  • Replacing broken or cracked
    windowpanes, moldings, and other woodwork. Inspecting and repairing the
    plumbing, heating , cooling, and alarm systems.

  • Repairing dripping faucets and
    showerheads. Buying showy new towels for the bathroom, to be brought out only
    when prospective buyers are on the way.

  • Sprucing up a kitchen in need of more
    major remodeling by investing in new cabinet knobs, new curtains, or a coat of
    neutral paint.

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