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Tips To Maximize Proceeds

Sellers Often Ask One Question...

"What Can I Do That Will Help Me Net The Most Money?"

If you're selling your home, there are three things that are most likely to increase your proceeds. Some (like minor improvement projects) have a cost attached, and some, such as preparing the home for photos and keeping the home "show-ready" cost you only vigilance and effort. Here are the three most important things you can do that will help you net the most in proceeds from the sale of your home.

Getting Your Home Ready For Market Doesn't Have To Cost You A Fortune

Minor Upgrades And Repairs Can Make A Big Difference In The Proceeds Of Your Sale

If you want to drive away buyers, not tending to the small details is guaranteed to do that. For every small thing that doesn't work or looks like no one has maintained the home, buyers react with fear about what other untended-to items could be hidden from them. Unless you want to sell your home "as is" with a large discount, your best approach is to go into fixit mode and fix everything that is not working—even the things that cannot be seen.

Think about it this way. Do you want to take a chance on the home inspection uncovering something that doesn't work? That could put a snag into your deal that's been going forward smoothly. Everything stops while these small items are discussed and negotiated. It wastes time and you'll likely have to do the repairs before close anyway.

It could mean you'd have to lower the price or even worse could be cause for the buyer to terminate the transaction! Protect yourself and ensure having a smooth transaction by preparing your home carefully to put it on the market.

"BE" A Buyer and Assess Your Home Through "Buyer's Eyes"

Through the process of preparing your home, view your home through the eyes of a buyer. Don't fool yourself. Homes in the Silicon Valley are quite pricey and buyers are typically pretty sophisticated. They are unlikely to overlook flaws or faults. Don't be in denial about the real appearance of your home.

Better to approach this with a clear-eyed and objective view to earning top dollar for your home. We all like to imagine that our home is "special" and anyone who sees it will think so. Don't make excuses for your home, and imagine that buyers will fall in love with it and blindly ignore what they see. That will not happen. You'll lose out on having buyers view your home or seriously consider buying it.

These Are All "Free" or Cheap Minor Improvements You Should Consider To Increase The Proceeds From Sale Of Your Home

Beef up Curb Appeal With Minor Exterior Changes

Stand at the curb and pretend to be a buyer looking at your home for the first time. Imagine that you've been on a tour with your REALTOR® and seen a lot of homes today. You're just stepping out of the car and seeing a new house (your house). What do you notice? How do your feel? Are you loving it and feel anxious to go inside and see more? If you aren't answering "yes" to that last question, you've got work to do.

Make a checklist of items that you observe that need to be fixed on the outside of your home from that curbside viewpoint. Notice anything damaged or worn.

  • Start with the walkways, porches and steps. That's where the buyer will will start. You certainly don't want anything to stop the buyer at the curb. Believe me, they will have eagle eyes checking out everything. Don't make them wonder if it would be too much work to get your home fixed up.
  • Check out your front door. Does it look sparkling, clean and freshly painted? If not, you may want to clean or paint it. Would it enhance the front of your home to polish or replace front door hardware? Would a fresh “Welcome” mat add to appeal?
  • Try your doorbells, and if they don't work, fix or replace them. Make sure the doorknobs are not loose, and tighten them if needed. If the door hinges squeak, oil them.
  • Look over all your exterior paint. Is it time to get the house painted? If not, identify any areas that would benefit from touching up the exterior paint.
  • Examine your fences. Do you see anything that screams deferred maintenance? Fix them.
  • Check out your gutters and eaves. Do you see bird or yellow jacket or hornet nests in your eaves? Does it look like your gutters are full? You can identify this either from seeing debris protruding from the gutters or noticing the remains of waterfalling from the gutter?
  • Go over your patio or deck. Identify anything that needs to be done—from refinishing to replacing planks.
  • Walk your lawn and review it for attractiveness. If you have brown patches, it's an easy fix to reseed and green them up. You'll want to keep the lawn green and mowed while showing your home. If you've invested in drought-tolerant plantings, that can be a selling point.
  • Think about how can you add appeal to the landscaping at the front of the house. Clean debris out of the beds. Weed and keep it weeded, Replace any dead plantings. Plant extra flowers for color, or place potted flowering plants near the front door. Mulch generously for a nice clean look.

Now That You've Got Buyers Interested In Going Inside Your Home

These Minor Fixes Can Get Them Interested In Buying

The next most important thing you can do is spiff up the interior of your home. These are all minor things but altogether they add up to presenting your home as well maintained and sparkling. Removing all these minor "flaws" can keep buyers focused on buying instead of "things wrong" with the house.

Make a checklist of everything inside that house that you just haven't gotten around to fixing. We all tolerate all sorts of minor broken items. You want to eliminate these so that they won't be obstacles to a buyer making an offer.

  • Look over your interior walls and paint. Patch, seal and sand any cracks, gouges or holes. If the paint isn't fresh looking, consider repainting the interior in light, neutral colors. If the paint still looks good, be sure and touch up paint on walls, ceilings, and woodwork—anywhere it is needed. If you have rooms that are painted in colors that might be viewed as bright or "loud" by others, definitely consider repainting them to neutral colors. Buyers don't want to be forced to paint over your favorite colors. They are looking for "move-in ready".
  • Make sure your carpets are spotless and look like "almost new". Shampoo carpets and rugs and keep them clean. If they don't clean up well, think about replacing them.
  • An Inexpensive upgrade with more bang than buck is to update switches, outlets and register vents. Look for ones that look more modern but still fit the style of your home.
  • Make sure your interior doors are in the best shape. Sometimes a good sanding and new fresh coat of enamel can add a lot to the appearance of your home. Fix all loose door knobs,  and squeaky door hinges. Make sure that all sliders, closets doors and screen doors slide freely in their tracks and operate correctly. If they don't, consider replacing them.
  • Assess whether or not replacing bathroom lighting and hardware would improve the look of your bathrooms. Sometimes a small upgrade like new vanity lighting and new cabinet door pulls can make a big difference.
  • It may be time to replace bathroom faucets or shower fixtures. These are minor fixes, but can often give the appearance of a new or at least well-maintained bathroom.
  • Check out all your moldings. Are they scratched, gouged or blackened. Replace what needs to be replaced, fill and sand where needed and do touch up painting. You want buyers thinking, "My that looks clean and fresh!"
  • Take care of anything leaking or wornout in the bathroom. You don't want a buyer using your toilet and finding that it doesn't shut off. Be sure you don't have any leaking taps or toilets. If your toilet seats are old, cracked, or stained, buy new ones and replace them.
  • Make sure major appliances are in good working order. The home inspector will run all your appliances and you don't want to take a hit in the inspection report. Few things look as bad on the report as broken appliances. You don't want want a buyer starting to wonder about what else might be broken or worry about whether or not you were trying to "pass off" a broken appliance on them. 
  • Check all your caulking and grout. It it's loose, dig it out and recaulk or regrout.
  • Assess your closets and see if they are maximized. You don't want buyers to come in and decide that your closets aren't big enough. You might add closet organizers or shelving to make closets more functional and spacious looking. It's a low cost fix and about an afternoon's DIY project.
  • Look over your basement and garage. Are they jumbles of junk? If so, consider cleaning out the junk and storing good items off site. You want a nice, clean, organized garage. If needed, add organizers or shelving for the garage and basement. If needed, clean and paint concrete floor and walls.
  • Clean up water heater and furnace to make a good impression. You're likely to get a better inspection report if you clean the water heater and drain the sediment. Dust off the furnace and change the furnace filter.

Now That You've Got Buyers Interested...

Put The "Icing On The Cake"

You want your home to be a standout to buyers who are looking at a lot of houses. To do that, you're going to present your home as "sqeaky clean". These are subtle changes that buyers might not notice. However, they will definitely notice if you don't do them. Do everything you can to avoid giving an impression of neglect. You don't want any obstacle to a buyer imagining themselves living in your home.

These small changes improve how buyers perceive your home. They don't take a lot to get done and will make it easier on you when it's time to move.

  • Spiff up your landscaping to showcase your home. Mow, rake and edge the lawn. Trim trees, hedges and shrubs. Weed and mulch planting beds. Mulch gives a nice neat look and keeps down the weeds.
  • Make sure your hardscaping is spotless. Clean sidewalks and driveway. If needed, spray for weeds in sidewalk joints. Remove any litter.
  • Get rid of anything that doesn't add to the appeal of your home. Remove unnecessary items from the exterior of the house. Get rid of extra items or store off-site temporarily.
  • Make surfaces sparkle. Power wash the porch, siding, air conditioner, deck and patio. If you've got oil or other stains on surfaces, buy cleaners from home warehouse store and clean it up.
  • Be sure that outdoor furniture enhances the outdoor spaces. Clean off your outdoor furniture and, if needed, replace old cushions with color coordinated ones. Remove any furniture that is in poor repair. Buyers may take a minute to sit on your outdoor furniture and imagine themselves living there.
  • Clear anything out of the garage that gets in the way of parking cars inside. If your garage is just stuffed with junk, throw out all unnecessary items. Look at it as a chance to start preparing to move. Thoroughly organize and clean everything that remains.
  • Be sure your pool looks like an asset. If you have a pool, make sure it’s sparkling clean and functioning. If it's the off-season, be sure the pool is safely and properly closed. If it's swimming season, showcase the pool with furniture or accessories that suggest how much fun it could be.

These are the minor upgrades and repairs that can make the biggest difference in how buyers perceive your home.

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