Getting Ready to List Your Home – Steps You Can Take to Add Value for Buyers

Getting your home prepared for a listing with a real estate agency is an exciting time. Of course, your agent will want to be excited about your listing and bring as many qualified prospects as possible. Is your real estate professional providing you with guidance about how to add value to your home? These home maintenance and repair tips will help you increase your chances of a sale more quickly.

De-clutter and organize. No one wants to step through clutter, look in rooms or closets that are overflowing with unnecessary items, or have to imagine what the space could look like without a homeowners personal effects clouding the “scenery.” Before you list your home for sale, start going through all the rooms, from attic to basement, and clean out and organize. You can create piles for discard, donate and store; once you’ve done the first two, it’s time to organize your storage needs. Closet storage systems will help you keep clothes organized and make a great presentation. Garage and basement storage solutions are also available to keep items off the floor and in a safe place.

Refresh rooms with paint. That first impression will be largely influenced by the look and feel of your rooms. After you’ve cleaned and cleared, a fresh coat of paint in neutral colors will help rooms look larger and make prospective buyers feel better about your space. Bright colors might be your style but not theirs so avoid making too much of a “statement” in your color choice.

Update bathroom fixtures. Swap out those tired old bathroom faucets and the old sink; install a new vanity or a shower head; or put on new toilet seats if necessary. You need not spend lots of money to do these simple updates and a little goes a long way. Remember, clean and new is better than tired and worn.

Update kitchen appliances and fixtures. If this is in your budget, it is well worth the expenditure on this end of the sales process. There’s no need for a full remodel but a face lift is well worth it for making a quicker sale. New cabinet doors and hardware or a new sink or new faucet with sprayer (a popular feature) are good investments. If you can swing it and your dishwasher or refrigerator are outdated, consider installing new models that prospective home buyers will appreciate.

Boost your curb appeal. Landscaping and driveway appearance are what prospective home buyers will see first—and will encourage or discourage them about coming inside for a closer look. Get your lawn in shape, plant your garden beds, prune your trees and shrubs. Outdoor lighting is also a benefit, from the front porch to the walkway or gardens. If the driveway is in poor shape, have it repaired.

Make necessary exterior repairs. In addition to the driveway, your front steps should be in good condition; your gutters should be in place and doing their jobs to prevent water damage to the home; missing roof shingles should be replaced; problems with paver or concrete walkways, your sidewalk, patio and deck (where applicable) should be remediated. Remember, you don’t want to give anyone a reason to walk away (and you wouldn’t want anyone to trip and get hurt).

Insulate for energy efficiency. One way to show prospective home buyers that your home is prepared for 21st century living is to add insulation in order to improve your energy efficiency and reduce heating and cooling costs. This is a also good time to look at your windows to see where you can seal any seams or cracks where air penetrates.

At Century 21 Cedarcrest Realty, we guide our clients to make sure their homes are in “ready for sale” condition, in order to make the sales process as stress-free as possible for everyone involved. As part of our client service, our real estate agents will go over what we feel your home needs to prepare it for a listing, and help you hash out the pros and cons of certain upgrades and repairs. Want to find out more about the best way to sell your home in Essex County or other northern New Jersey areas? Call Century 21 Cedarcrest at (973) 228-1050 or visit our website to get started.

Preparing Your Home for a Fall Listing

Preparing Your Home for a Fall Listing

Oh, the fall is such a lovely time to sell a home. The lull in the summer market caused by casual shoppers who have paused their house hunts to go on vacation ends. People find themselves back in a regular routine, the kids are back in school, and those who have been considering a move start putting more serious effort into their searches. And your home will be ready and waiting.

Your Home’s Landscape

Take some time to spruce up your home’s landscape. Get that lawn mowed one last time before it gets too cold, pull the weeds, and plant a few nicer, fall flowers. Mums are colorful and fall-like and can be planted or placed around your landscape in large, decorative pots. Place a couple of nice pumpkins on the step (note – pumpkins – not carved jack-o-lanterns), keep your lawn raked (or hire a lawn service), and make sure your home’s siding is clean and free of damage. Chips in the paint will begin to show more as trees and shrubs lose leaves when going dormant for the winter. Don’t go overboard. Keep your outside décor simple.

Home Repairs

No one wants to buy a home that needs a lot of work right before the holidays. Make sure your home is “move-in ready” by making any of the improvements and repairs it will need. If you already know you’ll need new carpeting, or that a room needs paint, take care of those things. Save yourself the hassle of a negotiation or delay in settlement.

Make the House Cozy but Bright

Natural light is incredibly important, but it becomes more scarce during the fall months and people are more likely to look at homes after work (when it’s dark) or on the weekends. Make sure all of your lighting fixtures have warm but bright bulbs so the home feels bright and open.

Make sure our home feels cozy as fall buyers are coming in and out during times where temperatures are trending towards cool. Drape an afghan over your sofa; leave out a few unlit candles; and make sure you have wood near the fire place if you have one. Make sure the home is clean, tidy, and appealing all around. You might even want to put a comforter that appears more cozy and warm on the bed.

Fall is an incredible season and the opportunity you have to sell your home before the winter is huge. Talk to your real estate agent about other things you can do to take advantage of the season when staging. You’ll be surprised at how much interest your home receives.

Selling an Elderly Family Member’s Home: Things to Consider

Selling an Elderly Family Member’s Home: Things to Consider

Whether it’s because of a downsize, a move to a care facility, or after a death, the sad reality is that at some point in your life you may find yourself faced with the task of selling an elderly family member’s home. Here are a few key points to consider.

You’re Going to Need Time – and Help

Not only will you be faced with the emotions attached with selling a loved one’s home, but you will very likely be tasked with cleaning it out from top to bottom. This means not only furniture and clothing but a lifetime’s worth of paperwork, bank statements, photographs, and documents you aren’t sure are relevant or not.

You’re going to need help. Grab a sibling, child, or cousin and put everyone to work. Hire someone for a few hours a week, if you have to. Someone can pack up the dishes while someone else sorts through financial statements and paperwork. Make sure everything has a place – the yardsale pile, the donation pile, the garbage pile. You’re going to be frustrated and tired, but make sure you are thorough so that you don’t miss a drawer or pillow or secret compartment in a floor vent (true story behind that last one).

Wall Paper

Sorry, but if you’re going to sell that house you’re going to have to get rid of the wall paper. Most real estate agents will be brave enough to tell you that, whether you want to hear it or not. Wall paper is outdated (especially the kind your elderly family members have) and a fresh coat of paint can really brighten up a house. Hire someone or spend a day with the family getting it off the walls – but do it.

The Carpeting Has to Go

Think about this carefully. The memories you have of your grandmom’s house probably include a familiar smell. Maybe not the smell of a certain food but just the everyday aroma of going to grandma’s house.  A lot of times homes owned by elderly people have a distinct odor. It’s not that it’s particularly offensive, but it happens when carpet is decades old and has absorbed years and years of family living. Removing the carpeting and replacing it with new (or in some cases exposing the gorgeous hard wood flooring you didn’t know was beneath it), can make a huge difference in your ability to sell the home.

The task of selling a home an elderly loved one lived in for a long period of time is never easy. Ask your real estate agent to walk through the house with you and give you an idea of what changes have to be made for the staging process. It may take time, but your efforts will help your loved one get a fair price for her home – whether for her continued living expenses or for her estate.

 

Staying on Top of Home Maintenance: A Spring Checklist

Staying on Top of Home Maintenance: A Spring Checklist

Home maintenance is important whether you plan to sell your home or not, but it becomes critical if you really do want to move. The winter months are notoriously harsh on homes and the spring months are a great time to work down a general maintenance checklist in order to ensure there is no surprise damage later on. So where should you start?

Roofing, Siding, Chimneys, and Gutters

Check them all for damage from ice, storms, and general wear and tear. Look at your roof from afar to see if you can identify any loose or damaged shingles. Check the siding to be sure it isn’t raised or chipped. Make sure your gutters are cleaned out and weren’t damaged by ice or snow. Have a professional come out to perform regular maintenance on your chimney, ensuring there is no masonry damage and that it is clean.

If you do plan on selling your home, you may want to invest in renting a power washer to make the house look a little cleaner and brighter.

Sidewalks and Driveways

The expansion and contraction caused by freezing and melting can really do a number on driveways and sidewalks. Survey your property for cracks that may need to be filled and be especially conscious of any raised areas that could become fall hazards. The property will need to be in great shape for a sale, but this type of repair will also help you to avoid being sued by someone who falls and gets hurt.

Survey the Foundation

Look around your home and make sure there are no low or sunken areas of ground, especially near your foundation. Any areas that look low can be filled in with dirt and compacted. This prevents danger areas from uneven surfaces and, when hear the foundation, prevents water from pooling towards your home instead of away from it. It’s also important for keeping bugs away, as water won’t have a place to stand after storms.

Fire up the A/C

Have a professional come out and service your HVAC unit. There is nothing worse than having a potential buyer walk into a home on a hot spring or summer day only to be greeted by more heat. We guarantee they won’t give your home a second thought once they walk out the door.

Regular home maintenance will make it easier for you to sell your home when you’re ready – even if that time isn’t right now. If you are ready, talk to your real estate agent about special home maintenance items or staging tasks you should be paying attention to. Every little bit counts.