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5 Pieces of Real Estate Advice for Sellers

Realtors can provide essential information when preparing a home for a sale since they know what buyers are seeking. Consider the following tips for successfully listing a home.

NEW YORK – Realtors® have walked through hundreds, if not thousands, of homes. They understand what buyers want and the current trends in the housing market. This expertise and knowledge of the industry is exactly what a home seller needs in order to find the right buyer at the right price. Listing a home can be stressful, but getting a head start and knowing what to expect may make the process less burdensome.

Here are five tips to help sellers prepare for listing a home:

Remove the clutter

The longer someone lives in a home, the more stuff seems to accumulate and multiply if children live there too. Preparing to list a home is an excellent time to start decluttering and packing items that may be sentimental, seasonal, or not frequently used. Begin the process of clearing out closets, cabinets, and drawers, picking up floors, clearing off counters, and simply removing the "stuff." Decluttering helps buyers see the potential and space in the property. Cleaning up closets shows there's ample room for shoes, clothes, accessories and other items. Clearing off counters allows kitchens and bathrooms to appear larger. Small appliances should be put away when not being used.

Realtors are excellent at pointing out which areas a potential buyer may question if there's too much clutter in the room or space. Consider renting a storage unit while the home is listed in order to keep certain items safe and out of the way during this short time.

Clean up the yard

While decluttering the inside, take some time to straighten up the exterior too. This means freshening the flower beds, trimming shrubs, adding new mulch around trees, and edging around the driveway and sidewalks. Remove any obvious debris and weeds. These simple chores can add a lot of curb appeal. Remember, the front of the house and yard are the first elements a potential buyer sees. An experienced Realtor can offer suggestions on which areas a homebuyer is most likely to examine and where to spend the most effort.

Personal effects

For some buyers, seeing personal pictures and items may distract from the space. This can include family pictures, diplomas, certificates, awards, artwork, etc. While these items are important and special, the goal of listing the property is to sell it, and personal effects may sometimes hinder a buyer's ability to see the home's potential.

Protecting the seller's privacy is another great reason to remove personal effects. For example, if small children or seniors live in the home, it's a good idea to remove their pictures and special belongings while the home is listed. Diplomas often include middle names or maiden names, which are sometimes used for security purposes. Although it's impossible to completely protect the identity of the seller and their family, removing personal items makes it more difficult for strangers to see who lives there. Ask a Realtor to walk through the home and identify any personal effects that may have been missed while cleaning and decluttering.

Clean, clean, clean

Dust loves every surface. Grab some cleaning supplies and old towels and prepare to wipe down every possible surface including behind the toilets, along the baseboards, above the doors, behind all the furniture, etc. Don't forget to clean the appliances too. The microwave should be free of stains and food debris, the oven and dishwasher should be clean and free of slime and burn marks, and the sink and faucet need a good wipe down. If possible, enlist the help of a professional cleaning company before the home is on the market.

Staging

Staging a home means different things to different people and Realtors. For some, it may mean rearranging the existing furniture, while others may choose to bring in furniture and décor. The purpose of staging is to show how a room can look or be used. For example, while a family may use the existing dining room as a playroom, staging it with a table and chairs instead of toys can give potential buyers a different view of the space. Talk to an experienced Realtor about whether or not some areas may need staged and if so, what that means. It could be as simple as adding a tablecloth and centerpiece or moving a few chairs.

Once the decision is made to list a property and move, start cleaning, decluttering and removing personal items. This will make the process easier in the long run. Working with an experienced Realtor can also bring insight and advice about buyer behavior and what someone may question, love, or want to change within the home. Take time to walk through the property with a Realtor before listing to make sure the property's best features are highlighted.

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