Negotiating the Sale of Your Home? Avoid These 5 Common Mistakes

Negotiating doesn’t come naturally to most people. It’s a skill and an art-form that is best perfected with practice. If you’re selling your home without the help of a real estate agent, you’ll want to avoid these common pitfalls in the process.

Lacking confidence. If you’re not confident, you’re likely to ruin the deal. Tenacity and preparation are key to solid negotiation. Identify the mutually-beneficial terms and expected objections – and project them confidently to the buyer – and you’ll be well on your way to success.

Making assumptions. Everything is negotiable. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Powerful negotiations can help break the rules. By projecting an ethical and mutually acceptable solution, you’ll win over any buyer.

Not building trust. Never enter into a deal without first establishing a relationship and trust with the potential homebuyer. Take things slow. Get to know the people and their motives behind buying your home. Gather any useful leveraging points by interacting with them in a positive way.

Getting scared. Seriously, don’t let rejection – or the fear of appearing greedy – deter you. Substantiate your ask and expectation with a viable argument to justify it. If your offer is rejected, don’t take it personally. It’s a part of the process! On average, people say “no” three times before finally saying “yes.”

Talking too much. Don’t talk too much during negotiation. Oftentimes, your silence will play a bigger role in getting what you want. It might feel awkward, but adding a pause of silence will make the buyer more likely to interject with information that’s helpful to you.

Are you you in the process of selling your house and looking for a new home? Let RedStone Mortgage assist you in finding loan options that meet your individual needs. Call us at 480-759-1500.

7 Tips for Negotiating Without a Real Estate Agent

Negotiating is tricky, but it’s not impossible. Smart negotiation always follows a strategy. Here are some of our best pieces of advice for negotiating the sale of your home.

  • First, determine the possible outcomes of the negotiation. If it’s not going to be profitable for you, give it up. If you remain focused on your objectives, you can deal effectively even with tough people.
  • Selling your home? Do the research. Go by expert analysis and know what your home is really worth in the market. Just because you want to make more money doesn’t mean you should price the home too high for the given neighborhood or economy. That just diminishes your chances of selling. Getting an appraisal will give you an even clearer picture of your home’s worth.
  • Be realistic. Remain open and flexible. You can’t expect to get everything you want during negotiation. Honestly accept any flaws the buyer might point out in your property.
  • Don’t take it personally. Meaning, don’t react personally to low offers. It’s just part of the game. Look into the buyer’s motivation and understand it thoroughly before you respond appropriately. Even if you have to reject the offer, you might have some valuable lessons to learn from it.
  • Explore ways to counterbalance the low offers. Maybe you can make the buyer agree to pay the closing costs.
  • It’s never a bad idea to have an alternative deal in the background while you negotiate with a given party.
  • Mentally prepare yourself to do the negotiation as effectively as possible. Be tough but professional. Never get emotional. Stay focused, calm and relaxed so that you have total control of the situation.

Are you you in the process of selling your house and looking for a new home? Let RedStone Mortgage assist you in finding loan options that meet your individual needs. Call us at 480-759-1500.

5 Tips For A More Organized Move

Moving into your new home is a happy and exciting milestone. It’s the start of an all-new chapter in your life and the beginning of an exciting experience. But moving can also be highly stressful. With a little planning, you can take the frustration level down a notch (or five). Here are some clever and efficient ways to organize your move.

  • Make a list. Before starting the packing process, take a moment to imagine how you want your new home to look. Make a list of things you currently own that you don’t want, or need, to move into the new place. Donate or sell what’s usable and get rid of the rest.
  • Pack smart. Use press and seal bags or containers. Buy a roll of stretch wrap to protect your valuables from getting scratched or battered during transport. Vacuum seal your out-of-season clothing for easy storage in the new house. Use wheeled suitcases to move heavy items like books.
  • Start with the easiest and most important stuff. Before things get busy, pack and set aside valuable documents, sensitive financial information, and jewelry, electronics and computer-related items. All of these objects should be specially packed and cared for, and doing so at the very beginning will prevent any mishaps (and misplacements!) down the road.
  • Create a labeling system. This can sometimes be more helpful than a personal assistant! Employ a hybrid color-coded and numbered list system to keep track of what’s in your boxes. Keep written record of what’s in each colored and numbered label. This way, you won’t need to search forever for that one thing at the new house. Instead, you can dive right in.
  • Always pack a box of essentials. This box should get you through the first day and night in your new home. Use a clear, plastic bin to easily differentiate between the rest of your stuff. A few things that you may want to include in this “essentials” box are: A minimal set of dishes, towels, sheets, tea kettle or coffee maker, phone charger, hair dryer, toilet paper, light bulbs, one or two rolls of trash bags, paper towels and much-needed tools like box cutters.

Are you you in the process of selling your house and looking for a new home? Let RedStone Mortgage assist you in finding loan options that meet your individual needs. Call us at 480-759-1500.

Selling Your Home? Here Are 5 Questions To Ask Prospective Buyers

There’s a lot of work and preparation that comes with selling your home. When it comes to negotiating the sale, you’ll want to pre-qualify buyers to make sure they’re serious about their desire to purchase. Here are 5 must-ask questions while negotiating:

Are you currently working with a real estate agent?

Buyers who are working with a professional real estate agent have likely already completed the necessary legwork and paperwork. This, of course, is a major plus. But, keep in mind that you’ll also be expected to pay part of that real estate agent’s commission with a portion of your home’s sale price.

How long have you been looking at homes?

If the buyer has just started looking for a home, you may want to move on. Every situation is different, but there’s a good chance that people who have just begun their search are just window shopping. (Unless they’re just instant decision-makers!) If they’ve been looking for some time, then they’re more likely to make a commitment sooner. They’ve seen what’s out there and they’ve weight their options.

Have you already been pre-qualified by a lender?

Actually, this could be a question or a requirement.

For example, you may want to tell them, “If you’re interested in purchasing my home, I would like for you to become pre-qualified before you make an offer.” Lay this out for them and you’ll see just how serious the buyer is. You’ll also know whether the purchase is even probable and if they can afford your home.

If the buyer isn’t qualified, you’ll want to scratch them out of the equation. Last thing you want is to get involved in a lengthy legal process that ties up your sale, which could prevent you from showing your home to other would-be buyers.

Have you already sold your home, or do you still need to do so?

This is an extremely important question because it will give you a general timeframe for how long you have to move into a new home. If they are currently in the middle of selling their home, ask them whether their home is under contract.

Once you find the right house, when will you plan to move in?

Don’t be surprised if they can’t give you an immediate answer. There are so many variables that play into the home buying and selling process. That’s normal. But, if they avoid the question altogether, it’s likely a red flag and a sign that you’ll want to look at other options.

Are you you in the process of selling your house and looking for a new home? Let RedStone Mortgage assist you in finding loan options that meet your individual needs. Call us at 480-759-1500.

A Buyer’s Negotiation Tactics – Be Ready For Them!

Negotiation is inevitable when you’re selling your home. Unless you’re a skilled haggler, it’s probably an experience that will drive you up a wall at some point. But, it’s important to be ready to deal with the process. Remember: Smile, speak slowly and – above all else – have a sense of humor. You’re going to need it.

In the meantime, study up on the following buyer negotiation personas.

The Higher Authority Negotiator: This tactic includes bringing in a third party to review the contract or see the home to put in their two cents.

Nibblers (aka Non-Stop Negotiators): The best way to manage this type is to clearly document and spell out every fine detail, hold your ground and not fold on things that are out-of-the-form or important to you.

Bad Guy/Good Guy: Handle these personalities by setting one appointment with both people and don’t negotiate anything until all parties are present, so that you’re not hit from both sides at opposite times.

The Trial Balloon: This type will assess your position without any clues or reason, so combat them with questions, such as, “If I were to finance the house myself, what offer would you make me?” Only take a response from the buyer.

Would You Take…”: Avoiding this type is easy. All you have to do is ask for all offers in writing, and they will more often than not back off.

The Guilt Trip: If a buyer decides to back you into a corner and guilt trip you (some will try and tell you about how hard it’s been for them financially and that they’d really appreciate it if you could lower your asking price), stand your ground.

While most buyers will work with you and generally won’t put up much of a fight, there are some who will try and take advantage of the sale. Don’t let these people run you into the dirt by asking you to lower your selling price by an absurd amount. If your home is priced fairly, you’ll find plenty of other buyers who are willing to make you a reasonable offer.

Lastly, don’t be afraid to tell a buyer who is stressing you out to hit the road. You don’t need them – they need you.

Are you you in the process of selling your house and looking for a new home? Let RedStone Mortgage assist you in finding loan options that meet your individual needs. Call us at 480-759-1500.

How To Market Your Open House Online

How To Market Your Open House Online - myarizonaloan.com

The best way to make an open house successful is to effectively market and promote it well before the event date.  Buyers are constantly searching online for listings and the sooner you get in front of them, the better. Typically, a real estate agent will handle open house efforts for you, but if you’d like to take promotions a step further, consider doing the following:

Facebook

Social media is great for listing your home. Consider setting up a Facebook page that’s dedicated to the home you’re selling. Add engaging photos of the exterior – the front of the house, the backyard and any other charming highlights – as well as interior shots, which should include full pictures of each room, entryway, kitchen and any shared spaces. Create a photo album using only the best photos.

PRO TIP: Hire a professional photographer to take clear and beautiful images.

Make sure the Facebook page description is easy to read by separating paragraphs and using clear and concise words with no errors. Spell out every interesting detail of the house and go over the description with your real estate agent before publishing.

Then, create a Facebook event listing for your open house. This is where you’ll plug in all relevant information like date, time and directions. It’s also a good opportunity to add more stunning photos!

PRO TIP: Have access to a video camera? Creating a short teaser video to take potential buyers on a quick property. And, get in front of that camera! Who better to show off the unique features of a home than its owner?

REALTOR.com

REALTOR.com is a great way to market your house, as potential buyers are constantly cruising this website for their dream home.

Your real estate agent is the one who needs to first create the for-sale listing. But, once that’s done, you can go in and add an open house event yourself. Here are some quick instructions on this process:

  1. In the main menu, click Manage Listings, and click on the address for your listing, then click Edit Listing once the menu appears.
  2. From there, click on Open Houses underneath Showcase Listing Enhancements and enter the information for your open house in the provided fields.
  3. The Additional Comments box allows you to add any other information that you may deem necessary to include, such as directions to your property from the closest major intersection, for example.
  4. Once you are satisfied with everything, click Save, and you will then see your open house date within the Open House section, where you can edit or delete it if you wish to do so.

Always remember to let your real estate agent know whenever you make any changes to any of your listings.

Zillow

Zillow is another real estate tool that is perfect for open house promotion. Once your real estate agent has created a listing for your home on the market, and an open house date has been decided and confirmed, you can then create the listing for it by following these steps:

  1. First, look for Edit Listing Info, which will be located at the top of the home page.
  2. Select the button that reads Update for Sale by Agent/Owner, which you will find at the bottom of the page.
  3. Carefully go over and fill in all of the fields given, click Save, and you’re done!

Once again, ensure that your real estate agent goes over the listing for your open house once you have completed it.

Are you looking for a new home? Let RedStone Mortgage assist you in finding loan options that meet your individual needs. Call us at 480-759-1500.

Promote Your Open House With Direct Mail Marketing

Promote Your Open House With Direct Mail Marketing - myarizonaloan.com

Much of the real estate business is operated online. But, direct mail marketing can be a great avenue for promoting your open house. Incorporating direct mail into your strategy will give you an edge amongst the competition.

Creating the perfect direct mail “invitation” to your open house is easy to do. Here are a few important steps:

  • List a contact phone number and email address, so that potential buyers can decide which mode of communication they prefer.
  • Consider including a Quick Response Code (QR Code), which recipients can scan with their smartphones to receive quick information on your listing.
  • Your personal URL, whether it be for your website where your listings are located or anywhere else they can be found. Make it easy for potential buyers to find information.
  • Go with a larger postcard, from the dimensions of 5.5″ x 8.5″ in size.
  • Use an eye-catching color that is also easy on the eyes, such as a vibrant orange or even a baby blue. Be sure to choose colors that complement your home photos.
  • Use text that is bolded, large, and easy to read. Abril Fatface and League Gothic are two great font choices. Steer away from using informal fonts like Comic Sans or Papyrus.
  • Go over the text with your real estate agent so that your message appeals to the specific crowd of potential buyers you’re targeting.
  • Include some graphics that will grab the potential buyer’s attention.

You’ll want to make sure that your postcards are delivered at least a week before your open house date. Check with your local mail carrier to see how long bulk mail will take to be delivered to each address once it’s been received at the post office.

Real estate direct mail marketing gets your message across and can be crafted with a beautiful design to really reel in potential buyers.

Are you looking for a new home? Let RedStone Mortgage assist you in finding loan options that meet your individual needs. Call us at 480-759-1500.

Neutralizing Your Home

When you’re looking to sell your home quickly and as painless as possible, you’ll have to go through a process of removing your (or your tenants’) presence from the house. This process is known in the real estate industry as neutralization.

A better name for neutralization, however, is called “depersonalizing.” Essentially, your goal is to remove the identity of the home so that potential homebuyers can picture their future in the home without have the “thumbprints” from previous occupants.

How does one go about neutralizing their home? Easier said than done.

There are even limits to neutralizing your home, however.

If you go too far, your home may appear cold and foreign to potential homebuyers, as they’ll have difficulty imagining just what each room’s purpose was (or could be).

Let’s take a look at the topics and particular nuances that can influence buyers to say “yes” to your house and close as soon as possible!

Home Renovations

Once you’ve decided to sell your home, you may use the opportunity of your uncluttered home to finally make some renovations to your home to make it more attractive to buyers.

This might seem like a smart strategy, but be sure to make reasonable limits to the time and money you invest on new flooring, new carpets, and updating old appliances.

The idea to keep in mind is that the improvements you’re making—say, new blue carpeting—might be immediately removed by the new homeowner, or might even be turn-off potential buyers.

Conversely, if you don’t take necessary steps to repair minor repairs, you can turn-off buyers, as well.

Look at your home with a buyer’s mindset.

Those nicks, dents, and scrapes on walls and flooring might be invisible to you because you’ve become accustomed to them; to someone just stepping foot into your home, a loose doorknob, burned out bulbs, or stains on the patio could lead potential homebuyers to believe that these are just the beginning of the problems that you home holds.

A little bit of sanding and spackle can go a long way to getting your house sold.

Photographs, Awards, and Certificates

While you may still be a resident in the home that you’re trying to sell, you must remove most of the traces that allude to the personality that you’ve “carved” into your home. This includes family photographs, awards, and certificates. Why?

The reason is that these photographs, either of marriages, children, and other friends/family, tend to give them impression of a “claimed” territory.

It’s harder for a person to picture themselves in a space having their own unique experiences for years to come when they’re confronted with the same patio they envision you using with your family.

Nothing speaks more to personality (and eccentricity) than collections.

They have a tendency to overwhelm the senses and create a clutter, diminishing the size of the room—both of which you don’t want to put on display.

Similarly, there’s a psychological angle to consider. Suppose you have certificates that indicate you were a doctor or a lawyer.

Would a person who deems themselves beneath that occupational status feel comfortable living in the same house?

Conversely, if persons of those aforementioned occupations were selling a home for cheap, it might suggest that this home has something wrong with that you may be hiding.

Your goal is to help depersonalize your home so that house hunters can psychologically move into the home.

Of course, you should leave a few pictures on the wall just so the space doesn’t look empty, but even generic paintings and photographs serve the same function as that family reunion picture in Cancun.

Neutralizing Your Book Collection

Books can be a way of subconsciously conveying to potential homebuyer’s type of person that would thrive in the home. However, when selling your home, you should choose these books carefully.

The rule of thumb is to choose “coffee table books.” Books on architecture, travel, and cuisine are all encouraged. Who is not a fan of any of those topics?

However, some topics can be divisive. Religious books, books on esoteric/niche topics, or books that are controversial. And related to the previous topic, keep your photo albums packed away.

If you’re having trouble keeping these books hidden and packed away, an easy trick is to turn the spines inward to make them truly neutral.

Taking Down Artwork and Collections

One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. While you may have made it a focus of your home to showcase your personality through your possessions, including artwork and items you collect, your goal is to appeal to the widest array of people to purchase your home.

Just as you have to hide your books for fear of offending someone, you should take down all artwork that could even be considered remotely offensive. This includes artwork with political messages, nudity, sports teams, religious imagery, and so forth.

Other accents, like family heirlooms, should be taken down as well. While you may be proud of that mounted moose head from your grandfather, potential homebuyers may be put off by hunting wild game.

Getting Rid of Religious Items

While it is certainly fine to be proud of your religious beliefs, affiliations, and convictions, not all homebuyers will appreciate religious items on display.

Some buyers may not be religious at all, while others may carry deep convictions that may find such displays offensive. Buyers that see these particular types of displays may also make inferences about the types of neighbors that you have (which may or may not be true).

Getting Rid of Odors

Our sense of smell can immediately conjure up both good and bad memories.

While some realtors have used the lure of a fresh baked apple pie to entice homebuyers’ olfactory recall, bad smells can have a similarly off-putting effect. What’s worse is that homeowners can become acclimated to the scent of a house, leaving them “noseblind” to potential smells.

For instance, cigar and cigarette smokers typically view the smell of smoke as “familiar,” whereas a non-smoker may look down upon the same house.

The same goes for mold smells—especially in basements—where it can seem like the house may be at risk for flooding from sewers or catastrophes (i.e. hurricanes, in proximity to flood plains, etc.).

However, trying to mask these odors with a bottle of Febreze and air fresheners can work against you, as it seems to potential homebuyers (rightfully so) that you’re trying to cover up these odors.

Homeowners should actively work on eliminating the common sources of the smell, including pet odors (see below), mold, cooking odors, spilt chemicals, and so forth.

Be sure to have a realtor or someone unfamiliar to your home give you an honest analysis of where particular odors may be lingering.

While it may be somewhat embarrassing to realize that your bathroom smells less than pleasant, it can be even worse to have your home unsold on the market because you didn’t want to replace the carpeting.

Removing Your Pet’s Presence

Simply put, pets are messy. Of all the elements in a home that can cause damages, pets are near the top.

While they may be adorable, they also don’t have any qualms about relieving any of their bodily functions around your house!

If you’ve taken the necessary steps of cleaning and removing pet dander, you may also want to consider removing the pet entirely by leaving them with relatives/neighbors, or boarding them during an open house.

Animals can present liability risks while showing your home—not only for bites and personal harm, but an unknowing homebuyer might let your animal out, which can cause you to miss out on displaying what’s really important: your house for sale.

Also, remember to remove food bowls, water bowls, and pet toys/accessories from the home, as some homebuyers may equate this with lower standards of cleanliness.

Not everyone loves reptiles or spiders, so keep cold-blooded animals away during the open house.

No one wants to deal with finding a dead snake wrapped around the radiator, nor do they want to deal with a large spider when they’re in the shower. However, fish kept in clean fish tanks are acceptable—just be sure to scoop out any dead fish ahead of time.

Finally, remember that some homebuyers will preface their decision solely on their pet allergies.

You should do your best to cater to them, but know that fully eradicating your home to a person with acute sensitivities may be beyond your reach.

Keep It Clean

One challenge to keeping your house on the market is that you still have to live in it. However, for selling your house, you must remove traces of your daily life.

Little messes that are part of living (i.e. cooking, piles of mail, kids’ toys, etc.) can be perceived as distracting and dirty.

It can be difficult to keep it in pristine condition each time a buyer wants to view it, so you may have to change your cleanliness habits until an offer is made.

Don’t underestimate how a stack of laundry can negate all of the effort you’ve made to present a neutralized home.

For items of everyday use (i.e. toothbrushes, shampoo bottles), keep them to a minimum and keep boxes hand to store them when needed. Clothing, especially out-of-season clothing, should be packed away, or at the very least, stored beneath beds.

Staging

Related to neutralizing your home is staging. Essentially, staging is setting up your home to reflect its purpose. While it may be apparent to you, the person who’s lived in the home for years, a new person may not be able to envision the purpose of each room without some leading.

Don’t Use Shoddy Furniture

Just as you want to make sure your home is spotless and tidy, you want your furniture to also reflect this mindset.

Having beat-up furniture, especially furniture that is torn-up by age, usage, or pets will reflect poorly on your home’s appeal—even though the furniture won’t be coming with the house.

There are professional staging companies that can lend furniture for your open house, so be sure to ask your realtor for references.

Too Much Furniture

An abundance of furniture can make your room feel much smaller than it really is. As a rule of thumb, stage your house sparingly, using 1/3 of the furniture that you’ve normally had displayed.

This helps accentuate your home’s nature architecture and provides an illusion of spaciousness.

Empty Rooms Should Be Staged

It is in your best interest to stage rooms to give potential buyers an idea of what the room’s purpose is. For instance, if you’ve completely cleared out a room that once was your study, leave a simple display of a desk, table, and a lamp. This will subconsciously communicate a “feature” of the room.

Bare rooms simply aren’t that inviting, as they seem unfinished. Also, the natural reverberance of empty rooms can create an “echo chamber” effect that may be unappealing to most people (barring musically-oriented homebuyers).

Emphasize Focal Points and Minimize Distractions

It’s not unusual for expertly-staged homes to emphasize a home’s natural amenities. By staging a home with some of the activities that the home can feature, you can entice homebuyers.

For example, a nice view of the sunrise can have reclining patio chairs and a breakfast table, a well-stocked fireplace complete with pokers and a footstool—all emphasize the use of the home’s amenities.

On the other hand, you should avoid having distractions and clashes. Having a beach scene for the master bedroom, with sand and beach balls, for a home in Alaska can be off-putting. The same goes for a NY-themed den for a Chicago metropolitan condo.

Color

Color plays a large role in the neutralization process. Essentially, the colors you choose for the interior of your home should appeal to as many potential homebuyers as possible. Let’s take a look at few points to consider when coloring your home for sale:

  • Remove wallpaper. It can be a rigorous process to remove this and may turn off homebuyers if it’s not neutral.
  • Avoid bright colors. These tend to be an acquired taste and will remind homebuyers of the work they may have to do before finally settling into the home.
  • Avoid dark color. Darker colors create an optical illusion that makes a space appear smaller.
  • Neutral colors for staging your home are best, as they make rooms appear larger than they are. Adding accents of color, like photographs or paintings, against a neutral background can make a room seem modern and appealing (think of art galleries).
  • They also are easier to change in the future, which homebuyers will appreciate when it comes time to move in.
  • With carpeting and accessories, think of using complementary colors (i.e. blue and orange, purple and yellow, red and green), following the rule the 80% of the predominate color should be a neutral, with 20% being the appealing complementary color.
  • Avoid using too many colors when neutralizing the home. Instead, focus on 3-5 colors to avoid jarring color combinations or a feeling of “separateness.”
  • Bear in mind that lighting changes the color you’ve selected, you can use the same hue for incandescent lights and natural lighting, only to get different results. This can help save money and emphasize your home’s lighting variations.
  • Make sure that your colors flow from one another. Earth tones and neutrals work best, as we’re accustomed to these colors from nature. Having a hot pink go to a beige is off-putting!

Affordable Solutions

There’s usually no one-way solution to properly stage a house. Those who prefer the DIY method will usually have to do their research beforehand, especially for keeping the process of neutralization within budget. Here’s a few tips to keep it cheap:

  • Consult your realtor. Chances are that this person has had experience successfully closing homes, so they intuitively know what works and what doesn’t.

Remember that agents are commission-based, so they have the same goal in mind as you, to sell your home as quickly and at the highest price possible.

In addition, they can recommend you to have a consultation with a professional home stager. These people specialize in neutralization and can give you honest tips to sell your home immediately.

  • Ask your friends to do a walk-around. Request that they give you an honest opinion, whether it’s odors, color schemes, or any other feature that could be jarring to the eye. Don’t take their criticism personally—remember, the goal is to sell the home, not save face!
  • Look at other homes in your area that are for sale. Take notes on how the homes are arranged and what the owners have down to make the home seem inviting. Very often, homes in your local area may have been built in the same style, so you can steal some of their ideas.

Using Curb Appeal To Sell Your Home For More

Curb appeal, the overall attractiveness of your home when standing on the street, is incredibly important when selling your home.

Your landscaping, physical exterior, and the facade of your home are all important aspects that need to be greatly considered, and are vital if you want to sell your home for more.

Why Does Curb Appeal Affect the Sale So Much?

A potential buyer is looking for signs indicating how well the home has been kept over long periods of time, as well as signs that could show what type of person is currently living there.

If the exterior has a lawn that is manicured well and the exterior shows that maintenance is kept up to an appealing standard, it will give proof that the current homeowner takes pride in their property’s aesthetics.

If a buyer sees that your curb appeal is a complete mess, there is a very good chance that they will take that sole impression and go elsewhere.

The majority of buyers will want to look online first to see some general photos of the interior and the exterior.

Having a good curb appeal and attractive photos posted within your ad, will ensure that you hook them straight away, so they will make an appointment with you or your real estate agent to come out and see your home.

Always keep in mind that even if the interior of your home is kept up to date with repairs, has perfect plumbing and electrical work, and is decorated nicely for appeal, the exterior and curb appeal of your home will have a big impact on a buyer’s decision within the first minute or two.

Have a Welcoming Walkway

The pathway to your front door serves as an ambassador for your home, so why not make it beautiful and pleasant to look at? Your walkway serves as the path to your home, and ensuring that it’s just as beautiful as the rest of your home, both inside and outside, will definitely gain you some points with buyers.

The pathway, landing, and your front door should all blend together to provide an appealing journey from your street or driveway up to your house.

If your home’s style is Georgian, Greek Revival, or Colonial, a straight path that goes from the sidewalk straight to your door is recommended. With a straight path, you can avoid a mass of boring concrete by decorating the lane with landscaping, such as flower pots or beds.

If your walkway winds, you have a better opportunity for charming buyers by adding curious boulders, interesting trees, plant groupings in vibrant colors, or even a fountain.

If you’re looking for something that’s more unique, a wood walkway will do the trick.

Cedar, redwood, cypress, and teak are all weather-resistant wood that are absolutely perfect to create a beautiful walkway, and are easy to work with.

For a wooden walkway you will also need pea gravel or stone to work as a base, as well. Wooden walkways have minimal upkeep, as you only need to stain and seal once every year.

Whatever you decide to do with your walkway, always ensure that there is no overgrowth anywhere, especially around the concrete or wood itself.

Keep in mind that incorporating too much will make your walkway look cluttered and disorganized, so remember to keep a decent balance, keep it elegant, and don’t go overboard.

If you’re going to decorate your walkway, regardless of what it’s made of, go easy on the decorations and lawn ornaments.

Though having a couple of them is definitely a cute, fun idea that helps to make gardens and walkways pop, it’s a terrible idea to bring in an entire army of them. Instead keep a limit of about 4 or 5, depending on how big your walkway is, and how full of flowers, rocks, trees, and other aesthetics it already is.

The Importance of Your Front Door

Painting your front door in a hue that’s both pretty and matching the overall style of the exterior is also a great way to add curb appeal in order to sell your home for more.

Having a contrast between the overall facade of your home and the front door will ensure that your curb appeal is amped up.

For example, if your house is white or gray and has black shutters, painting your front door red will create a more mysterious essence to it, and bring more beauty to your home.

Adding a wreath on your door, a potted plant by the entrance, or having boxed planters lined up on your porch near the front door, if you have one, will help bring in a more positive, free flowing atmosphere, therefore making your home look like an absolute dream home to buyers.

Ensure that your front door has a fresh coat of paint, that the knob is polished, and that any pieces that need replacing, are replaced before your home is put onto the market.

Your back door also needs, attention as well. For example, if you have a sliding screen door for your backyard, check if it needs a new screen, or if it needs to be repositioned on the tracks.

There is literally nothing worse than having something fall apart or not function properly when there is a buyer in your home, especially when it comes to the doors, both front and back.

Having a Well-Manicured Lawn Makes All of the Difference

If your lawn is withering, dead grass, or an overgrown mess riddled with weeds, buyers are definitely not going to be attracted to your home.

Therefore, it’s extremely important to have a lawn that is well manicured, and shows off just as much beauty as the rest of your home.

A lawn that appears to be too high maintenance can be a turn off, so it’s best to go for a look that is neat and attractive. You don’t need to go overboard with the lawn care, but instead have the grass trimmed nicely, ensure that it’s healthy.

Having a simple garden somewhere around the perimeter of your home is also a great idea.

You can plant flowers with bright, vibrant colors, to really lighten up and bring a joyous feeling to your lawn area in order to use curb appeal to sell your home for more.

If you have a garden or want to add a special touch to the landscape, throw down some mulch that is in a darker color, such as a solid, dark wood brown. Mulch helps to neaten things up and gives the area a “clean” feeling to it. Not to mention mulch always looks good in any setting when set down the proper way. You literally cannot go wrong with it, as it adds some great curb appeal.

One thing to avoid when it comes to this area of curb appeal, is too many lawn ornaments. It’s perfectly okay to have one or two in your garden, but if you have trinkets and other ornaments all over the place, especially garden gnomes, it’s going to look tacky, cluttered, and just wrong.

Even though the buyer obviously knows that the lawn ornaments don’t come with the house and the lawn, they will still hesitate and most likely walk away, based on pure tackiness.

The Backyard Appeal is Just as Important as the Curb

By the time a buyer gets to the backyard their decision will already be well influenced, but that does not mean you should skimp on the backyard appeal. Your backyard should be just as beautiful as your front yard, considering your backyard appeal matters just as much as your curb appeal.

Once a buyer reaches the backyard, they will envision themselves relaxing in the sun, having family and friends over, and playing with their children or their pets there. Making a good impression with your backyard is incredibly important.

To ensure your lawn looks good, go over it with the lawn mower, add grass seed and fertilizer, then give it a good drink of water. If you have a pool or a hot tub, ensure that the cover is off and that the water is sparkling clean. I

t also does not hurt to add a few last minute flowers if you do not currently have any. But don’t go overboard and clutter the yard with them, as it’ll end up losing messy instead of pretty and elegant.

Patio furniture also helps to make your backyard feel much more welcoming, and will help the buyer envision themselves sitting outside with friends or family on a hot day, having cold drinks, and enjoying pleasant conversation.

Overall, you’ll want your backyard appeal to give the buyer a vision that speaks positive volumes. You want the buyer to see themselves in the backyard every summer enjoying the weather and all that life has to offer, so ensure that your backyard is in top condition, not just your curb.

Your Drive by Appeal

A lot of the time, potential buyers will quickly drive by your home, or park out front and see it for the first time. To ensure that your home has a good drive by appeal, keep your windows and front door are in top condition, and replace either, or both if you need to.

You’ll also need to touch up your garage. This means that the exterior will need to be neatened up, like painting the door, as this is an important aspect for drive by appeal.

When taking a quick drive by to check out a home, minor details of the house itself stick out a lot more than you would think. If your home is currently on the market, always ensure that the exterior of your home has fresh paint, the lawn is well manicured without looking too high maintenance, your windows are washed, and that you do not have any dead flowers in your garden. This is also a good time to trim or prune your trees, as well, depending on the current season you have chosen to sell your home in.

The Roof is Just as Important

When it comes to your roof, don’t get up on a ladder and inspect it yourself, because you are probably going to miss something. Instead bring in a professional who can tell you exactly what needs to be done on your roof. Re-shingling, for example.

They can also make the improvements for you before you put your home on the market. Be prepared to deduct the repair funds, which you should definitely be paying up front and invest for the repairs needed, from the overall price when it’s finally time to close on the home. Any buyer who is savvy will know to have the house inspected for any faults, so making all necessary repairs beforehand will ensure that the process of selling will go a lot faster.

Although you can always have your roof checked out, if there are any problems that need to be fixed you can obtain a quote from a reputable, reliable roofing company. Further subtract the cost of the repairs from the overall selling price during the process of closing the home. Doing so is generally convenient for both the buyer and the seller, considering the buyer will be at ease knowing that they can have things repaired and upgraded should they wish to do so.

Important, Inexpensive Repairs to be Made

When redoing your front door, it’s also important to improve all of your hardware. Use metal polish on the fixtures of the doors, on the knob itself, and for all of the metal components on it. Even though these may seem like minor, pointless details, a large difference will definitely be made in how the buyer looks at your home.

Even though this will also seem like a minor detail, get a welcome mat and a wreath that matches the overall interior style of the home. Though the buyer obviously may not stick with your style of choice, it will help them to get a more home-like feel of the house, to ensure that they can properly envision themselves and their family living here for decades to come.

Replacing your light fixtures is also incredibly important when it comes time to sell your home. If you have outdated, tired light fixtures, that’s exactly what the lights are going to be reflected as on the exterior of your home. Buyers want to see that everything is fresh, new, and up to date with the times, and not light fixtures that look like they have just come out of the 80’s.

You don’t have to install the latest light fixtures to make them look better.

You can look for fixtures that match the current mounting system you currently have installed on the exterior of your home, so it will only be a replacement job, instead of a completely new installation that will get rather pricey.

You can bring in more light, should your home still be too dark. This helps make a huge impact when it comes to curb appeal, and also provide better security. Solar stake lights are incredibly cheap when bought from home improvement stores, and make a world of a difference when it comes to lighting and security.

No one is going to want to break into a home that has a well-lit exterior.

What You Should Not Do

Even though landscaping really pertains to the ground cover and plants that are around the outdoor area of your home, the exterior paint of your home plays a large role within the entire look of the place.

Skimping on the paint on the exterior of your home is a great way to chase the buyers away.

Getting a new paint job well before you plan on putting your home on the market is the best thing you’ll ever do. This way the paint does not look so fresh and new, but like you’ve been keeping up with it for years.

The fall is the best time for repainting homes, as well as repairing siding and retouching chipped paint, because you landscape will have the best light to show in.

Skimping on your hardscaping is also an incredibly bad idea. Most homeowners who are selling usually assume that they should only have to pay attention to soft landscaping, being the lawn and the garden, but that is incorrect. Hardscaping refers to the driveway, rocks, sidewalks, and any paved areas around the home.

It’s important to hardscape while doing everything else, such as power washing your driveway throughout the fall and into the winter months, just to ensure that it gets a good clean all year round and that you won’t have to bring in professionals to give it a good clean for you.

Just because it’s fall, doesn’t mean you can skimp on pool maintenance.

As previously stated earlier, pool maintenance is incredibly important when it comes to showing off your pool. No buyer wants to see a grungy, dirty, pool that’s full of leaves, twigs, and dead bugs. How are they supposed to envision themselves and their family and friends enjoying a hot summer day in the pool if it’s full of disgusting debris?

Pools still need to have a chemical level that is fully balanced during the fall, with any and all debris cleaned out on a weekly basis, especially if you are having buyers coming over to look at your home.

Just because the leaves in the fall look pretty, does not mean you should not be raking them up.

Excess fallen leaves are known to hide walkways and sidewalks, and can actually be dangerous.

For example, should the leaves get wet, a pedestrian could slip and get hurt on your property, which could very well be a buyer. Therefore, rake up the leaves and avoid accidents at all costs.

Using Curb Appeal to Sell Your Home for More

When it comes time to sell your home, why skimp on the smaller details when you could use curb appeal to your advantage and get more out of the closing price? By having a beautiful home, inside and out, up for sale that a buyer would be crazy not to love, you’ll be closing the deal and raking in the cash in no time.

Always remember that when selling your home, image is literally everything, and that the exterior of the home matters just as much, as the interior.

Curb appeal will do wonders for your selling price, and will ensure that your home does not stay on the market for very long.

Master Bedroom Staging

When staging your master bedroom, there are a number of factors to take into consideration when making your house attractive to the potential homebuyer.

A well-staged master bedroom creates a feeling of sanctuary, refuge, and relaxation that is representative of your entire home’s emphasis.

After all, you spend a great deal of your life by your bedside. While this includes the master bedroom, the master bedroom’s closet is equally important.

First, let’s cover the basics for staging a master bedroom:

#1. Identify the Master Bedroom

No two houses are the same, nor are the uses of the homes.

You’ll notice that a certain room takes predominance over the others, whether it offers more in square footage, natural lighting opportunities, or contains a feature (i.e. an attached private bathroom) that was intended by the home’s architect.

Of course, some families have chosen to tailor these rooms to different purposes other than a place to sleep (like a home office), but when staging your master bedroom, you’ll want to find the most obvious room and put your attention to detail in action there.

#2. Cleanup Beforehand

This might seem like it goes without saying, but you should clean up all messes before homebuyers view the master bedroom.

While it’s a pain to be living in the same home that you’re selling, take the necessary measures to hide the traces that someone is actively living in the bedroom.

  • Get Rid of the Miscellaneous: Having scattered stuff from your purse and pockets on a nightstand looks messy and reflects on your lack of attention to detail.
  • Even uncapped perfume/cologne bottles and hair ties in a “miscellaneous” bowl appear dirty. Be sure to vacuum and change the bed coverings.
  • Laundry: As for laundry, get into the habit of keeping all laundry baskets out of the bedroom.

It may be convenient for you to have it for your daily convenience, but no one likes to see another person’s dirty laundry (literally and figuratively).

  • Smells Matter: And as much as we try to keep ourselves odor-free, we can sometimes forget that human beings (and their accumulated clothes) can develop a lingering musk.

Sure, it may be pleasing with an intimate spouse, but others may find it off-putting or rank.

Don’t forget the power of morning breath accumulated in your master bedroom while sleeping for hours!

Having fresh air throughout the master bedroom is wise, though it helps to disinfect and purify the air if possible with aerosol sprays hours before guests arrive.

Smell does matter, so a light potpourri can work. Avoid heavy scents like incense or wall plugins with “bright” or food-related scents.

#3. Decluttering

To sell your home, you have to declutter your master bedroom. As much as you’ve enjoyed the proximity of your slippers and damp robe on the door, it’s time to take out anything within the master bedroom that seems “extra”.

One method that makes this simple is to remove everything from the bedroom.

From there, focus on rearranging your furniture in the best light, so to speak. Avoid wasted space and try to attain a sort of Feng Shui about the arrangement.

Your goal is to subconsciously calm the buyer’s mind with perfectly folded bed covers, decorations symmetrically aligned, and pillows arranged like a hotel.

Once you’ve decided on the bare minimum of furniture, begin adding little touches that can fill out a room. If you have a rug, make sure that it matches the bedding.

  • For nightstands and lamps, make sure that they match and compliment your bedding and furniture.

While you may think a lava lamp or other kitschy lamp lends personality to your home, think again. Remove stacks of magazines and books piled there.

  • Exercise Machines: Despite the convenience of having an exercise machine in the master bedroom, their appearance can be jarring when coupled with the serene and relaxing bedding just nearby.

These items (i.e. treadmill, loose weights) also collect dust and loose laundry, so removing them entirely stages your master bedroom with as little headache as possible.

  • Electronic Devices: Televisions, stereos, laptops, music collections—anything that can be related to work or entertainment should not be staged in the master bedroom.
  • Save those for your living room or den staging.

Large racks of CD’s and DVD’s tend to be distracting and do little more than show your taste in audio and film—which isn’t the purpose of staging your master bedroom or selling your home.

#4. Paint It Like a Spa

As we mentioned, there are advantages to taking everything out of the master bedroom before restaging. One reason is that it gives you an opportunity to repaint the home. A fresh coat of paint is an attractive way to draw in potential homebuyers.

Of course, you’ll want to stick to neutral or earthy tones.

It’s best to think of creating a spa environment with the color your choose, with no jarring paint schemes or colors that dominate at the expense of another (ex. a bright yellow).

#5. Bedding

The focal point of your master bedroom is obviously the bed. While your functional bed may be comprised of certainly less pieces, your bed during staging to sell your home should be a work of art. Let’s look at a few things to consider for the most important part of your master bedroom staging:

  • Use coordinated and matching bed coverings. It’s helpful that companies tend to group entire bedroom sets in that correspond to colored themes, but make sure that these match your furniture like your chest of drawers or dresser, as well.
  • If you have belongings stashed beneath your bed, consider having a bed skirt to mask your storage scheme. You’ll have to put these on first, as lifting the mattress is usually a requirement.
  • Choose your pillows wisely. “Jewel” pillows are useful for matching your other decorations, but don’t put an excess number of pillows that looks more like a teenager’s bed than a spa-like environment.

Cover every pillow in matching pillow case and try to have each side of the bed symmetrically-matched. Disregard the preferences of your spouse and simply match the colors.

  • Throw blankets are a good way of accenting your master bedroom.

You can use this as a way to bridge the local customs and patterns of the regions where you’re selling your home.

For instance, a vaguely nautical theme for a house in New England can help sell your home in the same way that a Southwestern-themed pattern design can in that region of the U.S.

  • duvet cover should be in relatively good condition. Because of the materials (ex. goose feather), your duvet may be clean but look “lumpy” and non-uniform.

While it may be a large expense, consider it part of a housewarming gift for your new home once you sell the current house.

#6. Check Your Drawers

Just about every home has a chest of drawers (or dresser) in their bedroom. You’ll want to take any stray paraphernalia from your daily rituals and stick it in the drawers.

Homebuyers won’t go through the drawers for the sake of privacy, but they want to see what type of scene your chest of drawers plays in the part of waking and sleeping.

It’s purely subconscious, as most homes aren’t sold fully furnished, but you by positioning the chest of drawers, say, with a chair for getting dressed or an elegant Japanese shoji blinds.

#7. Mirror, Mirror on the Wall…

Mirrors can be your secret weapon to persuading homebuyers to give you an offer on your home.

By hanging a mirror in your bedroom, you create the illusion of a larger space and emphasize the vanity of homebuyers. They literally can see themselves in your home.

If you have sources of natural lighting that can reflect in a pleasing way, creating a spa-like ambiance with an attention to detail. Those that purchase the home in the future will look to your example as a model for their bedroom.

#8. Aim for Upscale

Your intent should be to aim for an upscale feel of your master bedroom staging.

Cheap items reflect poorly on the seller’s personality and may be cause for lower offers when it comes time to close a deal.

While it is the most seldom seen part of a home, the master bedroom should reflect an elegance that their friends and family would be impressed with.

That being said, you should look at your master bedroom objectively and replace items that are substandard.

Adding a few pieces of tasteful art on the wall should show that the buyer can create a luxury atmosphere in their master bedroom-to-be.

Avoid kitsch or projecting the eccentric parts of your home design. A bedroom dedicated to a sports team may seem tainted to homebuyers, especially if the homebuyers are moving from out-of-state.

#9. Gender-Neutrality

The color scheme and decorations for the master bedroom should be ultimately gender-neutral.

It can be off-putting to potential couples looking for a home to emphasize the dominance of a gender over another, and it subconsciously creates a negative impression for homebuyers.

Remember, it is your goal to appeal to as many homebuyers as possible, so leaning one way or the other based on gender can rub someone’s bias the wrong way.

Having teddy bears and other stuffed animals would create the same impression as sports items, so be sure to remove these decorations and designs of this nature in favor of more neutral items.

#10. Windows and Lighting

Pay particular attention to how your windows affect the visual ambiance of the master bedroom.

Sources of natural light are desirable and visually-appealing, so be sure to use the features of the bedroom (like a skylight) to emphasize this fact.

Drapes should match your carpeting/bedding, but they also should be open. No one likes to block out natural sunlight. Pay attention to when you’ll be having an open house and how the light will play a part.

Overly dark or overly bright master bedrooms are off-putting, showcasing the home’s handicaps (even if you’re not likely to nap during the afternoon).

Lastly, if the master bedroom has a great view, be sure to showcase this as a major selling point.

#11. Plants

Place a live potted plant in the room, such as a flower on the dresser or a tree in a corner.

A floral arrangement is always a nice touch, especially if the colors are coordinated well, reflective of the local flora, or match the bedding and color schemes of the master bedroom.

For the sake of air quality, having popular plants like the mother-in-law’s tongue (snake plant) or a bamboo palm can really lend a spa-like quality to the master bedroom that emphasizes the room’s purpose, which is a type of retreat from the worries of daily life and a kind of sanctuary.

Master Bedroom Closet

Once you’ve tackled the master bedroom, don’t forget to arrange your master bedroom’s closet.

Potential homebuyers will most certainly be opening every door—having a messy or unsightly closet can disrupt any of the efforts you placed in the master bedroom.

#1. Give the Illusion of Space

Your goal for the closet is to reduce the number of items to the bare minimum, emphasizing space and order. The closet doesn’t have to be a realistic representation of your entire wardrobe.

Make sure to keep the floor clear and the walls of the closet visible to give the viewer. If your closet allows for it, adding a mirror can create more “visual” space.

#2. Subconscious Considerations

Your closet’s appearance does more than display your wardrobe and possessions tucked in shoeboxes.

Potential homebuyers can tell a lot about the seller of the home by the appearance of the master bedroom’s closet, making inferences about the type of person (you) that is offering their home for sale.

Take into consideration the following:

  • Have both his and her clothing together in one closet: If your clothes are in separate bedroom closets (for whatever reason), it could show that your relationship is having problems and the homebuyer could use that as a way to infer about your financial status.

In other words, they might think you’re looking for a quick-sell before a divorce.

  • Show that the closet is big enough to stand in: You should have a happy medium that suggests that the closet can fit the possessions of a person that can afford the home.

Too much stuff, and it implies the house is too small.

  • Keep the stuff related to daily life: If you store things like luggage, holiday decorations, excess cardboard boxes for packing, and anything not related to getting dressed for the day, it implies that your home doesn’t have the necessary space to separate your daily life from stuff that should be stored elsewhere.

Worse, if you have boxes of financial documents (i.e. receipts, forms, taxes), it can suggest to a homebuyer that your finances are one house-fire/flooding away from peril.

Or, they might be able to see a past-due balance (even if it has been paid) that could shake the confidence of your financial situation.

Store those documents in another location or an unmarked, opaque box, instead.

#3. Organization Tips

  • Matching Clothing:By grouping your clothing by type (i.e. casual vs. work clothes), your closet will automatically feel more organized.

Once you’ve sorted clothes this way, you can then organize it by color.

  • Hangers: Hangers should be matching and not cheap. Get rid of the flimsy plastic ones or your collection of wire hangers from the dry cleaners.
  • Box It: If your master bedroom closet has been used for storage, organize your belongings in boxes, not loose cardboard boxes.

An alternative option is to the use the vacuum bags for seasonal items, which saves space and offers an elegant

  • Rack ‘Em Up: If you have a large collection of shoes, place a shoe rack on the floor and against the back wall.

Alternatively, if you purchase a hanging rack, you can leave for space to open up the closet even more.

#4. Get the Details Right

Repair any damage in the closet. This is best done with an empty closet, especially for repainting.

Change out the burnt-out lightbulbs, polish the door knows, and make sure that the door(s) (especially sliding doors) moves freely and easily.

#5. Smells Matter

Remember to keep your closet dry and freshly scented. This is especially true if you have pets that like to use your closet as a hiding place (or worse, their own private litterbox!) DampRid and other moisture-removing products can help your closet stay mold-free, but don’t leave these items in the closet during the showing.

“Open scents” that make one want to breathe deeply are encouraged. Think of fresh cedar chips or sandalwood – the odor should draw you inward. And it should most definitely not smell like mothballs, which not only suggests that the house has a pest problem, but also makes the home seem more intended for an aging relative.