you can change
you cannot change
general Real Estate Market
appearance: Remove any junk
or clutter from the yard. This includes
tree limbs and leaves, but especially
goes for junk cars or parts, lawn tractors,
appearance: If the exterior
of the house is dirty or moldy, power-wash
it. If it is in need of paint, get competitive
bids if you can't do it yourself.
If possible, reseed any bare
areas of the lawn.
Trim all shrubbery and plantings. Trim
trees if necessary, especially dead
If the driveway is stone and looking
lean, add a coat of gravel. If it is
asphalt, consider resealing.
and porches: Powerwash and
seal, stain or paint.
and downspouts: Check gutters and downspouts
to make sure they are clear and functioning
Make sure that all exterior lights are
If the season is right, plant colorful
flowers where appropriate.
Add mulch to planting beds and around
trees. An inexpensive but very effective
way of freshening the look of the yard.
Make sure the exterior (and the interior)
of windows is clean and operational.
you get the buyer into the house, it is
important to make their visit as pleasant
as possible--and that means having the
whole house ready. You want them to be
as comfortable as possible, and to linger
in the home. A "turn off" will
send them scurrying quickly to the next
house on their list!
Must be especially inviting
for your guests (your potential buyers).
Make certain it is well lit, clean and
has nothing laying around either inside
or outside. Paint the front door if
it even remotely needs it.
If you normally use a back or side entrance
to your house, pay particular attention
to the front entry. You rarely see it
but this is where the buyers will enter!
Living Room or Great Room
Room or Great Room: If possible,
keep furniture at a bare minimum so
that traffic flow is easier and the
room does not appear smaller than it
If bookshelves, curio cabinets, and
the like are overflowing with books
and knick-knacks, remove some of them.
Family Room or Den.
Room or Den:
If this is the room you live in the
most, make it look inviting but not
overly lived in.
Keep furniture at a minimum but make
the room look like a comfortable place
to spend time.
Clean the exterior of all appliances.
Clean the oven interior.
Clean or replace the stove hood filter.
This is often overlooked, usually dirty
and greasy, and looked at by a lot of
Clean cabinet faces. Make them shine!
all clutter and unnecessary items from
countertops and clean all countertops
and backsplashes thoroughly.
Clean vinyl or ceramic floor.
If you have ceramic tile elsewhere in
the kitchen, pay particular attention
to the grout--make sure that it's clean.
If it is discolored, there are "grout
whitening" products that are available.
Remove all clutter. If you
don't need it, store it or pitch it!
Arrange or remove furniture to maintain
good traffic flow through rooms. Remember,
there may be three or four people in
each group that walk through your house.
Make sure all bulbs are working
and have the highest wattage available
and safe for each fixture. Brighter
Clean all ceramic tile. Check the grout
for cleanliness and deterioration.
If faucets drip, fix them.
Thoroughly clean sinks and tubs. If
rust spots are on the porcelain, attempt
to remove them.
Remove any evidence of mildew from the
shower and bathtub. Products are available
that spray on and quickly kill the mildew.
If the basement is damp or musty, consider
Give prospective buyers room to move
around. Clutter...well, you know the
Garages: Remove all junk: broken tools,
old car parts, toys from the 1960's,
If floor has oil marks, clean it (cleaning
solutions are available at most home
improvement stores and work with a normal
Replace the furnace filter.
Home staging, also called Home Finishing, is the furnishing and/or "dressing up" of a home for sale in the real estate market. It is the art of re-working and re-arranging your home furnishings, breathing new life into your decor to promote a neutral and welcome air. Stage House Design, in Old Tappan, New Jersey or Makeover and Move in Wyckoff, New Jersey can help!
When it comes to preparing a house,
painting gives you the best return for
money spent. Which rooms should you
paint? Any that have dirty or marked
walls or any rooms that are currently
painted in dark colors. Keep it neutral--offwhite
or antique white is the best.
At the very least, all carpeting needs
to be steam cleaned. Any worn, stained
or foul smelling carpet should be replaced.
You may be tempted to give a "carpet
allowance" and that may work. Just
remember, most buyers do not have vision.
If you are not having a whole house
inspection done, check all faucets,
toilets, and electrical items for correct
Make sure that your house is safe. Not
only can a wobbly railing stop a sale,
it could also cause an injury to a potential
buyer who is not familiar with your
house (and is spending time looking
instead of being careful).
If an item is not necessary for your
day-to-day life, box it up and store
it or throw it out!
Have a professional fireplace or woodstove
cleaning and inspection. The buyer will
most likely request it anyhow. Getting
it done in advance impresses the buyer
and makes the home appear cleaner and
Make sure all closets are neat, clean,
and organized. See above item on clutter.
and Windows: Check all for
smooth operation. Replace any cracked
Even though you may consider your house
clean and tidy, a thorough cleaning--including
dusting, washing, and waxing everything--will
always make a house more appealing.
Your house has been checked,
inspected, and cleaned from top to bottom.
You have priced it at what you feel is
a fair price. The marketing and advertising
program is in full swing. Now it is time
to put all of the preparation into action:
showings! All of the work that you have
done up to this point will only have an
effect when a buyer walks into your house
for the first time.
Your House To Maximum Advantage
Give all family members assigned jobs
in advance that will go into action
when a short-notice showing is scheduled.
Everyone must know their duties and
carry them out, so that you don't end
up banging into one another trying to
get everything done quickly.
every window covering. All
drapes, curtains and blinds should be
positioned to let in maximum light.
Buyers like a house to be "light
and bright," so accommodate them!
Turn on as many lights as possible.
sure the house smells good.
Baking cookies, often recommended, may
be overdoing it, but pet odors, smoke,
or greasy cooking odors definitely will
not work! Air out the house just before
the scheduled showing, but close the
windows (unless it is a perfect day)
before they arrive.
very important words: no clutter,
no clutter, no clutter!
sure that everything is spotless.
Pay particular attention to the bathrooms
and the kitchen. In the bathrooms, towels
should be fresh and clean, sinks and
baths scrubbed, and the floor freshly
cleaned. In the kitchen, make sure all
dishes are put away and countertops
and sinks cleaned.
the thermostat to make sure
that the house is at a comfortable temperature.
pets from the house, or at
least, keep them outside. Pets under
foot will quickly put a damper on an
otherwise positive showing.
sure Fact Sheets are available
and easily accessible. (The dining room
table is an ideal place for them).
the house; let your Agent to
do the presentation! If this is not
possible, make yourself as inconspicuous
as possible. If it is comfortable outside,
go there until the buyers leave.
the Price on Your
Along with location and
condition, the pricing of a house is a
major component of the reasons why a house
will--or will not--sell quickly. Although
the pricing should not be dealt with lightly,
some sellers have a tendency to put too
much emphasis on the price and not enough
on the condition, ending up with a house
that is overpriced for its current condition
and the overall market. Even if you find
an unaware buyer that appears willing
to pay the high price, when the buyer
applies for a mortgage, the chances are
good that the lender's appraisal will
force the price back down to market value.
It's important to get
it right the first time
Care and time should
be taken when establishing the original
listing price for several reasons:
If the house is overpriced,
it won't sell. If it doesn't sell and
sits on the market the listing quickly
you overprice the house with
the intention of reducing the price
later just to "see what the market
will bear", when the price of the
house is lowered, it signals to buyers
that it was (and still may be) overpriced.
the house is carefully,
it most likely will sell quickly--to
the detriment of your net proceeds.
Some factors that affect
the price of a home
You can't get away from this one. If
your house is located in a desirable
area that is in demand, you will be
able to get a higher price than you
can for the same house in a less desirable
A house that has been better maintained
and shows better will always sell for
more than one that has had deferred
(neglected) maintenance and needs work.
amenities: If a house has amenities
that are currently popular in the marketplace,
it will bring a higher price.
Methods of setting the
(Comparable Market Analysis): A comparison
of similar properties in the same general
area that compares actual sold prices.
Call Gary for a free CMA on
your property; (973) 214-5507