Selling Your Home


Content Image For most families, their home is their largest financial asset, and deciding to sell it is a big decision that involves a lot of preparation and work. When you're ready to sell it's important to have an experienced real estate professional handle the details involved in the successful sale of a home for top dollar.


As an experienced professional who has helped many Portland residents sell their homes, I know how to handle every aspect of the sales process - from strategically marketing and showcasing your home to making sure everything's signed, sealed and delivered by the closing date.


Providing you with comprehensive, high-quality listing service is my top priority. So when you decide to sell your home, please contact me and let's get started!


 


Selling Your Home 


Preparing your home for selling can be overwhelming, but breaking the process down into a few basic steps will make it more manageable.  In most cases, you can get your home ready to show in far less time than you think!  Here’s how: 


1. Become a “Prospective Buyer” for Your Home 


A buyer will picture his or her family living in your home, so put yourself in their shoes and pretend you are looking at it for the first time. From the street, scan the entire area around your home. This is known as a home’s “street appeal.”  Does it look clean and well-kept?  Is the paint in good shape?  How about the roof?  Is the landscaping appealing?  Is the walkway and driveway leading up to your home is good repair.  A prospective buyer will notice all of these things! 


Drive into your driveway and walk up to your front entry.  Take note of anything that catches your attention (good or bad), including the view from in front of your home.  Are you happy with it, or is there something obvious that you can do to make it more appealing?  Be critical, because your buyer will be. 


Enter your home as if you are coming in for the first time.  From inside the front entry, what immediately catches your eye?  That will be the first thing your buyer will notice.  Does it give you a positive feeling about your home?  Take a tour and imagine what your real estate agent might say about each room, including all bathrooms.  Look in cabinets, open doors, and check out closets.  Do you notice anything that needs repair, washing, or painting?  Make a list of things that you find appealing and another list of things that may put-off a buyer. 


2. Organize and Downsize your Personal Items 


This may seem like the most daunting task of all, especially if you have lived in your home for many years.  However, once you get started, this process may not take as long as you think and yields the greatest payback.  First, get rid of clutter in every room, including closets, storage areas, kitchen cabinets, drawers, bath vanities, and shelves.  It can be helpful to start with the easiest room and work towards the most difficult.  This will give you a feeling of accomplishment very early in the process. One good rule of thumb:  If you haven’t used it in the last year, you probably won’t!  


Most of us put too much stuff into our homes!  Make an effort to reduce furniture and fixtures to make your home look larger.  Have a moving sale, and use the proceeds to do painting or repair projects.  Store any personal items that you can’t part with out of sight, in boxes or in some other places.  Potential buyers want to picture their stuff in your home…not yours! 


3. Free From Clutter – Time to Clean 


Now that the clutter is gone, it will be much easier to deep-clean your home.  This is a ceiling-to-floor, roof-to-foundation clean-up project (especially important if you are competing with new homes that may be for sale in your neighborhood).  You may want to hire professional help. 


For the exterior:  Paint or power-wash everything that needs the work.  Clean all windows and gutters.  Mow and edge all yards and remove any sick or dying plants. All landscaping should look well-kept and weed-free.  Remember, the front yard is the first thing that a prospective buyer will see, and the backyard may be the last. 


For the interior:  Clean the carpets, strip and polish the floors, scour the bathrooms and the laundry room, polish the furniture, clean the kitchen appliances and the cabinets (inside and out), wash the windows and window coverings, clean any ceiling fans and light fixtures. Clean everything.


 4. Doing Your Own Repairs Pays Off 


Clutter-free and clean-as-can-be, it’s time to make all necessary repairs to attract a buyer.  Once again, you may want to hire professional help for this step.  The return  is usually worth the cost.  An "as-is" sale keeps you from doing all this work, but a buyer will assess about twice the price you would have paid for the repairs.  Then, the buyer will deduct that amount from your asking price, before making an offer.


Outside:  Patch up the roof, touch up the paint, and repair the screens and fences.  Ensure that all door-locks work smoothly.  Make your entry area really shine.



Inside:  Fix the grout in the kitchens, bathrooms and on tile floors.  Adjust any doors that need it.  Fix scratches on the walls, cover or remove stains, and fix any plumbing problems, like leaky faucets.  Do what your home needs before the first buyer appears at your door. 


5. Get a Sense of the Market 


Before you put your home on the market, take a weekend day to check out the competition (homes with similar prices in similar neighborhoods).  It can be intimidating to compete with new homes, in a new development, but remember that clean, uncluttered, and fresh is what buyers are looking for.  A well-maintained home can be “better than new,” because of the “hidden costs” associated with new homes.  Many flaws can be overlooked, if the buyer sees that a home is “move-in ready.” 


6. Time to Put Your Home on the Market 


After you’ve cleared the clutter, deep-cleaned, repaired your home, and checked-out the competition, it’s time to show it off to prospective buyers!  Plan to make your home available on short notice (five minutes is optimal).  Here are some helpful last-minute tips for showings: 


Open all blinds and turn on the lights. Opening the interior doors will make the home appear roomier and brighter.  Make sure your pet's litter pan is kept clean, so the home smells clean and fresh.  Air-fresheners can be considered a “cover-up” and may turn-off some prospective buyers.  Shoe-covers at the front entry will help keep your carpets clean and allow potential buyers to keep their shoes on.  Have an out-of-the-way place for family and pets to go, if possible.


 


Some helpful tips for you: 


Remodeling


When considering remodeling, make sure you understand the limits of the return on your investment. Most projects aren’t going to pay for themselves unless you’re simply bringing the property up to buyer expectations, or doing repairs the buyer’s lender is likely to require. Your Oregon First Realtor® can help you decide which projects are likely to be demanded by the market, given the price you’re seeking.


Also, be sure to use licensed, bonded and insured contractors and pull all necessary permits. You may be surprised how many weekend projects require a permit. If it involves plumbing or electrical, even simple things like installing a ceiling fan or GFI, a permit is almost always required.


Check out the Oregon Construction Contractors Board consumer website. They have some useful information like a search function that allows you to verify your contractor is licensed and see their enforcement history, if any.


Another useful site is PermitsProtect.info. You can look up whether you need a permit, how to get one, green building tax credits that are available to you, etc.


Oregon Law


Laws are changing all the time. One of the main objectives of the continuing education classes we offer our agents almost every day of the week (including three hour Saturday classes) is to keep our agents up to date on those changes.


Three recent changes you may not be aware of have to do with smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors, and woodstove certification. Below are links to pamphlets explaining seller obligations.


From the Office of the State Fire Marshall




From the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality



There are other ways you can get on the wrong side of the law — not knowing the Federal requirements regarding lead based paint disclosure and notification, not understanding your obligations to conduct well water testing, not complying with State requirements for abandoned underground tanks (oil or septic), etc. This is why it’s so important to have an Oregon First agent on your side. Educating yourself is great, but you can never have as much of the knowledge that’s vital in your specific situation as someone who does this for a living.


Staging and Decorating


Once you’ve made sure you’re complying with the law, and completed any remodeling you and your Oregon First agent feel is necessary, It’s time for the final touches. We’ve made a few suggestions below to get you started — but, as always, be sure to talk with your Oregon First agent about the best ways to show off your home’s unique advantages.


Declutter


Pack up 80-90% of your books, photos, knick-knacks and other décor. Leave your counters, shelves and furniture surfaces as spare as possible. Buyers need to be able to envision themselves living in your home – they want to see open, clean rooms where they can relax and imagine a space for their own belongings.


Deep Clean


Keeping your home absolutely spotless is one of the biggest factors in ensuring it sells quickly and for the best possible price.


Consider hiring a professional to do a deep clean before you list your house. You can spend that time de-cluttering and packing away all the things you don’t use every day.


If you don’t want to hire a housecleaner, take it in stages. Once you’ve done your usual thorough cleaning job, focus on detailing every room.


Pay extra attention to:


• Interiors of cabinets and closets


• Window tracks and glass


• Underneath and behind furniture


• Baseboards


• Trim, moldings, and picture frames


• Lamp bases and shades


• Inside light fixtures


Repaint


If your house will be vacant, consider repainting the interior. Once you’ve moved your belongings out, every scuff on the walls will show.


Rearrange


Your house should be easy for a buyer to move around in without furniture impeding their tour. This may mean re-thinking room arrangements that are designed around the TV. Rooms should be furnished according to their intended use — no dining rooms as computer offices, for example.


Repair


Even if you don’t remodel, make sure doors are easy to open, handles don’t fall off cabinets, toilets aren’t running, etc.


Get Your Yard in Shape


Curb appeal is the first impression a buyer has of your home – and first impressions last. Plant colorful annuals in beds or pots, get rid of weeds, add fresh bark dust, and keep up on mowing and edging.


Bring in the Light


Open your shades and curtains so the rooms look as large and bright as possible. If it’s nice out, open a few windows.


Add Flowers


A vase of fresh cut flowers in your entryway is a cheerful and homey way to welcome visitors.  Bedrooms, also, can almost always benefit from some extra attention.


Put on Some Soft Music


Find a radio station that plays cheerful, relaxing music and play it quietly in the kitchen or living room. Background music masks the intimidating sounds of footsteps and private conversations in a quiet house.


Consider a Scent


People respond positively to natural scents, such as vanilla and lavender. Steer clear of synthetic or strong odors, which many people dislike or may even react to.


Need More Detailed Information?


Contact me. 


 


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