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Hey Sellers...Don't Get Lazy!

There's nothing for sale, I don't have to prepare my house, right? Wrong!

We have been hearing the news for several months now.  The market is getting stronger, inventory is really low, and prices are going up.  All of that is true.  We know that prices in the 33626 zip code went up 10% last year.  This is welcome news for sellers and real estate agents.  The worst is over, so we can all relax, right?

Wrong! 

While out with buyers in the last few months, I have seen more than my fair share of poorly prepared homes for sale.  Dirty laundry piles, mildew in the showers, overgrown shrubs, unorganized closets, and banged up baseboards, just to name a few issues.  My buyers are confused by the condition of these homes and, frankly, so am I. 

Are home sellers getting too relaxed now that the inventory is low and buyers have less to choose from?  Do they think that there home will sell itself simply because it is for sale?  I certainly hope not, and I am here to encourage all potential and current sellers to put your best foot forward all the time because it does make a difference.

Why does it make a difference?  Put simply, it makes a difference in how much your house will be valued to potential buyers.  When a buyer walks in your house they don’t see every detail, they get an overall impression of how well the house has been maintained and prepared for sale.  A well-loved house is a house that projects more value to potential buyers.  A house that is properly prepared and priced fairly will not sit very long in this market.  The faster your home gets a contract, the closer to asking price you typically get.  Preparation=money.

But, Melanie, it takes money to prepare my house and I don’t know if I will get that money back.

Well, Mr. & Mrs. Seller, you are right, it does take money to prepare your house.  But, if I told you that you could put $2000 into the stock market today and it would be worth $4000 in 2 months, would you do it?  Of course you would! 

The home preparations that give you the most return on investment are typically the least expensive ones.  Put in a few weekends of hard work de-cluttering and weeding.  Suddenly you will find yourself with a whole bunch of sweat equity!  Call a well qualified handyman to re-caulk your tubs, fix that broken cabinet door, and replace that rusty door knob.  Invest in a few plants and fresh towels.  Maybe call a painter to neutralize your home and fix those baseboards.  Get the carpets cleaned. 

Yes, there are a lot of factors that affect how much a home is worth and a lot of those are far more expensive.  Outdated kitchen and bathrooms are biggies.  You will need to discuss those changes with your real estate agent.  But, whether you have outdated or updated everything, you still need to take care of the little things when marketing your home.  These are the details that a buyer might not notice have been taken care of, but they will certainly notice if they have not!

Melanie Atkinson is a Westchase area Realtor with The Wood Team at Coldwell Banker.  She can be reached at 813-368-6084 or melanie@woodteamrealty.com.

"Like" The Wood Team on Facebook or follow Melanie on Twitter @CBMelanieA

P.S.  We are preparing for a brisk 2013 in real estate sales in the Westchase area.  If you are thinking about selling this year, please start thinking about these preparations as soon as possible.  We here at The Wood Team would be happy to provide you with a consultation.

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