Pleasanton Weekly

Real Estate - April 22, 2011

Shaping up for selling

Tips for making your home more attractive to potential buyers

First impressions are important and the same holds true when you are showcasing your home for a potential sale. While larger home improvement projects are often necessary to catch the eye of someone in the market for a new home, they require a great deal of time and money. Sometimes simple cleaning and organization is all that is needed for your home to become more appealing to potential buyers.

Home staging expert and TLC host Lisa Lynch says giving the perception of clean home is of utmost importance for people looking to sell or rent their homes.

"Presenting a sparkling clean property gives the impression that it was well maintained," says Lynch. "This gives potential buyers and renters a feeling of security. Often they will pay a premium for a place that has been well-maintained and has a clean appearance."

Lynch offers these tips to impress your guests and convince potential buyers that you took outstanding care of your home:

Simplify

Begin by de-cluttering your home. By removing personal items that might distract prospective buyers, you'll help them focus on how they think the home might look when they move in. You don't want buyers to focus on possessions that you'll be taking with you when you move.

Neutralize

When showing your home to others, it's best to set your personal tastes aside by decorating in a way that will appeal to a broad range of people. Think about replacing strong patterns with solid colors on items like bedding, carpets and drapes. It might also be a good call to store that dramatic piece of art somewhere out of sight. You can show it off again when you move into your new house.

A photogenic home

Many potential buyers will make decisions on which homes they would like to look at by looking at photos posted online. Do whatever you can to make your home sparkle in the images you and your real estate agent select for your listing. Focus on glass and metal surfaces that will add shine to your photos. A bath scrubber should be used to remove easy-to-spot and unappealing grime and scum from bathtubs and showers. Thoroughly cleaning these surfaces in bathrooms and kitchens can make your home look fresher and newer.

Areas that must sparkle

While it's important to keep the entire home spotless, there are two rooms in particular that require special attention: the kitchen and the bathroom. In a recent survey, Mr. Clean asked consumers which room they would clean first if moving into a new home. Of the more than 1,000 participants, an impressive 41 percent responded the kitchen and 38 percent said the bathroom. When selling your home, it is always important to make the extra effort in these two rooms; you'll never know if it will be a make or break a deal.

Scent

Whether they know it or not, people entering your home will notice more than just appearances. Attractive scents can create good feelings. Candles, diffusers, potpourri and cookies all offer inviting and familiar aromas. Use a cleaner with a pleasant scent to keep your home smelling fresh.

Details matter

Eliminate any small imperfections that might cause uneasiness with potential buyers by replacing broken light bulbs, fixing loose doorknobs or getting your closet door moving smoothly on it tracks. Even something as minor as a little mess in the microwave could turn off a prospective renter or buyer, so make sure every place you can think of is squeaky clean.

Since first impressions are so important, having your home properly cleaned and staged will help you make a sale or rental more quickly and net the price you deserve.

--ARA Content

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