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I wanted to share with you the exciting news of the official release of my new book The 2015 DC Real Estate Guide now available for purchase on Amazon.com. We are also working on an electronic version of the book that will be out and available soon. This book was written to aid both sellers and buyers in the District of Columbia but is choc-full of information that is of value for anyone looking to buy or sell in our greater metro area.
The book may be purchased on Amazon by clicking here
As always don’t hesitate to contact me with any real estate questions or if I can be of service to anyone you know who is looking to buy or sell a home.
What are some things homeowners should be doing to prepare their homes for winter (both sellers and non-selling homeowners)? This was the topic I discussed with Mike Murillo this past Sunday on the air at WTOP. You can listen to the entire interview by clicking on the WTOP logo to the left.
Selling Secret #10: Pricing it right
Find out what your home is worth, then shave 15 to 20 percent off the price. You’ll be stampeded by buyers with multiple bids — even in the worst markets — and they’ll bid up the price over what it’s worth. It takes real courage and most sellers just don’t want to risk it, but it’s the single best strategy to sell a home in today’s market.
Selling Secret #9: Half-empty closets
Storage is something every buyer is looking for and can never have enough of. Take half the stuff out of your closets then neatly organize what’s left in there. Buyers will snoop, so be sure to keep all your closets and cabinets clean and tidy.
Selling Secret #8: Light it up
Maximize the light in your home. After location, good light is the one thing that every buyer cites that they want in a home. Take down the drapes, clean the windows, change the lampshades, increase the wattage of your light bulbs and cut the bushes outside to let in sunshine. Do what you have to do make your house bright and cheery – it will make it more sellable.
Selling Secret #7: Play the agent field
A secret sale killer is hiring the wrong broker. Make sure you have a broker who is totally informed. They must constantly monitor the multiple listing service (MLS), know what properties are going on the market and know the comps in your neighborhood. Find a broker who embraces technology – a tech-savvy one has many tools to get your house sold.
Selling Secret #6: Conceal the critters
You might think a cuddly dog would warm the hearts of potential buyers, but you’d be wrong. Not everybody is a dog- or cat-lover. Buyers don’t want to walk in your home and see a bowl full of dog food, smell the kitty litter box or have tufts of pet hair stuck to their clothes. It will give buyers the impression that your house is not clean. If you’re planning an open house, send the critters to a pet hotel for the day.
Selling Secret #5: Don’t over-upgrade
Quick fixes before selling always pay off. Mammoth makeovers, not so much. You probably won’t get your money back if you do a huge improvement project before you put your house on the market. Instead, do updates that will pay off and get you top dollar. Get a new fresh coat of paint on the walls. Clean the curtains or go buy some inexpensive new ones. Replace door handles, cabinet hardware, make sure closet doors are on track, fix leaky faucets and clean the grout.
Selling Secret #4: Take the home out of your house
One of the most important things to do when selling your house is to de-personalize it. The more personal stuff in your house, the less potential buyers can imagine themselves living there. Get rid of a third of your stuff – put it in storage. This includes family photos, memorabilia collections and personal keepsakes. Consider hiring a home stager to maximize the full potential of your home. Staging simply means arranging your furniture to best showcase the floor plan and maximize the use of space.
Selling Secret #3: The kitchen comes first
You’re not actually selling your house, you’re selling your kitchen – that’s how important it is. The benefits of remodeling your kitchen are endless, and the best part of it is that you’ll probably get 85% of your money back. It may be a few thousand dollars to replace countertops where a buyer may knock $10,000 off the asking price if your kitchen looks dated. The fastest, most inexpensive kitchen updates include painting and new cabinet hardware. Use a neutral-color paint so you can present buyers with a blank canvas where they can start envisioning their own style. If you have a little money to spend, buy one fancy stainless steel appliance. Why one? Because when people see one high-end appliance they think all the rest are expensive too and it updates the kitchen.
Selling Secret #2: Always be ready to show
Your house needs to be “show-ready” at all times – you never know when your buyer is going to walk through the door. You have to be available whenever they want to come see the place and it has to be in tip-top shape. Don’t leave dishes in the sink, keep the dishwasher cleaned out, the bathrooms sparkling and make sure there are no dust bunnies in the corners. It’s a little inconvenient, but it will get your house sold.
Selling Secret #1: The first impression is the only impression
No matter how good the interior of your home looks, buyers have already judged your home before they walk through the door. You never have a second chance to make a first impression. It’s important to make people feel warm, welcome and safe as they approach the house. Spruce up your home’s exterior with inexpensive shrubs and brightly colored flowers. You can typically get a 100-percent return on the money you put into your home’s curb appeal. Entryways are also important. You use it as a utility space for your coat and keys. But, when you’re selling, make it welcoming by putting in a small bench, a vase of fresh-cut flowers or even some cookies.
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1. Be friendly. A little small talk goes a long way. Say “hello” to your neighbors and try to get to know them.
2. Be considerate. If you share walls with your neighbors, be aware of the noise that your appliances, gadgets and animals make, especially if your neighbor has a different work schedule from you. And, be sure to keep it down after 9 or 10 pm.
3. Keep your place tidy. Whether you live in an apartment, a subdivision or in a rural area, it’s important to keep your property in good shape. Sweep your doorway, pick up litter and mow your lawn.
2. When you walk through a home, take notes. Once you’ve looked at several homes, they may begin to blend together. Jot down a few sentences about what you liked and didn’t like before you leave to help you differentiate between them.
3. Look for damage or areas of improvement. Open the closets and cupboards, lift the rugs and check out each room from top to bottom to check for damage and to make sure there’s enough storage to fit your needs.
4. Drive by the home at different times of day and pay attention to the vibe and noise level of the neighborhood.
5. Imagine the potential of the home. It may be difficult to see the potential of a home with hot pink walls; however, picture the walls with a fresh coat of neutral-toned paint and your personal stamp on them.
If you’re selling or buying a home this holiday season and are worried about move-in or move-out dates due to the holidays, there are options to make the process a little easier. This was the topic I discussed with Mike Murillo at WTOP News. You can listen to the discussion in it’s entirety by clicking on the link at left.
This past Sunday I discussed this very topic on the air at WTOP. You can listen to the interview in its entirety by clicking on the WTOP logo at left.