HOME IMPROVEMENT: Simple Ways To Get Your House Ready To Sell

House Ready To Sell
Flowers on the porch are one way to make a house welcoming to potential buyers Photo: Gephardt Daily.

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, March 20, 2016 (Gephardt Daily) — It might feel like spring, but it’s not quite time to put your house on the market.

Utah realtors suggest it’s best to circle early May on the calendar and spend the next few weeks getting your home ready to sell.

Margaret Malherbe, a Utah real estate agent for more than three decades, tells her clients to “pretend you are the buyer looking to purchase a home,” and then drive up and walk through your own house.

Potential buyers’ first impression of the home comes well before they pass through the front door. It happens at the curb, where Malherbe says she has had many clients ask her to skip a tour and move onto the next house.

“The house might be gorgeous inside, but the view from the curb is unappealing.”

With the arrival of spring, Malherbe recommends “making sure the yard is clean and clear of debris.” She said, “the front yard especially should look tidy.”

And, if you’re thinking ahead, “put lots of color in your flower beds by using blooming plants,” she said.

In fact, the veteran realtor believes sellers would be amazed at a buyer’s reaction to a couple of flower pots on the front porch.

“They really say ‘welcome to your potential new home.'”

Once inside, the living room and family room show best with clean carpets and removal of all clutter on tables and seating areas.

The look of the kitchen is particularly important to most buyers, Malherbe says.

“Clean the oven, microwave, stove top, and fridge.”  Believe it or not, Malherbe emphasizes, many potential buyers will inspect every appliance in order to determine if new ones will need to be purchased.

“Counters should be free and clear of pots, pans, and even decorative mugs and teapots,” Malherbe said.

Moving into the bedroom areas, Malherbe suggests it’s important to “make the beds and cover them with a bedspread, not just a blanket.” Again, carpets should be clean and closets tidy.

“Yes, people check the closets to see if their clothes and other items will fit in them,” Malherbe said.

And here’s an important tip home sellers might not have heard before: Malherbe warns that “it’s important to put away and even hide items of value including watches, jewelry, and other personal possessions that might catch the eye of a buyer or even a child.” Unfortunately, Malherbe has had personal experience with items that have gone missing and after an open house, she says it could be difficult to ever recover the lost property.

Bathrooms can be a real headache for sellers, so it’s important to get going early to “clean tubs, showers, and toilets of stains and water marks,” Malherbe said. Personal objects should also be removed from vanities and bathroom shelves.

It’s true, according to Malherbe, that an empty home is much easier to sell than one a family is still living in, but the reality is most of us can’t move until we’ve sold the home we currently own.

And that’s Malherbe’s final piece of advice on the look of the home.

“You get used to living in a home, so many of the things that need attention before selling it go unnoticed,” she said. If you want to sell the home and make money off it, “take notice before the ‘for sale’ sign goes up.”

Also, if you can afford it, it’s wise to consult a professional realtor for guidance on the legal requirements for selling your home. The title company should also be contacted to check for any liens against the property.

“It’s a seller’s market right now and there’s a very limited number of homes for sale,” Malherbe said.

She knows from experience that come May, people will decide it’s time for a change, and once you hit the market with your home, you always want that competitive edge.


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