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Preparing Your House to Sell or Not!

by Pat Wattam

I found this article I wrote back in 2006 and was shocked that nothing has changed in real estate!  Buyers don't want to spend the money doing updates - they want a house ready to go.  This is a relevant today as it was 11 years ago.  Take a few minutes and read this article:

Preparing Your Home for Sale

Each spring you start your annual cleaning and then, one spring you discover that it is just time to move to a new house.  Where do you start to get your house ready for sale?  Many people think that they shouldn’t update their home because the new buyers might not like the colors they pick out….or they don’t want to do minor repairs because they think they will just knock a little off the asking price to compensate.  From my 20+ years of experience I can tell you that the home that looks the best and needs the least amount of work will be the one that sells the fastest and for the highest dollar.  So where do you start?

“Curb appeal!”  Many a house has gone begging for buyers simply because it didn’t “look good” from the street.  It doesn’t matter what’s on the inside if the buyer isn’t willing to walk in the door. What do you notice first when you drive up?  Does the landscaping set the stage for the house?  Is it overgrown or even non-existant??  This is an area where most sellers do not want to spend a lot of time or money.  Often, whatever was there when they purchased the home is still there.  Adding plants with bright colors really makes your house stand out in otherwise dreary weather conditions 

Walk around the house and look for peeling paint, loose or missing shingles, rotten fascia boards, rotten wood frame around windows.  These are items that are considered maintenance and should be done prior to putting the house on the Market.  Believe me, if you see it, the buyer’s inspector will certainly notice it and you’ll end up doing these repairs anyway.  Better to do them now!!!  … and take a quick look at your storage room/boat port/workshop.  If you can’t actually walk in the door, some serious house-cleaning is in order!  

Inside the house--You don’t have to redo the whole house to sell it, but a fresh coat of paint and new carpet with neutral colors will really brighten up your house and make it sell faster.  That wall paper you have had since the 80’s really has to go.  There are ways to cover it without expensive re-papering.  There are many little things you can do, that don’t cost a lot of money and will really make your house sparkle.  Change out light fixtures and knobs on cabinets, especially if yours are really dated.  Paint dark paneling a lighter color, and refinish the tub if it’s really looks bad – no one likes a tub that looks dirty and sometimes the finish is so far gone that you just can’t get it to look clean. Make sure all appliances work and have the HVAC cleaned and serviced – and ask the technician to look at your unit as if YOU were buying it. 

A lot of people ask me if all this is really necessary--since our market has been so strong since hurricane Katrina.  The answer is, “Yes!”  Today we have a lot more buyers who can qualify for a house but really have no available cash, which is why we see so many people getting 100% financing.  They don’t have the funds to update a house or make any repairs.  They will pass up a house that needs updating in favor of another one that is ready to go.

Let me leave you with this thought.  Even if you aren’t planning to sell your house for another year or two, wouldn’t it be great for you to enjoy the benefits of sprucing up your home?  When it’s time for spring cleaning, make a list of a few things that you would like to update and then do them.  When it’s time for you to sell, you will have much less work to do, and you will have had the chance to enjoy the updates yourself!!

Pat Wattam

RE/MAX First Realtors

Is My House Ready For It's Closeup? -In Baton Rouge

by Pat Wattam

One of the first questions my sellers ask in the greater Baton Rouge Real Estate Market is "Is My Home Ready For Pictures"?  Here's a quick tip so that you know if your home is ready or not.  Remember, the marjority of buyers use their smart phones to look at houses.  That means, on a small screen, your house needs to look inviting.  Take a photo of each room with your cell phone camera and what jumps out at you?  You will quickly see how cluttered the house looks - even after you have removed most of the clutter!  What's the first thing you notice - BE HONEST!  Can you see the purpose of the room - or is all I can see in the guest bedroom is your furniture?  The buyers need to see how big the room is.  Are all your collectibles taking up the room?  The buyer doesn't want to see your but wants to be able to visualize theirs.  What about the color - is it something that would appeal to most people?  

I think if you are honest with yourself you will see what needs to be removed and changed to make the home inviting.  And by the way, if you have a beautiful outside, be sure not to block the view from the window!  If you have a nice big patio but not furniture, borrow some, rent some, buy something used - stage this area to make it inviting.  

Call on any of us at the Pat Wattam Team anytime and we'll be happy to look at your house and give you tips on getting it ready for us to sell!

Staging a Home to SELL

by Pat Wattam

I know that pictures say it better than words so I am going to show you an example of a house I sold with before and after photos.  The house had been on the Market for a while and did not sell.  I was hired to come in and make it happen - get the house sold.  It was a beautiful house, well cared for and very cheery with a lot of yellow walls with blue accent colors in pillows and fabrics.  But, as I explained to the seller, when you are selling, your house has to appeal to a lot of different people with different color pallets of their furniture and belongings.  We went with a warmer neutral color - the blues still popped but now it appeals to a broader population.

Please note how we had the seller remove quite a few items from these book cases and regroup them in a more interesting manner.  Looks much better, don't you think?

After changing the walls colors, the house sold almost immediately.  Another thing we did to make the house more attractive from the outside was to change the angle we shot of the front of the house - making sure we had a pretty day - even though it was winter - the shadows from the tree in the front yard show some depth and makes the traditional ranch view a little more interesting.

 

I hope these visuals give you an idea on how you can neutralize your house and yet still keep it charming and interesting to a buyer.  One of the things the Pat Wattam Team offers our sellers is help in deciding what to do to the house to maximize the appeal to a buyer.  We also offer a variety of videos to help you prepare to sell.  Call us today!

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Pat Wattam
RE/MAX First, Independently Owned and Operated
4750 Sherwood Common
Baton Rouge LA 70816
Office Direct: 225-298-6900
Office Main: 225-291-1234
Fax: 225-295-1234

RE/MAX First
Each Office Independently Owned and Operated
Main: 225-291-1234

Licensed by the Louisiana Real Estate Commission