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Jan 13, 2014

Tips for Selling Your Home

If you're thinking about selling your house, winter may not seem like the "ideal" time to start planning and preparing to sell. Far from the truth. This is the perfect time to start. Here's a few things you should consider right away!...

Preparing for kitchen remodeling - Selling your houseWith temperatures hovering around the zero mark, it is hard to think about getting ready to sell your house this spring; however, now is the time to start. Take a moment today (yes, today!) to walk through your house and look at it through the eyes of a potential buyer. Knowing that the buyer wants to imagine him or herself living and relaxing in your house, figure out what you need to remodel, repair, and depersonalize.

KITCHEN REMODELING: Though it seems like the most difficult of the tasks, updating your kitchen is cited again and again as what gets your house sold, and as what has the most return on your investment. You should begin here because it involves the most time and planning.

Start by gathering kitchen design ideas from magazines and the internet. Or, better yet, take the time to go to a home show at the nearest convention or expo center. In the DC metro area, the Home & Remodeling Show at the Dulles Expo Center in Chantilly, VA, will be the first of three shows in the area. Here you will have the opportunity to see what the experts are doing and what is trending. 

 Next, when deciding what needs improving, focus on five areas in your kitchen:

  • Appliances: Trade in your 80’s bisque colored stove for a stainless steel or black one. Match it to your refrigerator and dishwasher.
  • Countertops: Now is a good time to repair or replace countertops that are chipped or peeling. Using granite, marble, quartz or solid surfaces, not only adds value to your home, but makes an immediate impression on a buyer.
  • Cabinets: Have your particle board cabinets started showing their weakness? These are difficult to fix, so you may need to replace the parts/door. If possible, completely replace the cabinets with all-wood cabinets. These are a beautiful improvement and a great selling point. If you already have wood, try sprucing up scratches with wood-finish markers.
  • Floors: Replace peel-and-stick or block linoleum. One home inspector pointed out that water can get in the cracks between the strips of flooring, causing damage to the subflooring. As buyers are not allowed to look under your linoleum, they may be especially suspicious of old flooring. Use linoleum that comes in a sheet, or better yet, lay tile or wood.
  • Lighting: Replace your outdated lights with fixtures that accent the new style of your kitchen.

No doubt it can be expensive to do a full kitchen remodel, but keep in mind that it's likely that most of that cost can be recouped.  Put another way, some homes simply won't sell unless the kitchen and baths are up-to-date. Remember, you'll be competing with other for-sale homes that do have updated kitchens and bathrooms.

REPAIRING: Once your remodeling is underway, it is time to focus on repairing: spackle holes, fix drips, replace rotten wood, seal windows. As bathrooms are also an important selling point, now is the time to re-grout mildewed tile. You may not be able to repair everything, so first do what makes your house look cleanest.

DEPERSONALIZING: As people want to imagine themselves in your house, you need to minimize your presence. Get a jump-start on packing by cleaning up all of your clutter and putting it into storage. If you let your kids pick out that deep-space-black or perky purple paint for their rooms, then build up an arsenal of neutral colors for your walls. On walls that have many imperfections, use matte colors. Replace your carpet with a neutral color as well. If you have children, you should consider painting and replacing the carpet last so as to minimize cleaning. As most people will eventually replace any drapery you leave behind, keep your good curtains and hang inexpensive sheer white ones instead.

Finally, when the weather allows, clean up your yard, replace your mulch, and plant flowers that are already in bloom (e.g. a couple flats of pansies will add eye-catching color). You should also paint your front porch and door if needed, as well as power-wash your deck and siding. Keep in mind that the buyer’s first impression will be their drive-by.

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