Buying and Selling Tips




LandscapingLandscaping is the “frame that sets the picture.”  If buyers do not like what they see from the outside, there is already a barrier to their buying.  Keep the lawn fertilized, watered, cut and edged neatly.  Remove weeds from the beds and plant flowers for color. Never underestimate “flower power” in winning the buyer’s heart.  Caladiums are great for relatively quick color. Have any dead trees removed and keep bushes neatly trimmed. Repaint the mailbox if needed and repaint/restain the front door. This creates a good first impression.

Touch up anywhere inside or out that needs paint, stain, etc.  Repaint interior rooms or the exterior where needed with a conservative, neutral color.

If feedback shows people object to the condition of the roof, get bids for repairs.  You can replace it, fix it, or drop the price to cover the cost of new roofing. Keep pine needles swept off the roof. Keep the swimming pool/spa clean.


Home InteriorColors - Most of the time old or odd colors hurt rather than help. Though a house may be large, it will look choppy by having different colors in every room.  Neutral colors attract more interest than showy colors.

Carpets/Rugs - Nasty carpet can make or break the sale! Brokers often hear “I can’t concentrate on the house because the carpet is so ugly, worn, dirty or damaged.” Smelly rugs must go! Cleaning a carpet may help. It is always better to replace old carpet with a neutral shade before putting your home on the market. The next best alternative is to offer a carpet allowance to the buyer.

Kitchen - The kitchen is the most important room in the house. Thoroughly clean your oven, stove and dishwasher. Make it bright and attractive. If dull, paint cabinets. Put up new perky curtains. Clean the ventilating hood in the kitchen. Straighten up the pantry and line the shelves with fresh paper. Make sure the floors shine. If the kitchen floor is badly worn, put in new flooring. Remove any appliances that you keep on your counters, like a toaster, coffeemaker, can opener, etc.   Clean counters make the room look larger.

Bathrooms - In bathrooms, repair all dripping faucets, keep fresh towels out and use special cleaning products to remove stains from toilets, bathtubs and sinks.  If sinks or bathtubs drain too slowly, unclog them. It is especially important to remove all mildew and re-caulk tiles and sinks if cracks are showing. Cigarette burns on counter tops can be removed with water and a fine grade of sandpaper by sanding lightly.  Remove all items from the top of sinks such as hair dryers, toiletries, etc.

Walls & Ceilings - Have all walls and ceilings in top shape.  Cracks need to be fixed. Check ceilings for leak stains, then fix the cause of the damage, repair ceiling and repaint.  In painting or redecorating avoid offbeat colors.  Stick with easy to work with conventional colors.


Home PresentationScents - A pleasing smell is important to buyers. Scented candles should be placed in each bathroom. Replace your air filter and place an air freshener inside the returning air vent. Placing cinnamon on a cookie sheet and baking it for a short time will create a pleasing kitchen aroma prior to the showing.

Appearance - Clean out the fireplace and lay some logs in it to make it look inviting. Wash the windows, replace broken glass and mend torn screens.  Replace burned out bulbs and low wattage bulbs with higher wattage bulbs (75 watts minimum.)  When your house is going to be shown, open up your window coverings to make the home as bright as possible. Turn on all the lights inside the house including ceiling fans to demonstrate their effectiveness.  Reduce clutter in house especially in closets, cabinets and garage (rent a storage space if possible.)  Overstuffed closets are a sure sign for the buyer to look elsewhere. Excessive furniture makes a home appear smaller than it actually is.  Lubricate sticky and squeaky doors. For doors that stick slightly, rub a block of paraffin against the surface that shows signs of wear. For sliding doors that stick in their tracks, rub the tracks with paraffin or candle wax. Have your house exterminated quarterly.

Music - Turn off the TV, turn on the Intercom/radio to a soft music FM station.

Temperature - Keep the temperature of your home at a maximum of 80 degrees in the summer and a minimum of 70 degrees in the winter. Allow a lockbox to be utilized to give your home the maximum exposure to the market place it deserves.

Cleanliness - If you lack the time or inclination to clean your house, have a cleaning service do it. That may be all you need to spend.  If the house becomes vacant, have a cleaning service clean the house once every 30 days.


Showing Your HomeYour Family & Pets - Ask your children to leave and take the pets for a walk.  Buyers do not like the distraction of pets in your home. Your pooch or precious feline is best kept outside or confined to an area outside the traffic flow.  Do not follow the agent around or try to show the home yourself, but rather excuse yourself and leave for a walk, do errands, or visit a neighbor! (Buyers feel freer to discuss the home and will generally spend more time on the property.)

Listing Sheets - Leave them in a highly visible place for agents/clients coming through to pick up. 

No Appointment - Do not attempt to show the property if someone stops by and knocks on your door. Take their name and phone number and give them your agent’s name and phone number. You do not know why they want to see the inside of your home. We will prescreen and qualify them for you.

When you leave the house, complete the following checklist:

  • Beds made
  • Rooms picked up
  • Trash dumped
  • Kitchen cleaned
  • Closets neat
  • Window coverings open for maximum light
  • Stereo music on low for a showing
  • Carpets vacuumed/clean
  • Counter tops in kitchen clean & clear of items
  • Sink tops in bathrooms clean & clear of items
  • At night, turn on the porch lights and all outdoor lighting for a showing
  • Bikes, wagons, skateboards should not be out in front.
  • Do not mention furniture or furnishings you want to dispose of unless asked. Such discussions can hinder the sale.

Working together we will be successful in getting your home sold!

10 Steps to Selling Your Home

Home for Sale - Sold
1.    First and foremost, make sure your home has curb appeal.  That first impression, when a potential buyer pulls up to your home for the first time is huge.  I kind of compare it to going on a first date.  Does that person you are meeting look clean and groomed?  Are they wearing old, torn cloths?  Do they smell good?  Can you see yourself going on a second date?  You get the picture.  You never get a second chance of impressing an individual.  It has to be the same way with your home.  Once you get that look going with the mowed lawn and the trimmed hedges, please keep it that way.  All too often, after a month, the seller will get complacent and start slacking off.  Remember, first impressions are forever.

2.    The moment you decide to sell, you need to stop looking at your home as YOUR home. In other words, you'll need to put aside your sentiments and emotions and see your home as a house - a piece of merchandise that you're preparing for sale. Take a brutal, honest look at your home, inside and out, and make a note of anything that is less than perfect.

3.    Next, walk into your home with the eyes of a first time home buyer.  What do you see?  Is there clutter?  Do the rooms look inviting or cramped?  Is it easy to move from one room to the next?  Are the carpets or floors dirty?  Will the colors on the walls accommodate some one else's furniture?  How does it smell when you walk in?  When it comes to smells, clean always wins over candles and aroma scented sprays.  Think clean, bright and welcoming as you go.

4.    Get rid of any toys or personal things that clutter shelves, walls desks and floors.  Always keep in the back of your mind as you do this, the people looking at your home want to imagine their stuff there.  The more you have of yours, the less likely they will be able to see theirs.  It is not a bad idea to rent a storage unit to start this process.  Out of sight with these items is always best in the long run.  Do this in every room.

5.    Ok, the house is clean, neat and smelling great.  Congrats!  Now is the time to go back outside and start looking for things that are broken or missing on the house.  Start in the front and move to the back, then work your way through the interior of the house. By doing this, you overcome potential objections from a potential buyer well before they come up in the negotiations

6.    Your next objective should be to determine the best possible selling price for your house. You will need to take into account the state of the local market, the condition of your home, and sales of comparable homes in your neighborhood. It is often hard to maintain an non-biased view of your property, so you will want to gather the necessary information in the most objective way possible. If you want a truly objective opinion about the price of your home you could have an appraisal done. This will need to be paid for up front, in cash, and may cost between three and five hundred dollars. Be reasonable about the price you set. You will always be better off setting a fair market value price than setting your price high expecting that someone will come along and be willing to pay it. If your home stays on the market too long because it is overpriced potential buyers may think that something is wrong with it and you may end up selling it for less than what you could have gotten if you had started out with a realistic asking price.

7.    If you've decided to go with a professional, shop around to be sure you end up with the right one. What strategy will your real estate agent use to sell the house, and what is it going to cost you?  Whether buying or selling a home, there is always some degree of trepidation.  To ease some of the worry, do some homework on who you would like to help you sell your home.  Ask friends what experiences they had with their Realtor®, make phone calls and take notice as to how long it takes to return your call and how they answer it in the first place.  How much do they listen to what you have to say and what your concerns are, as opposed to how smart they tell you they are?  Find out what their background is.  Experience in all aspects of real estate is important, that includes finance as well as marketing.  Ask how they intend to market your home and in what manner.  Hopefully it will include print advertising and internet marketing.  Ask them what web sites will be showcasing your home?  The question of commission will also come up.  Remember, you get what you pay for, in all cases.

8.    Market changes will have an effect on how and if you sell your house, so keep up with mortgages and finance rates and any other changes that could have a bearing on your sale.  Make sure your agent is knowledgeable about not only our market, but how the market activity around you can affect you and your listing.

9.    Have Inspections Done Beforehand So That You Will Have All the Paperwork On Hand.  While some buyers will still insist on having their own inspections done, many will be grateful to be spared the expense and time. It's one more thing that can expedite the selling process once the offer is made.  While this will involve an extra expense and is not absolutely necessary, it could eliminate surprises later.  If the inspection discovers areas of concern that need to be corrected, be sure to keep a copy of the invoices or other records of the repairs to be able to present to the buyer as well. 

10.    Last and most difficult is to keep everything in your home in the same great shape you worked so hard to get it in for the duration of the listing.  Leave the rest to your Realtor®. You are in good hands.  Always remember, cream ALWAYS rises to the top.  God Bless.