Getting Your House Ready To Sell With Kids

When you meet with REALTORS®, you will  find that when they talk to you about buying real estate, they will refer to your purchase as a “home.” But if you are selling property, they will  refer to it as a “house.” There is a good reason for this. Most of us buy a home, there is emotion involved, but when selling real estate you need to detach.

You need to think of your house as a saleable asset. Property. Real estate. Your goal is to get Buyers to see it as their future home, not yours. If you do not detach and your emotions get in the way, you can  create a situation where it takes longer to sell your property.

The first step in getting your home ready to sell is to “de-personalize” it.

You want buyers to view it as their potential home. When a homebuyer sees your family photos hanging on the wall, it makes it harder for them to see the house as their home. So, put away family photos, sports trophies, collectible items, knick-knacks, and souvenirs.  Rent a storage unit and start filling it up.

Do not start storing STUFF in the garage or closets. A very important part of getting your house ready to sell is getting rid of “clutter” .

This is the hardest thing for most people to do. It is hard to define clutter and it is very hard to identify something as clutter when it is something that you love. Seventy-five drawings of crooked houses and stick people hanging on the refrigerator is a testament to Little Sally’s talent to you but it is clutter to a potential Buyer.

Pretend you are a buyer and walk through your house, if you still can’t identify what is clutter and what is not Let your REALTOR® do it.


Kitchen Clutter

The kitchen is an easy place to start. First, get everything off the counters. Everything. Even the appliances. Put them in a cabinet and take it out when you need them. When the cabinets get full, take what you don’t use and put it in that storage unit you just rented. You don’t want the cabinets to be too full or potential buyers will think there is not enough cupboard space. This also goes for drawers.

Beneath the sink is very critical, too. Make sure the area beneath the sink is as empty as possible, removing all extra cleaning supplies. You should scrub the area down as well, and determine if there are any tell-tale signs of water leaks that may cause a homebuyer to hesitate in buying your home. Closets! Don’t even get me started. Just clean them out. This could be fun, just think of what you’ll find.

Furniture Clutter

Less is more!!!!!!! Make sure that it is easy to move around in the room. Buyers are not buying furniture the are buying space.

Closet Clutter

Closets! Don’t even get me started. Just clean them out. This could be fun, just think of what you’ll find

Storage Area Clutter

Basements, garages, attics, and sheds collect more junk than clutter. Empty them out and put them in your storage unit.


Now let’s take a look at the condition of the house….

Do your sink fixtures look shiny and new? If not try polishing them if they still look old then replace them. Don’t spend a ton of money on this.

Check to make sure you have good water pressure and that there are no stains on any of the porcelain.

Check all the ceilings for stains. Did you repair an old leak but not the stain? Now is the time to get rid of the stain. Now, if you have any type of leak repair it, don’t just cover it up. Remember…..DO UNTO OTHERS.
You should do the same for walls, looking for not only stains, but also areas where dirt has accumulated and you just may not have noticed.

Painting can be your best investment when selling your home. It is not a very expensive in fact it is something you can do yourself. Choose an off-white color because white helps your rooms appear bright and spacious.

Unless your carpet is old and worn, or it is an outdated style or color, you probably should just hire a good carpet cleaner. If you do choose to replace it, do so with something inexpensive in a  neutral color.

Repair or replace broken floor tiles, but do not spend a lot of money on anything.

Windows and Doors

Do all of your windows open and close easily? If not, a spray of WD40 often helps. Replace any cracked or broken windows.

Do the same things with the doors make sure they open and close properly, without creaking. If they do, a shot of WD40 on the hinges usually makes the creak go away. Be sure the doorknobs turn easily, and that they are cleaned and polished to look sharp.

Odor Control

If you smoke in your house then you know it smells bad. Some buyers won’t even go into a house that smells of tobacco. Paint and new carpeting are the best way to get rid of old cigarette smell.

You may have gotten use to the smell of Fluffy and Spot but they may seem overwhelming to a potential Buyer. No the cat doesn’t have to go to the storage unit but make sure that litter box is cleaned DAILY.  If the weather permits keep Fido outdoors as much as possible. Also, try sprinkling carpet freshener on the carpet every once in a while, scented candles can help but don’t leave them unattended.

Costs of Repairs

Don’t spend a fortune getting your house ready to sell, save that money for your new home.
Okay, now step outside

This is what the Buyer sees first and I can’t stress enough the importance of CURB APPEAL.

So take a walk across the street and take a good look at your house. Look at nearby houses, too, and see how yours compares.


Is your landscaping at least average for the neighborhood? If it is not, buy a few bushes and plant them. Do not put in trees. Mature trees are expensive, and you will not get back your investment. Also, immature trees do not really add much to the appearance value of the home.

If you have an area for flowers, buy mature colorful flowers and plant them. They add a splash of vibrancy and color, creating a favorable first impression. Do not buy bulbs or seeds and plant them. They will not mature fast enough to create the desired effect and you certainly don’t want a patch of brown earth for homebuyers to view.

Your lawn should be evenly cut, freshly edged, well watered, and free of brown spots. If there are problems with your lawn, you should probably take care of them before working on the inside of your home. This is because certain areas may need re-soding, and you want to give it a chance to grow so that re-sod areas are not immediately apparent. Plus, you might want to give fertilizer enough time to be effective.

Always rake up loose leaves and grass cuttings.

House Exterior

Make sure the paint is fresh looking and not tired and drab. If it looks like yours is the only house on the block not painted in this decade then paint it. This is money well spent.

When choosing a color, it should not be something garish and unusual, but a color that fits well in your neighborhood. Of course, the color also depends on the style of your house, too. For some reason, different shades of yellow seem to elicit the best response in homebuyers, whether it is in the trim or the basic color of the house.

As for the roof, if you know your house has an old leaky roof, replace it. If you do not replace a leaky roof, you are going to have to disclose it and the buyer will want a new roof, anyway. Otherwise, wait and see what the home inspector says. Why spend money unnecessarily?

The Back Yard

The back yard should be tidy. If you have a pool or spa, keep it freshly maintained and constantly cleaned. Clean up after the dogs. If you have swing sets or anything elaborate for your kids, it probably makes more sense to remove them than to leave them in place. They take up room, and you want your back yard to appear as spacious as possible, especially in newer homes where the yards are not as large.

The Front Door & Entryway

The front door should be especially sharp, since it is the entryway into the house. Polish the door fixture so it gleams. If the door needs refinishing or repainting, make sure to get that done.

If you have a cute little plaque or shingle with your family name on it, remove it. Even if it is just on the mailbox. You can always put it up again once you move. Get a new plush door mat, too. This is something else you can take with you once you move.

Make sure the lock works easily and the key fits properly. When a homebuyer comes to visit your home, the agent uses the key from the lock box to unlock the door. If there is trouble working the lock while everyone else stands around twiddling their thumbs, this sends a negative first impression to prospective homebuyers.

A Problem for Consideration: What to Do About Finishing the Basement

When you are in the market for a house, there are many things to worry about. One of those things that might not be a biggest concern is the basement. Do you want a home with a basement that is already finished, or would you prefer to get a home with an unfinished basement and finish it yourself?

One consideration is that the work of finishing a basement can be surprisingly expensive. You are not very likely to recover the money you spent when it comes time to sell the house. In fact, according to a Remodeling Magazine estimate, paying to finish a basement will only get you about 75% return on the dollar on resale. The result is that you’ll lose money if you buy a house with an unfinished basement and finishing it after you move in.

So, when you are looking for a home, it’s advantageous to look for a house that has the basement work completed. It’s the other side of the proposition that says it doesn’t pay for the seller to spend that money on the work. When you are on the buying side you are in a position to get the bargain end of the arrangement because of that elementary fact.

Besides the likelihood of saving time and money, which are pretty strong considerations by themselves, there are some other benefits to buying a home with an already-done basement. Basements that are not finished can get wet and moldy. They can become singularly unpleasant places to be. If a basement is finished, however, and is actually used for family activities, there ar4e a number of advantages, some of which are not apparent at first. For example, underground spaces are relatively stable in terms of temperature. They stay relatively warm in the winter and cool in the summer, which means that you’ll spend less on heating and air conditioning.

A usable, functional basement provides more living space to the home. Basements are no longer just places to store things. A well finished basement can provide space for additional bedrooms, a game room, a laundry room, a study, a living room, or exercise rooms..

If you live in an area where tornadoes have to be considered like the Midwest, the basement are a good place to take shelter when a storm threatens. The need to go downstairs with a tornado approaching can be frightening for a young child. A pleasant, accommodating atmosphere can help ease anxieties and make the experience more tolerable for the whole family.

So when you buy your next piece of real estate, do yourself a favor and look for a home with a finished basement. Take advantage of someone else having done all the work and you will be the one to come out ahead on the deal.

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