Although a few of these tasks may seem daunting you will realize the efforts were well worth it. If you would like a list of referrals I would be happy to send one to you —just call me.
Owners can help expedite the sale of their home by following a few guidelines to make the house more attractive to potential buyers. A thorough self-inspection and a walk-through with your real estate agent can reveal imperfections that might hinder a sale. (Please note: in Washington state, as in many other states, the seller must complete a “Real Property Transfer Disclosure Statement” form about the condition of property being offered for sale. Material defect must be disclosed.)
House-hunters typically begin their inspection of a property by previewing its “curb appeal.” A surprising number of homes are eliminated from consideration before potential buyers get out of their car because they find the exterior appearance unsightly or uninviting.
Following are some basic suggestions for improving the marketability of your home.
- Examine the lawn and flower gardens, making sure the lawn is mowed and free of drainage problems. Colorful flowers and shrubs can enhance the home’s attractiveness.
- Check the sidewalks and driveway to make sure they’re free of weeds and clutter.
- Inspect the home’s exterior, looking for loose, missing or damaged siding and brickwork, a cracked and uneven foundation, and gutters, downspouts or fences that are in disrepair. Paint or repair any problem areas.
- Clear the decks! Clean decks, patios and steps, removing unnecessary furniture, toys and debris. Tidy up any pet areas.
- Inspect the front door. A fresh coat of paint or stain and a clean doormat can help create an inviting “first impression.”
- Check lighting, making sure pathways and entry have adequate illumination.
Inside the home, you should conduct an equally thorough inspection, since potential buyers are likely to open doors and cupboards, look into, look behind and operate everything to make sure the home offers the space, layout and features they need. Extensive redecorating isn’t usually recommended, but all rooms should be clean and clutter-free. Think “light,” “bright,” “open” and “airy.”
- Clear rooms (including closets and storage areas) of everything but the basics. Arrange furniture so rooms look spacious.
- Remove clutter from the basement and garage. Sweep floors, degrease spots and dust.
- Have carpets and drapes professionally cleaned.
- Patch walls and ceiling cracks, then repaint or wallpaper, using neutral shades.
- Check the basement for musty smells and signs of mildew or leaks, correcting any defects.
- Inspect bathroom and kitchen fixtures to make sure they sparkle, are leak-free and are otherwise functioning well. Remove stains from countertops, sinks, tubs and showers.
- Test major mechanical components, including the furnace, water heater and electrical system.
- Make sure windows and doors open and close easily. Replace cracked or scratched glass.
- Be aware of the amount and type of insulation.
The Multiple Listing Service (Mls)
A multiple listing service is a system for collecting and organizing information on available properties in a given area. Such information is shared by members who agree to cooperate with each other and to abide by certain operating procedures. This service enables buyers to have a vast selection of homes to consider, while sellers benefit from having their property exposed to a large network of real estate professionals and their clients.
Most brokers in the Seattle-Everett-Tacoma area are members of the Northwest Multiple Listing Service (NWMLS), formerly called Puget Sound Multiple Listing Association (PSMLA). More that 550 companies with approximately 9,100 licensed sales professionals currently belong to this independent association. NWMLS is also part of Washington Information Network (WIN), a nonprofit association of multiple listing service around the state. Participating members agree to share data and services with other affiliates.
In addition to its primary function of maintaining a comprehensive database on thousands of properties (currently available in both printed directories and in an electronic format), NWMLS produces various legal forms, publications and reports for its members. The “multiple” also maintains an electronic keybox system, which allows access to listings by authorized agents. Other benefits include an array of computerized services to assist with property searches, financial analysis, communications between offices, and access to data on property taxes, local schools and other information. Ongoing training and technical support are also available to NWMLS brokers and agents.