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Preparing your home for sale

November 13, 2010
By MARIO D'ARTAGNAN, Real Estate in Perspective

In the past I have given some suggestions for inexpensive home improvement projects. If you are in the process of considering selling your home, there are a few inexpensive ways to get the property in selling condition. The most important aspect to consider is viewing your home through the eyes of a buyer. The first and foremost consideration should be its curb appeal. If you haven't painted the exterior in a long time, now would be the time to do it. It's amazing what a fresh coat of paint does for such little money. If a potential buyer can't get past the first impression from the curb, it doesn't matter how beautiful the interior is.

It's important to make sure all of the landscaping is in good condition. This means trimming all trees and plants to frame the home so that the landscaping compliments the property and the neighborhood. Removing weeds and throwing some new mulch in the flower and tree beds will give a great appearance. The area around the front door should be free of clutter and all of the glass areas should be sparkling clean.

If you haven't pressure washed your driveway in a long time, this is a great time to do it. Standing oil stains are sometimes easily removed with a detergent cleaner. All gutters and downspouts should be clean and in good working condition.

Once inside the home, the arrangement of furniture should be framed in a manner that does not make the rooms look smaller than they actually are. Many times I have shown homes where it was difficult to navigate around the furnishings. I know it is difficult to part with some pieces of furniture. However, if you perceive your great room as having too many furniture pieces, it probably does. Try rearranging, and if this doesn't work, see what pieces could be removed.

Kitchens and bathrooms are the most important rooms to a buyer. In that respect, all countertops should be free of dishes and other items that don't belong there. All surface areas including the stove should be clean. Bathrooms should have minimal decorations. If the master bath has dual sinks, perhaps a nice vase with flowers would be a nice touch. All shower and tub surfaces should be clean and dry.

Take all of those magnets and papers off the refrigerator. Make sure all cabinet doors and handles are clean. If your kitchen has tile flooring, tile is very easy to clean. It takes only a little warm water and a small mixture of white vinegar to do the job. The white vinegar will remove any stains on the tile. If there are carpeted areas in the home, try to keep them vacuumed on a daily basis.

The bedrooms should be neat and free of any incidental clothing. All beds should be made, and the closets should be neat because buyers like to look inside them. They imagine what it will be like to have their clothes hanging in them. If your home also features a pool, the pool deck should be free of the equipment used to maintain the pool. If there is patio furniture on the deck, it too, should be clean and nicely arranged.

With the absence of basements in southwest Florida, many people end up using the garage as a storage facility and haven't parked their cars inside for years. If this is the case, this should be the time to start parting with those items that you probably haven't looked at in years. You may have the best home in the neighborhood, but some buyers just cannot overlook the clutter.

I would be the first to admit that these ideas are ridiculously simple. They are and they work.

Mario D'Artagnan is a broker associate with Miloff Aubuchon Realty Group, Inc. Mario is a former investigator for the Florida Real Estate Commission. He is also a former real estate instructor. Mr. D'Artagnan is a published author and has been a keynote speaker on the subject of agency law. Mario is also a veteran of the U.S. Air Force. For questions or comments contact Mr. D'Artagnan at: or call 239-565-4445.



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