How many times must you hear?

How many times does a Seller need to hear how important it is to CLEAN UP the INSIDE and the OUTSIDE of their house before they understand it effects the value?

Over the last 2 years I have seen thousands of dollars left on the table due to Seller’s choosing not to make the effort too ‘DEEP CLEAN’ the inside of their house or Clean up the Outside of the house!  They always blame the agent because we live in a society that doesn’t not want to be responsible for their own inaction.

As a Realtor, we can ‘ADVISE’ you in the way you should go.  We DO NOT make the decision for you.  Nor do we do all the work for you.  We may help you, or direct you to where to find help.  But, ultimately the work completed is up to you!  Where should you invest your money to get the biggest bang for the buck?  CLEANING INSIDE AND OUT!!

If you have a beautiful home inside, but lots of rundown cars outside, no curb appeal and green algae growing on the side of your house very few people will see inside.  Some will turn away at a door gouged with claw marks, or peeling paint.  Are you creating a scary movie set or are you staging a house for sale?

You may need to drive down the road and come back to your driveway with an impartial look in order to truly answer this question.

You laugh, but I have seen homes listed at the top of the market with clawed up double doors, algae growing on the white vinyl siding, and seedlings in the gutters.  Let’s not mention the junk cars next to the driveway and the pink sofa on the front porch.  People may turn away from this clutter, because they do not want to envision themselves living here.

Your goal as a Seller is to create a vision of beauty to attract a Buyer.  There are two main buyers in today’s market… the Investor, who is going to offer 70% under your list price so they can clean up the house and flip it or rent it fast.

And the second is someone who wants to move-in ready without much work or effort.  This group wants to see the walls painted neutral colors they can live with, and every thing clean and done.  They will pay extra for not having to bring it up to their standards and to have a few newer appliances or a new roof or HVAC system.

So, you need to ask yourself… “am I willing to do what it takes to get Top Dollar for my home?”  Or, “am I content to take less just to get it sold?”

Deep cleaning, doesn’t mean just having a ‘clean home;’  I’ve been in a home that had boxes stacked to the ceiling of the living room.  They were neatly stacked and the walkway to the kitchen was clean and dust free.  But the house was ‘Cluttered!’  I couldn’t see it and it felt dark and claustrophobic!  If you want a ‘decent price’ do a decent job!  Declutter inside and out!

In the photos above one room is empty, but doesn’t show well because the vinyl is old and doesn’t belong in a family room.  In the other the carpet is clean but the shelves and hearth are cluttered.  Less is more when selling a home.  A Staged home sells better than a vacant home… if ‘Staged’ well.

You want a mowed, well kept lawn.  If your front door is scratched… Paint it!  If you can’t paint within the lines – pay someone else to do a great job!  Clean the gutters and siding.  If the roof needs replaced, and you can swing it… do it!  If you have old vehicles in the drive, or off to the side… remove them.  If you have a long drive in need of gravel… get a load of gravel, raked out.

Inside: Clean and tidy goes a long way.  If your Kitchen and Bath are dated, but well done and you have no money to update; Shine the cabinets.  Clean and shine as much as possible.  Pack up or through out anything you can live without.  You want to give a sense of space that has been cared for in every room of the house!  If need be… wipe down walls, remove pictures and priceless possessions from prying eyes.  You can leave a few photos or paintings… but keep it minimal.  Repaint walls that have a lot of scuffs, or are colors wrong for the use of a room.  Neutral color or white is far better than an all black kitchen.  Most people want to have a lot of natural lighting.

Just because HD TV makes it look easy… doesn’t mean that it is.  If you need repairs done it pays to hirer a professional.  They may cost cash up front, however, ask if they’re licensed and guaranty their work in writing.  You want someone to take responsibility for the repairs in the first year after you have sold the house.  If not, the buyer maybe be able to come back after you depending on where you live.  Do you want to take that chance?

 

Reflection

While attending my step-daughters college graduation this past weekend I was struck with how time changes…. I may still feel 30 something, hmm!  So often I hear, “when I was… or when we were…. we….”  Times change, standards change.  Our 20somethings are not as prepared to venture into the world as we were expected to be at 18.  Our generation has worked so hard while our children were young that  we often try to make up for the lack of time that can never be recovered.  We often fall short when it comes to preparing our children or sharing our values, hopes and dreams on a day to day bases.  Life is only the dash between 2 numbers… how do you want your children to remember your dash?  Were you to busy to go for a teddy bear picnic, or and imaginary tea party with poo?  Are they going to remember how much you worked rather than the moments you shared?

I have a 10 year old step-son that wasn’t thrilled with attending a college graduation.  To make it fun we rented space at Great Wolf Lodge and invited all of our children to come and participate.  Not only with the formal Graduation to mark this moment of time for Leslie, but they will all have a memory of family time even though most of them are now young adults venturing out into the world.  As I grow older I often step back and reflect on how to continually connect with others across the generations.  I am grateful for this weekend in which I could see that reflection in action.