Challenges of selling a home during the summer

summer home sale

If you were selling your home several years ago, you might have been thinking of ideas how to attract home buyers to your home. Even though the feeling today is such that you don’t have to do much to sell your home, some home sellers are shocked to find out that there is more to selling today than just putting a sign up in the yard – and summertime selling poses additional challenges.

First, get the price right. As I wrote earlier this year, pricing a home is extremely important even when there appears to be a positive selling cycle. Even though you decide on the list price, you have to be realistic about your home’s value; your real estate agent can assist you in deciding on a list price by preparing a market analysis with recent (within the last six months) neighborhood homes that are comparable to yours.

Next, remember that de-cluttering is the foundation to your home’s presentation. Whether you are a pack rat or a neat freak, chances are that your home could use some de-cluttering. De-cluttering shouldn’t be thought of as getting rid of everything you don’t need in the home, but instead could be thought of as a way to neutralize and free up space to allow home buyers to imagine how they could live in the home.

Another factor to consider during a summer home sale is your home’s curb appeal. The basics of curb appeal include attending to the home’s landscaping and grading, siding, deck, driveway and sidewalks.

We tend to get lazy about tending to the yard during the hot and humid summer months; however, if you’re planning a summer sale, it is not the time to let the lawn and weeds overgrow. Simple landscaping can make your lawn appear manicured. Trees properly trimmed away from the home will allow your home to be seen from the street as well as not be “crowded” by overhanging limbs. Neatly trimmed and properly placed shrubs and flower beds will not only look beautiful, it will enhance your home’s façade. Also, check that the grading around your home diverts storm water away from the foundation. Hiring a professional landscaping company to tend to your yard is the way to go if the heat and/or activity pose a health hazard.

Take a close look at the exterior of the home. If the exterior does not need painting, look for areas that may be peeling or bare. Decks, fascia boards and window trim are often made of wood and typically need more attention (even if your siding is made of brick or artificial materials). Consider having the deck and siding power washed to remove dirt, algae or mold. Additionally, resealing the deck and other exterior wood trim enhances the home’s curb appeal.

Sidewalks and driveways are often given the short shrift. Cracked sidewalks and driveway are not only unsightly, they can also be a trip hazard. Repairing and/or sealing the walkways and driveway can not only increase safety – it can improve the appearance of your home.

Finally, how cool is your home? An air conditioning system that does not keep your home cool is a buyer deterrent – especially in the hot summer months. If you don’t have the air conditioning system serviced on a regular basis, you should consider doing so before listing your home this summer.

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by Dan Krell
Copyright © 2013

This article is not intended to provide nor should it be relied upon for legal and financial advice. Using this article without permission is a violation of copyright laws.

Home staging for a home sale

by Dan Krell © 2013
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DanKrell.com

stage your home to sell itAs the real estate market is emerging and more homes are listed for sale, staging a home is once again becoming a popular topic of conversation. Home staging is often thought of as a fancy name for decorating or cleaning a home prior to it being sold.  In fact, “home staging” is a term that is used to describe the process of preparing your home for sale that goes beyond normal maintenance.  The purpose of “staging” is to make your home as appealing as possible to potential home buyers so your home can sell quickly.  Surveys conducted by the Accredited Staging Professionals a (StagedHomes.com) and Homegain (Homegain.com) indicate that staged homes sell faster than non-staged homes.

Although home staging has been around for over thirty years, it only gained wide acceptance this last decade. Many home staging techniques are derived from interior design; home stagers often sketch rooms to analyze the best use of space.

Staging your home’s exterior is just as important as staging the interior because a home buyer’s mood is set by their first impressions. You should consider the condition of your home’s landscape, façade, roof and gutters. Unkempt flower beds and cracked walkways can quickly give the impression that the home is in disarray. Additionally, missing shingles and misaligned gutters give the impression that the home has been poorly maintained.

The basics of home staging include de-cluttering, rearranging, and sometimes redecorating. Home sellers often have tunnel vision about their homes. Removing the clutter of your daily life from your home is the cornerstone to home staging. De-cluttering goes beyond cleaning and storing unused items. Because home buyers can get distracted by the home seller’s lifestyle when viewing a home, home stagers talk about “depersonalizing” a home.

You may have spent years making your home personal to your lifestyle, however now that you are selling it you need to depersonalize it. Depersonalization means to neutralize your home by removing as much of your lifestyle as possible from the home so anyone can feel as if this could be their home. Personal items, such as family photos, can focus the home buyer’s attention on your lifestyle and away from the home.

Additionally, the layout of each room needs to be considered so it feels bright and roomy. Properly placed furniture can assist home buyers to feel at ease and “at home.” Too much furniture in any room tends to make a large room look small and feel cramped. Additionally, misplaced furniture can make a room feel awkward and unsettling.

Let’s face it, sometimes a room needs a makeover. However, redecorating does not have to be an expensive affair. Sometimes having an extra lamp or even painting a wall can make the difference between shabby and chic. If your furniture is out of date or in poor condition, inexpensive furniture rentals can be a short term solution.

If your home vacant, staging each room tastefully can possibly facilitate a sale. An Appraisal Institute study indicated that a decorated home sells faster than an empty home.

Although many real estate agents have been certified in home staging, professional home stagers usually have a background in interior design. The International Association of Home Staging Professionals (IAHSP.com) is a source of information about home staging, including tips on staging your home as well as finding a home staging professional.

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This article is not intended to provide nor should it be relied upon for legal and financial advice. This article was originally published the week of July 1, 2013 (Montgomery County Sentinel). Using this article without permission is a violation of copyright laws. Copyright © 2013 Dan Krell.

Prepare your home for a sale

by Dan Krell
DanKrell.com
© 2013
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Home for sale

It may be an exciting year, especially if you’re planning to sell your home. If you’re like most home sellers, you’ve got some work to do to prepare your home before it goes on the market. So, let’s get to it…

One of the most important things to do before you list your home is to declutter. Decluttering can be an overwhelming endeavor because of a commonly held misconception that the goal is to make your home immaculate. Rather, the underlying principle to decluttering is to remove items from rooms to give a more spacious feel; you decide what items get thrown out, donated, or kept in storage. So as not to get overwhelmed, plan the decluttering; rather than trying to complete the activity in one weekend, try decluttering one room (or even one part of a room) per day.

After the decluttering, you’re often left with items that need to be thrown out. However, some items require precautions and/or special disposal: some items may need to be recycled; some may need special handling; while some may need to be hauled to a processing facility. The county or municipality may offer special pick up for some items that cannot be disposed of by the regular trash collection. If you’re unsure about the disposal of certain items, call your local “Department of Waste Services,” (like my local Montgomery County Division of Solid Waste Services) which can offer guidance and information for local disposal/recycle procedures, facility locations and hours.

“Neutralize” your home to provide a vision to home buyers how they can live in the home. Although you’ve spent years giving your home a personal touch; items such as trophies, awards, diplomas, family and personal photos should be removed because they can distract home buyers’ attention from the home itself.

Home buyers should feel at ease when viewing your home. Having too much and/or over-sized furniture can make an otherwise large room feel cramped. Eclectic furniture collections and furniture that is wrongly placed can not only make a room look awkward, but can also give people an unsettling feeling.

Does your home need staging? Home staging is a way to create a “vision” for home buyers by adding a modern flair. Some home sellers stage every room, while some only stage featured rooms to be focal points of the home. Although home staging can be expensive, it doesn’t have to be. Sometimes having an extra lamp or removing a painting from a wall can make the difference between shabby and chic. If your furniture is out of date or in poor condition, consider a short term furniture rental for that featured room.

Although we’ve talked about your home’s interior – don’t neglect the exterior of your home. Home buyers’ initial opinions are created as they approach your home; no matter how nice your home looks on the inside, it may not matter if home buyers never make it inside. Simple landscaping can make a lawn appear “manicured.” Make sure that the home’s siding is clean and in good condition.

Your real estate agent should be able to provide guidance to prepare your home for sale. If home staging is a goal, many agents either work with a home stager or have been certified for home staging. You can also research home staging by visiting The International Association of Home Staging Professionals website (IAHSP.com).

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This article is not intended to provide nor should it be relied upon for legal and financial advice. This article was originally published in the Montgomery County Sentinel the week of January 14, 2013. Using this article without permission is a violation of copyright laws. Copyright © 2013 Dan Krell.