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  Learn the art of Logical Thinking BEFORE you try to sell your home.
The 3 D's of Selling - De-Personalize, De-Odorize & De-Clutter
Create that Positive and Powerful First Impression
Create that Positive and Powerful First Impression - Part 2
We Have Gotten A Buyer To Come Take A Closer Look - Now What?
Create that Positive and Powerful First Impression
Some Cause and Effects of different pricing theories
What you should know about Real Estate Commissions.
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Getting Ready To Buy YOur 1st Home?  Here Is How To Get Started  
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The 3Ds of Selling A Property
De-Personalize, De-Clutter and De-Odorize

De-personalize
The reason you want to depersonalize your home is because you want to give the buyers the opportunity to visualize their personal effects in your home, which helps them to visualize it as their home. When a potential home buyer sees your personal or family items in the house, it puts your brand on the home. Put away your personal stuff such as sports trophies, collectible items, family photos, nick-knacks, and souvenirs and get them out of sight. I recommend to not just put “the stuff” in a closet, attic, basement or garage; preferably rent a storage area to cover the time until your move. Part of preparing a house for sale is to remove "clutter," and that is the 2nd of the 3Ds. Next: De-Clutter.

De-clutter
"Homes are to be lived in and should meet the comforts of their owners". A very true statement, unless you are trying the sell the house. When selling your home, you want to meet the comforts of the potential buyer(s). Things that you see as everyday household items tend to gather, congregate and take over an area. While you see this as the functional placement of your stuff, to people just arriving on the scene for the first time (e.g. potential home buyers), it is clutter.

You may not realize it but it does affect the way buyers see your (potentially their) home. Clutter occurs naturally, not only in expected areas such as garages, attics, and basements but also on shelves, counter tops, table tops and floors. Let’s look at some common areas. Remember, it is the buyer’s perspective that you are concerned with. Take a step back and pretend you are a buyer. Let a friend help point out areas of clutter, (as long as you can accept their views without getting defensive - if not sure, don't risk a friendship.) This is also one of the many ways a REALTOR®, your agent, with an objective view, can help you.

In The Kitchen
The kitchen is the easiest place to start because it is sure to have items that will set examples and set the tone for the rest of the house. Start by removing everything from the counter(s); yes, everything. Put the toaster and blender in a cabinet; and find a place for everything, out of sight, in cabinets and drawers. Take these items out only as you need them then return them when finished. THIS IS PRESENTATION MODE.

 

Did I hear someone say, "there’s no space in my cabinets and drawers for that stuff"? This is where the proverbial rubber meets the road. Go to your moving company and get plenty of moving boxes. Item by item, classify each item as either something you WILL DEFINITELY NEED before moving day or everything else. Everything else, pots and pans that are rarely used, extra place settings of dishes, the fine china, gets boxed up and stored. This is PACKING MODE. Box them all up, ready for the move, and put it all in storage.

The reason you put it in storage is simple. You know that every home buyers will open all your kitchen cabinets and drawers to be sure there is enough room for their stuff. If your kitchen cabinets, drawers and pantries are packed tight, it sends a negative message and does not support the notion of plentiful storage. You want to have as much open space as possible. BOX IT UP AND STORE IT. I have seen it many times; the perception of ample storage can be worth many times the cost of storage.

In the pantry, do not try to impress buyers with how much the pantry will hold, rather impress them with the space available in the pantry: get the idea. Use up most of the food you have stored, open up the space. You don’t want to have to move all that food anyway – especially the heavy stuff.

Closet Clutter
When we talked about the kitchen, I said it would set examples and set the tone for the rest of the house. Take what you learned there and apply it here, in the closet. Closets are great clutter accumulators and the idea is not to show-off how much the closets will hold but how much closet space is available.

Let’s start with the easy decisions: – anything out-of-style, no longer fits or that you have not worn in more than a year, box it up. DON’T STORE IT – CALL A CHARITY. Of the clothes you have remaining, there may still be some easy decisions – if it is spring, box up all the winter clothes; you shouldn’t need them until after your move. With what if left, pick out the barest number of items that will be our wardrobe until you move. Pack up everything else (wardrobe boxes are available) and put it in storage. Now you can show off that storage space. There is something magical about looking in a closet and seeing the bare floor and room for more hangers on the rack – that’s your goal.

Are you detecting a pattern here? Room after room; stuff after stuff, the process is the same, all though house proper, the basement, the attic, the garage and any sheds. Pack it up now, store it, pick it up on moving day. (Don’t forget to mark all your containers, listing the contents of each.)

Speak with your children a gain their support (bribes are permissible). Allow them to select a limited number of their favorite toys that can stay at home. Everything else, pack it up.

You may find yourself in a quandary with some items. Quandary items are items that are in good shape but cannot be used (wrong size, out of style or won’t fit in the new home) and that you feel may be of some value. Sooner or later the thought emerges – moving sale, garage sale, yard sale. I have to label these thoughts as my own personal opinion but also based, at least in part, on the comments of sellers I have talked to. The sellers I have spoken with were disappointed with what they sold (volume & price) compared with the time it took to prepare and promote the moving sale. My opinion if you have specific items of value, advertise and sell them outright. Another option is to talk to your tax advisor about the benefits and requirements of donating the majority of items to a charity. The tax benefit may very well exceed what you would receive with a yard sale.

Furniture Clutter
Another type of clutter is furniture clutter or the presence of too much furniture in one or more room(s). Furniture clutter can often be diminished by arranging or redistributing the furniture around the house but it also may require the strategy talked about earlier – move it out to storage. It is important to give the perception of space in all the rooms of the house. If you are looking for some ideas or want to see some professional work, visit some model homes to see how the pros place furniture. This can give you some ideas on what to keep, what should be rearranged and what should go.
Next: De-Odorize.

De-odorize
I have seen some very enthusiastic buyers, (buyers who were sold by the property's photos and virtual tour), get totally turned off from odors (cigarette smoke) as soon as they walked in the door. The house stayed on the market longer than expected and, although the property was competitively priced, finally sold $15,000 below the market: and that was during the hot market of 2005. For many, odors are just an annoyance but for others it can cause allergic reactions.

Earlier I suggested that you can let a friend help point out areas of clutter. I don’t recommend that approach here. First, recognizing clutter is an awakening; i.e. once it is pointed out, an objective eye will say “oh, yes, I can see that now.” It doesn’t work that way with odors. If an odor becomes part of your environment, you probably cannot recognize it. Your friends may or may not be able to recognize it. This is another way your agent can help you. For example, my olfactory senses came back sharply after I quit smoking in 1994. I can smell a lit cigarette 50 feet away and its lingering affects in a house for weeks. If you smoke and want to sell your home, get the house ventilated and do not smoke inside again – at least until after you move to your new home.

Nearly all pets create some degree of odor but after a short time pet owners often become accustomed to it and can no longer recognize it. These odors are immediately noticeable to those with finer sense of smell. Don’t let odors cost you the way it cost my sellers who would not listen. For those with cats, be sure to empty kitty litter boxes daily. You might also try sprinkling carpet freshener on the carpet on a periodic basis. For those with dogs, weather permitting, keep the dog outdoors as much as possible until you move. Your dog’s health and safety are always primary. Next: Presenting Your Property.

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