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 If you can swing it and your dishwasher or refrigerator are outdated, consider installing new models that prospective home buyers will appreciate.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.

5 Simple Ways to Increase Your Odds of Selling Your Home Faster

5 Simple Ways to Increase Your Odds of Selling Your Home Faster


Even when the market is slow, there are ways to make sure that your home sells as fast as possible. Most people think that to make a fast sale you have to take a loss or less money than you really want to for the house. That isn’t the case at all. In fact, you have a good chance of getting exactly what you want for it. Just implement a few simple concepts.


Offer Accurate Details


Most buyers today are looking online before they go anywhere else. That means you have a prime opportunity to find the perfect buyer for your house just by offering accurate details. Take a look at some of the suggestions below for accuracy and transparency.

  • Feature multiple clear images. Let the buyer see exactly what you have. Don’t skimp on the photos. Your buyer shouldn’t have to ask for more images, but should be able to daydream using the existing ones.
  • Present a realistic price. If you want to sell your home fast, don’t plan on haggling. Many buyers assume that you won’t come down on the price, so they keep browsing if yours is too high. Set the price for the amount that you really want.
  • Share information about the area, including nearby shopping areas, transportation services, and so forth.


De-Personalize the Home


When someone comes to look at the house, they shouldn’t be able to tell that you have pets or love crafting. Instead, let them imagine their own life in your house by decluttering it and removing most of the décor. Empty space makes a home look bigger, but it also allows them to imagine how they might use it.


Be Flexible about Showing


Keep an open schedule so that you can show your house at the convenience of the buyer rather than your own convenience. Sacrificing some of your free time is a small price to pay for a quick sale.


Use Social Media


One source reported as many home sales from Facebook as any of their other resources. Make sure your home is listed on all the right sites and promote it yourself in social media. After all, the people in your circle are likely to be in your area, and most likely to share with those interested in living there.


Make Improvements


Tend to those little issues that have been driving your nuts for years. Potential buyers should be impressed from the minute they pull into the driveway. Paint walls, clean the carpets, and maybe even install some new landscaping and modern fixtures.


How to Analyze a Neighborhood before Buying a Home

How to Analyze a Neighborhood before Buying a Home

You know exactly what you want in a home. You know how many bedrooms and bathrooms they’ll be, whether you want an attached or detached garage, a basement, a large kitchen, or walk-in closets. And while you have a picture-perfect vision for the home you’d like to purchase, we have to stop and ask if you’ve considered the type of neighborhood that home will in. For many, especially those with children, the type of neighborhood will dictate the areas in which they even look for a home – and it’s not just about crime rates.

Townships and Public Services

What are the tax rates in the towns you’re considering? Are they unrealistically low; unreasonably high? Take a look around the town to see if funding has been cut for traditional services. Are the parks well-maintained? Does the local library have normal hours? Are there any signs that the township is in distress? If so, you may want to look elsewhere.

Social Cues Matter

When you drive around your intended neighborhood, do you see a lot of for-sale signs? We’re not talking homes alone, either. Are businesses moving or closing down altogether? That’s a sign that the town’s economy is struggling.

Look for things that matter to you as well. Are there safe running or bicycling trails? Is your favorite type of café within close proximity? Is there a generally quiet atmosphere or can you constantly hear noise from a nearby highway or airport?

Examine the School District

Do some research on the quality of the school district. Is this a place where families will want to raise their children. The importance of the answer to this question does not hinge on whether or not you have children of your own or ever plan to; or even if you homeschool the children you do have. It will matter if you ever decide to sell your home, as you may end up selling to a family.

Talk to the Neighbors

Take a walk through the neighborhood around the homes you’re considering and knock on a couple of doors. Introduce yourself as a prospective buyer and ask for a few minutes of time. Your potential neighbors won’t mind filling you in on the pros and cons of the surrounding area, your prospective immediate neighbors, and more.

There’s a lot to look for in a neighborhood as well as in a home. Ask your real estate agent for help finding homes in areas that meet your specifications. Most can guide you in the right direction with ease.

Want to Sell Your Home Faster? Try These Tips

Want to Sell Your Home Faster? Try These Tips

The housing market is tough and buyers are very specific about what they want and where they want to look. You probably know at least one person who has sold a home with relative ease, and you probably know someone who has had a house on the market for months at a time. If you’re hoping to sell your home sooner rather than later, give a few of these tips a try.

Hide Your Pets

Believe it or not, pets are a turn-off to potential buyers. Some may be dog-lovers or cat-lovers, sure; but the ones who are afraid of dogs or who are allergic to cats are going to automatically write your home off the list. It doesn’t matter that Fido is going to move with you. Send your four-legged friends to a pet-hotel on the day of a showing and tuck the litter boxes and food dishes out of sight.

Adjust Your Pricing Mindset

It’s not a popular theory, but it seems to work. A lot of buyers start with a higher asking price, figuring they’re giving themselves a buffer if they need to drop the price later. Starting with a lower asking price, on the other hand, may encourage a bid war as potential buyers interested in the price are willing to go up a little higher to get what they want (and ultimately land closer to the selling price you want). It’s risky, but it can work if you want to move fast.

Speaking of Numbers

According to AARP, homes with prices that end in “00” are more likely to sell than homes with prices that end with “99.” The reason is this – $200 thousand is $200 thousand, and if you’re going to be completely honest with yourself, $199 thousand is $200 thousand, too. Someone who does not have a $200 thousand budget will not look at a $199 thousand home. Someone with a $200 thousand budget may not even see your $199 thousand budget in his searches. Price with zeroes and you’ll get more interest from buyers in your actual target market.

Empty Your Closets

Maybe not completely, if you’re still living there, but at least 50%. We all know you don’t need everything in your closets right now anyway. A half-full and organized closet will look neat and clean whereas a jam-packed closet gives the illusion that there isn’t actually enough closet space in the home.

Make sure you are communicating with your real estate agent frequently. She’ll be able to give you the information you need to stage the home for a faster sale. Just be open to some different, out-of-the-box ideas and you won’t be the person complaining about an unsold home in 6 months!