Preparing your home for a better net!

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DSC_4300-30Cane Bay is blessed to be one of the most productive neighborhoods in South Carolina real estate sales. During 2015, 397 homes were sold in Cane Bay – this is an average of more than 33 transactions per month. The upside to this statistic is that prospective sellers can look forward to a rather quick selling process. The downside is that competition could be fierce, especially with new construction and new neighborhoods developing rapidly.

Before placing a house on the market, the seller should consider, “What is the absolute lowest amount I need to take away from the sale of my house?” I call this the “Principle of Net.” This is not to be confused with what you would like to have, or to think of the sale in terms of the perfect scenario or the perfect situation. Be honest with yourself and your realtor about what you actually need to net from the sale (after mortgage payoff, if any). Rest assured, your Realtor wants to exceed your expectations and bring you the best net the market will allow.

Even though the ‘market’ has last say on your bottom line, you (the seller) have the most influence on the value and how it may be accepted by prospective buyers. When competing with other houses in your neighborhood, your house should stand out, with great appeal to the buyers that are exploring Cane Bay.

Curb appeal – This should be your first area of focus. Landscaping and clean, crisp exteriors will draw the best first impression, whether the buyers are driving through the neighborhood or viewing the pictures online. Start with the removal of dead shrubs and plants. Keep ground coverings as fresh as possible. Landscape lighting has become very popular and gives a nice glow to the homes at dusk and into the night. Add fresh plants or flowers, where needed, to assist with the appeal. Also, clean/power wash the exterior of the house. You may even need a fresh coat of paint and caulk in areas that are weathered. If exterior paint is necessary, it is best to stay away from bold colors. When pressure washing do not ignore the black tar that can build up on the roof. Sometimes, it’s the attention to small details that wins the race.

Interior appeal – This is your next focal point in preparing your house for the best net offer. Clean and/or replace worn flooring. Hardwoods and ceramic tile are prominent in many of the new homes. Remember, you are not just competing with other houses for sale in your neighborhood, but with newly constructed homes in nearby neighborhoods. If hardwood or ceramic tile flooring is not in your budget, new carpet will do wonders to update your house and improve how it shows. A little color on the wall also adds character, but again, stay away from bold colors. It is usually best to stick with neutral wall colors – beige, taupe and greys will serve you best in current trends. “De-personalize” and “de-clutter” wherever you can. This does not mean that you cannot have a few family pictures around. However, the feel should be inviting, but impersonal (as if anyone could live there) and flow of the house should be unimpeded and minimized wherever possible. This adds volume to the rooms and provides less distraction, as the buyers visualize their furniture and belongings in their future home. If you can afford a professional stager, by all means hand her/him the reigns.

If not, visiting model homes in the neighborhood will give you some great ideas – and it won’t cost you a thing!

Two of the most important rooms of the house for today’s buyers are the kitchen and the master bedroom / suite. As stated before, the kitchen should be clean and without clutter. Remove extra appliances and other unnecessary items from the counter tops. Deep clean the oven, stove-top and behind the fridge. The sink, appliances and counter tops should be sparkling. Make the kitchen inviting for the prospective buyers. You want them to think “I could see myself cooking here.” The master suite (and all bedrooms) should be neatly arranged and the bed should be made, ideally staged with pillows. Once again, keep the room free from any clutter and as de-personalized as possible. Remove unnecessary furniture. The bathroom(s) should be gleaming. Minimize the soap, shampoo and other sundry items from the vanities and the tub/showers. Accent rugs can be a great addition, but make sure they complement the décor. Again, visit the new home models for the latest ideas, or hand the staging over to a professional that you trust. If you have furniture or other items that you do not need while listing your house, but want to take with you to your new home, box up the items and place in the garage. It is better to have a full garage than disorderly rooms. If you don’t have a garage, or don’t have room to store the items in the garage, consider renting a storage unit.

Other ideas – Making your house stand out, and garnish the best offer, includes changing the light fixtures, framing bathroom mirrors, and adding fresh flowers. These things brighten up the place. Do not over improve or over spend in preparing the house for sale. Updating is essential, especially if the house is more than 5 years old, but be careful in picking the options that will be the best in boosting the house’s appeal. Beware of over improvements that will not increase your net proceeds. Selling your house is a business and should be approached with the intention of getting an optimal return on your efforts and investment. Set a budget and stick to it. Consult the experts to be sure you are making the right choices.

By: Sam Broadway

*Article originally posted in Cane Bay Living*

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