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Preparing your House for a Sale: 5 Unbreakable Rules

Brokers will often give you a list of things that you should do to get your house ready for a sale. Many will have suggestions printed up in glossy brochures. However, these lists are usually way too general and quite frankely, kind. Even I won't saymany of thethings belowdirectly to my clients, everyone is sooooo sensitive. I'm going to tell you all the stuff that we brokers discuss behind your backs. So here is the real list thatRealtors really wish you would listen too:

1) Pets. Remove all animals for showings. Some buyers are allergic, and despite your love for Fido (I know he is the cutest)having him jumping all over people and barking on entering freaks a lot of people out. Its not welcoming. I actually had a showing last week where the dog followed us around the entire time and had such bad gas that it was absolutely humiliating and the buyer could not wait to get out of there. I had another time where the client had their dog in the back of their car and the owners dog came running our barking agressively and jumped on my client's car and scratched the heck out of it! Last month a dog howled for the first 15 minutes of the showing and the buyers couldn't hear a thing I was saying. Needless to say, none of these buyers were interested in these houses.I have had numerous experiences trying to corall cats that aren't supposed to get out, but are sneaky! I love cats, but many do not, and some are phobic about cats and/or dogs. Oneowner of a multy million dollar house left a pet white rat out on the kitchen counter. My clients ran out of there! And by all means, don't leave a litter box anywhere it can be seenandit has to have a cover on it. Don't give a buyer any reason to feel uneasy at your house, when you are trying to get them to fall in love!

2)LIght. Remove all frilly curtains, espcially those containing any lace or any floral patterns from the 1980s. All curtains, shades, blinds, shutters, etc should be opened all the way for showings, and ALL lights should be on. Thats right, there is nothing worse than walking into a dark house. Some people don't like a lot of lights on, or claim the house is bright enough and its a sunny day. But when you are selling your house, its not about you anymore. Trust me, ALL lights need to be on, any time, any house. Of course you also need to replace all the burnt out lightbulbs too!The brokercan turn off lights as we leave, but its difficilt to run around and turn them on before your clients get to a room and it distracts from discussing the positive qualities of the house.

3) Clutter. Remove personal collections, tabletops should be mostly clear with just a few acent items. The point is to de-clutter so buyers are not focusing on your items and on the house. This is very important, and some of the chicest hosues are guilty of having WAY too much stuff out. Simplifiy, so that you don't offend any age group. Younger buyers ( by that I mean under 45, which is a big audience in most areas) like a more stream lined modern look and will be offended by over accessorized properties. I get this comment ALL the time! The last thing you want when leaving a house is someone commenting negitively on the accessories. I'm not selling the chotkees but sometimes there are so many, that is all people can focus on. You don't need to take out all your family photos, but if you have more than 15 in your house, that is probably too many.

4) Plants. Remove ALLdried flowers, bowls of potpourii, silk flowers, faux plants.Sorry, but these all went out in the 80s. They will make the best of houses look dated. Well cared for, heathly looking plants look great, but you would be surprised how many people still have their dead pointseetias out in June! Raged, spiny plants that have been barely hanging on for years (or sometimes decades) should be aremoved and allowed to pass away with dignity (or given to your mother in law).

5) Fragrence. By all means,do not light scented candles!Remove all plug in air fresheners. Do not spray air fresheners. The best smell is the smell of nothing, a clean house. If need be, open doors for a while before showings to air the house out. I can not tell you how many buyers have rushed through houses just trying desperatelyto get away from some horrible smelling candle.

So do yourself a favor and do these things now, don't make excuses to your broker about the reasons why you are the exception to this rule (your dog is the best, your candles are high end, your silk flowers are not really that dusty, etc). There are NO exceptions to these rules. Its hard enough to sell your house right now, make your broker's job as easy as possible.

Good luck.

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