Thinking about selling your home?
Owning a home is the original American dream. It’s the old frontier spirit, wanting to claim your own tuft of the New World. Then again, these days it also makes perfect economic sense. Experts estimate that all of the homes in the United States alone are worth a combined $14 trillion. That goes a long way to explain why a housing boom has been sweeping the globe. Where there is a boom, though, there may be a bust.
Read any headline from your local newspaper, and you’ll see headlines such as “Bye-Bye, Housing Boom” to “Housing Boom is Leveling Off.” Some economic forecasters predict a bubble that may be about to burst. They make you wonder: am I missing the boat? Whether you’re looking to cash in on this real estate bubble before it pops—or simply wanting to move to a bigger home or move across the country—selling your home can be more a nightmare than a dream. Not only do you have to find and trust a real estate agent. You need to prep your home for open houses.
You need to haggle with prospective buyers. Not to mention, you have to worry about the moving and selling of all of your valuables. It’s almost enough to make you want to live in one home for the rest of your life—just as folks did in your grandparents’ day. Then again, your home is worth a percentage of that $14 trillion. Don’t you want to see just how much? As hectic and horrible as selling a home may seem, it really isn’t so bad if you break it down into a few simple rules. If you don’t believe us, read the rules for yourself. Fuss over the façade. Your home’s future owners do not want to worry about repairs and renovations as soon as they move in. So make certain they don’t. Be sure to have your home immaculately clean before you invite prospective buyers over.
Redecorate if your interior is outdated. And invest in minor renovations if necessary. You’d be surprised what a coat of paint can do. Focus on the fine details. Prospective buyers will leave no stone unturned when they visit your home. They will test every light switch, run every faucet, and lift up every toilet seat. Everything—and we mean everything—should be in working order before your open house. Double check for blown out light bulbs and leaky faucets. Scrub the bathroom and clean up any ring around the bowl, tub scum, and any other nasty surprise. Don’t settle for maybes on safety.
Ensure that there are no safety hazards anywhere on your property. Something as small as uncovered electrical sockets or as large as an unfenced pool can scare off buyers, especially parents of small children. Create a soothing selling atmosphere. Imagine the last time you visited a bed and breakfast. Your home should be as welcoming and accommodating as that. One easy way to accomplish this is by brightening up the place. Turn on all your lights for your visitors. Plus, fluff up your bedroom. After all, most people want the bedroom to be the most comfortable spot in the house. Make sure it is—at least when buyers are around.
Clear the joint. Along with the last rule, there is the standard real estate practice of vacating the premises when buyers come for tours. This is done for good reason. Buyers are there to evaluate your home, not meet your sisters, sons, cousins, and cats. So send your family to the mall for a day of shopping, or to the park for a picnic. Cut the clutter. All of your stuff can get in the way, too. That’s why it’s important to start packing and storing your personal belongings as soon as you know you’re going to move. An empty house is a cleaner looking house is a more attractive house.
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