How to Improve the Odds of an Offer
Price it right. Set a price at the lower end of your property’s realistic price range.
Prepare for visitors. Get your house market ready at least two weeks before you begin showing it.
Be flexible about showings. It’s often disruptive to have a house ready to show at the spur of the moment. But the more amenable you can be about letting people see your home, the sooner you’ll find a buyer.
Anticipate the offers. Decide in advance what price and terms you’ll find acceptable.
Don’t refuse to drop the price. If your home has been on the market for more than 30 days without an offer, you should be prepared to at least consider lowering your asking price.
How to Hold a Successful Garage Sale
12 Tips for Hiring a Remodeling Contractor
1. Get at least three written estimates.
2. Check references. If possible, view earlier jobs the contractor completed.
3. Check with the local Chamber of Commerce or Better Business Bureau for complaints.
4. Be sure the contract states exactly what is to be done and how change orders will be handled.
5. Make as small of a down payment as possible so you won’t lose a lot if the contractor fails to complete the job.
6. Be sure that the contractor has the necessary permits, licenses, and insurance.
7. Check that the contract states when the work will be completed and what recourse you have if it isn’t. Also, remember that in many instances you can cancel a contract within three business days of signing it.
8. Ask if the contractor’s workers will do the entire job or whether subcontractors will be involved too.
9. Get the contractor to indemnify you if work does not meet any local building codes or regulations.
10. Be sure that the contract specifies the contractor will clean up after the job and be responsible for any damage.
11. Guarantee that the materials that will be used meet your specifications.
12. Don’t make the final payment until you’re satisfied with the work.
Simple Tips for Better Home Showings
Remove clutter and clear off counters. Throw out stacks of newspapers and magazines and stow away most of your small decorative items. Put excess furniture in storage, and remove out-of-season clothing items that are cramping closet space. Don’t forget to clean out the garage, too.
Wash your windows and screens. This will help get more light into the interior of the home.
Keep everything extra clean. A clean house will make a strong first impression and send a message to buyers that the home has been well-cared for. Wash fingerprints from light switch plates, mop and wax floors, and clean the stove and refrigerator. Polish your doorknobs and address numbers. It’s worth hiring a cleaning service if you can afford it.
Get rid of smells. Clean carpeting and drapes to eliminate cooking odors, smoke, and pet smells.
Open the windows to air out the house. Potpourri or scented candles will help.
Brighten your rooms. Put higher wattage bulbs in light fixtures to brighten up rooms and basements.
Replace any burned-out bulbs in closets. Clean the walls, or better yet, brush on a fresh coat of neutral color paint.
Don’t disregard minor repairs. Small problems such as sticky doors, torn screens, cracked caulking, or a
dripping faucet may seem trivial, but they’ll give buyers the impression that the house isn’t well-maintained.
Tidy your yard. Cut the grass, rake the leaves, add new mulch, trim the bushes, edge the walkways,
and clean the gutters. For added curb appeal, place a pot of bright flowers near the entryway.
Patch holes. Repair any holes in your driveway and reapply sealant, if applicable.
Add a touch of color in the living room. A colored afghan or throw on the couch
will jazz up a dull room. Buy new accent pillows for the sofa.
Buy a flowering plant and put it near a window you pass by frequently.
Make centerpieces for your tables. Use brightly colored fruit or flowers.
Set the scene. Set the table with fancy dishes and candles, and create other vignettes throughout the home
to help buyers picture living there. For example, in the basement you might display a chess game in progress.
Replace heavy curtains with sheer ones that let in more light. Show off the view if you have one.
Accentuate the fireplace. Lay fresh logs in the fireplace or put a basket of flowers there if it’s not in use.
Make the bathrooms feel luxurious. Put away those old towels and toothbrushes. When buyers enter your bathroom, they should feel pampered. Add a new shower curtain, new towels, and fancy guest soaps. Make sure your personal toiletry items are out of sight.
Send your pets to a neighbor or take them outside. If that’s not possible, crate them or confine them to one room (ideally in the basement), and let the real estate practitioner know where they’ll be to eliminate surprises.
Lock up valuables, jewelry, and money. While a real estate salesperson will be on site during the showing or open house, it’s impossible to watch everyone all the time.
Leave the home. It’s usually best if the sellers are not at home. It’s awkward for prospective buyers to look in your closets and express their opinions of your home with you there.
Garage sales can be a great way to get rid of clutter — and earn a little extra cash — before you sell your home. But make sure the timing is right. Garage sales can take on a life of their own, and it might not be the best use of your energy right before putting your home on the market. Follow these tips for a successful sale.
Don’t wait until the last minute. You don’t want to be scrambling to hold a garage sale the week before an open house. Depending on how long you’ve lived in the home and how much stuff you have to sell, planning a garage sale can demand a lot of time and energy.
Get a permit. Most municipalities will require you to obtain a special permit or license in order to hold a garage sale. The permits are often free or very inexpensive, but still require you to register with the city.
See if neighbors want to join in. You can turn your garage sale into a block-wide event and lure more shoppers
if you team up with neighbors. However, a permit may be necessary for each home owner, even if it’s a group event.
Schedule the sale. Sales on Saturdays and Sundays will generate the most traffic, especially if the weather
cooperates. Start the sale early, 8 a.m. or 9 a.m. is best, and be prepared for early birds.
Advertise. Place an ad in free classified papers and Web sites, and in your local newspapers. Include the dates,
time, and address. Let the public know if certain types of items will be sold, such as baby clothes, furniture, or
weightlifting equipment. On the day of the sale, balloons and signs with prominent arrows will help to grab the attention of passersby.
Price your goods. Lay out everything that you plan to sell, and attach prices with removable stickers. Remember, garage sales are supposed to be bargains, so try to be objective as you set prices. Assign simple prices to your goods: 50 cents, 3 for $1, $5, $10, etc.
If it’s really junk, don’t sell it. Decide what’s worth selling and what’s not. If it’s really garbage, then throw it away. Broken appliances, for example, should be tossed. (Know where a nearby electrical outlet is, in case a customer wants to make sure something works.)
Check for mistakes. Make sure that items you want to keep don’t accidentally end up in the garage sale pile.
Create an organized display. Lay out your items by category, and display neatly so customers don’t have to dig through boxes.
Stock up on bags and newspapers. People who buy many small items will appreciate a bag to carry their goods. Newspapers are handy for wrapping fragile items.
Manage your money. Make a trip to the bank to get ample change for your cashbox. Throughout the sale, keep a close eye on your cash; never leave the cashbox unattended. It’s smart to have one person who manages the money throughout the day, keeping a tally of what was purchased and for how much. Keep a calculator nearby.
Prepare for your home sale. Donate the remaining stuff or sell it to a resale shop. Now that all of your clutter is cleared out, it’s time to focus on preparing your house for a successful sale!
Prepare Your Home for a Virtual Tour
With more buyers shopping for homes on the Web, photos and virtual tours are a must. There are many things you can do make your home shine on camera.
Understand the camera’s perspective. The camera’s eye is very different from the human eye. It magnifies clutter and poor furniture arrangement. To make a home shine in a virtual tour or video presentation, cater to the lens.
Make the home “Q-tip clean.” Because the camera magnifies grime, each room must be spotless. Don’t forget floor coverings and walls; a discolored spot on the rug might be overlooked by prospects during a regular home showing, but that stain becomes a focal point for online viewers.
Pack up the clutter. But leave three items of varying heights on each surface. For example, on an end table you can place a lamp (high), a small plant (medium), and a book (low).
Snap pictures. This will give you an idea of what the home will look like on camera. Closely examine the photos and list changes that would improve each room’s appearance: opening blinds to let in natural light, removing magnets from the refrigerator, or taking down distracting art.
Pare down furniture. Identify one or two pieces of furniture that can be removed from each room to make the space appear larger.
Rearrange. Spotlight the flow of a space by creating a focal point on the furthest wall from the doorway and arranging the other pieces of furniture to make a triangle shape. The focal point may be a bed in a bedroom or a china cabinet in a dining room.
Reaccessorize. Include a healthy plant in every room; the camera loves green. Energize bland decor by placing a bright vase on a mantle or draping an afghan over a couch.
Keep the home in shape. You want buyers who liked what they saw online to encounter the same home in person.
An open house can be a great sales tool, but it also exposes you to numerous unfamiliar people for the first time. Stay safe by practicing these guidelines.
Call the local police department and ask them to have a squad care drive by during your open-house hours.
Check your cell phone’s strength and signal prior to the open house. Have emergency numbers programmed on speed dial. Carry an extra, fully charged cell phone battery.
Determine several “escape” routes that you can use in case of an emergency. Make sure all deadbolt locks are unlocked to facilitate a faster escape.
Turn on the lights and open the curtains. These are not only sound safety procedures, but also great marketing tactics.
Make sure that if you were to escape by the back door, you could escape from the backyard. Frequently, high fences surround yards that contain swimming pools or hot tubs.
When prospective buyers begin to arrive, jot down their car descriptions, license numbers and physical descriptions.
When showing the house, always walk behind the prospect. Direct them; don’t lead them. Say, for example, “The kitchen is on your left,” and gesture for them to go ahead of you.
Notify a friend or a relative that you will be calling in every hour on the hour. And if you don’t call, they are to notify the police immediately.
Inform a neighbor that you will be showing the house and ask if he or she would keep an eye and ear open for anything out of the ordinary.
5 Feng Shui Concepts to Help a Home Sell
Open House Safety Tips
To put the best face on a listing and appeal to buyers who follow feng shui principles, keep these tips in mind.
Pay special attention to the front door, which is considered the “mouth of chi” (chi is the “life force” of all things) and one of the most powerful aspects of the entire property. Abundance, blessings, opportunities, and good fortune enter through the front door. It’s also the first impression buyers have of how well the sellers have taken care of the rest of the property. Make sure the area around the front door is swept clean, free of cobwebs and clutter. Make sure all lighting is straight and properly hung. Better yet, light the path leading up to the front door to create an inviting atmosphere.
Chi energy can be flushed away wherever there are drains in the home. To keep the good forces of a home in, always keep the toilet seats down and close the doors to bathrooms.
The master bed should be in a place of honor, power, and protection, which is farthest from and facing toward the entryway of the room. It’s even better if you can place the bed diagonally in the farthest corner. Paint the room in colors that promote serenity, relaxation, and romance, such as soft tones of green, blue, and lavender.
The dining room symbolizes the energy and power of family togetherness. Make sure the table is clear and uncluttered during showings. Use an attractive tablecloth to enhance the look of the table while also softening sharp corners.
The windows are considered to be the eyes of the home. Getting the windows professionally cleaned will make the home sparkle and ensure that the view will be optimally displayed.
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