Monthly Archives: March 2015

Is your house ready for sale in the spring?

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3591When it’s the middle of winter, it’s hard to get into the real estate mindset. Even though you’re freezing cold, now is the perfect time to prepare your home for the spring real estate market. While you shouldn’t have to take out a second mortgage for your preparations (unless you have to make major repairs), a few changes in all the right places can make a big difference between your home sitting on the market or generating a quick sale:

  • Update. Buyers want updated countertops and flooring, both relatively inexpensive improvements. Updating doesn’t have to mean renovation, just a few replacements in areas where buyers have strong preferences—the kitchen, living room and bathrooms. Search discount home improvement stores and resale shops for new countertops, laminate flooring and carpeting remnants. These inexpensive changes can be the factors that trigger a quick sale.
  • Deep clean. Just because you have the original tile in the bathroom doesn’t mean you need to replace them. A good deep cleaning on your floors, in bathrooms and kitchens give your home the advantage with less cost. Buyers don’t want to buy a dirty house, or to pay top dollar for a home that needs a lot of work. With a small (tiny, really) investment in cleaning products, you can give your buyers a reason to choose your house over the competition.
  • Don’t let the pick-up stop indoors. A messy lot or lawn that doubles as a garbage dump deters buyers as much as a dirty house. Clean up any debris in your yard.
  • Use the ‘less is more’ concept. Don’t leave your house empty. To the contrary, empty rooms do not give buyers a clear vision of the purpose and potential of each room. However, keep the clutter—personal effects, knick knacks, items on counters and tables, extra furniture—to a minimum. If you need to, rent a temporary storage unit to store excess items. Rooms with less look bigger, while cluttered rooms tend to look smaller. If your house isn’t very big to begin with, you need all the help you can to give buyers the illusion of space.
  • Make the repairs you’ve been putting off. Buyers don’t want a house with holes in the wall, or water stains. Repair your drywall, put a fresh, neutral coat of paint on the wall and fix those leaky pipes. You want your buyers to see a clean, well-cared for property perfect for their situation.

Ask your realtor for recommendations so you don’t go overboard with sale preparations. It’s free, and you can also receive their expert opinion about pricing, as well as information about fees and costs associated with your home sale. These few simple steps can make your home a hot commodity when the temperatures—and the real estate market—heat up.

What to Do When Your House Won’t Sell

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20150108_104624If the sale of your home is as cold as the present Wisconsin temperatures, take a moment and step back to reevaluate your property before the spring real estate rush. With warmer temperatures come new buyers, and you need to have your property ready for them. The good news is that you have many options to improve your chance of a sale:

  1. Clean, clean, clean. A deep clean is essential to a home sale. Take the white glove approach to tile grout, flooring (especially carpeting), bathrooms and sinks. If you can’t take on the task of a deep cleaning, ask your realtor for a recommendation for a company that can. It’ll be worth the investment.
  2. Consider minor home improvements. Don’t feel like you have to break the bank, but remain focused. Bathrooms and kitchens are the two main areas to invest your funds, such as in new updated countertops and refaced cabinets. If you have dry wall damage from a water leak, or a rotten board in the front porch, make the repairs or hire someone who can. Buyers are scared away by homes they consider money pits, even if the repairs are minimal.
  3. Improve your curb appeal. This sounds ridiculous, especially in winter, but a well kept home on the outside is important. Clean up any trash in the yard, and keep the walks clean. You want your house to look well-maintained and inviting.
  4. Reevaluate the price. This is the option no one wants to hear, but a high price tag is one of the hugest obstacles to a quick sale. Look at comparable sales in the area, and be realistic. A house priced too high is a house that is going to stay for sale for the long term.

Don’t feel you have to take on the process of selling your home alone; that’s what a realtor is for. Contact a realtor and ask them for a recommendation on a realistic sales price and any improvements suitable for the area of your home. With your realtors’ assistance, and some help from Mother Nature, hopefully your home sale and temperatures will warm up in the spring.