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Things You Should Know Before Listing Your House


For Immediate Release
Contact: Kathy Passarette

Mt. Sinai, NY – August 2006 – Prepping to put your house on the market? Before calling your local realtor, consider the following:

Housing sales, which have set records for five straight years, are expected to decline by around 7 percent this year as higher mortgage rates make home ownership more expensive. The National Association of Realtors reported Tuesday that sales of previously owned homes dropped by 1.2 percent in May to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 6.67 million units. Analysts say this is a classic pattern for a cooling housing market with sales starting to lag under the impact of rising mortgage rates.

“As the seller, this is a time when you really need to work and show your home to its best advantage; make it so that people want your home over the one down the street”, says Kathy Passarette, Certified Interior Decorator and owner of Creative Home Expressions, an interior decorating, redesign and home staging firm, located on Long Island, New York. “The Northeast has been hit the hardest by the drop in existing home sales.”

To get as much buyer traffic through your house as possible, and get their attention and interest in your house, try the following tips:

 The first thing prospective buyers see when they pull up to your property is the outside of your home. This includes the landscaping. Increase your curb appeal by cleaning up any leaves or broken branches lying on your lawn. Re-seed any bald patches. Trim any overgrown bushes, especially those blocking windows or near the front door. Make sure you have a visible house number either on the house or on the mailbox. Keep empty garbage cans off the street and neatly corralled on the side of your house. If repairs need to be made to siding, windows, doors, trim, gutters, or soffits do these repairs before listing your home. If you have a pet that you let out into your yard, front or back, clean up their “business” as not only do you not want someone stepping in it, it does smell, and bad odors will turn off prospective buyers.

 When a prospective buyer comes into your front door, they should be able to do so without stepping over, around or through toys, jackets, furniture, or magazines. In other words, clean up the day-to-day clutter that tends to accumulate near the front door, as family members drop it off on their way in. There should be a clear path through every room in your house.

 Even if you clean your house everyday, if you have pets, your house will still have an odor. You need to be vigilant about cleaning cages, litter boxes, and food and sleeping areas. The more fabric in your home (i.e. window treatments, carpet, upholstered furniture) the more odors will linger. You will need to have your window treatments, carpet and upholstery cleaned. Try to keep your pet confined to one area, not only for people who may be uncomfortable with your German Shepherd, but because you don’t want to have to thoroughly clean your window treatments, carpet and upholstery every week until your house sells.

 Keep walls to neutral or natural colors. Beige, sage green, a light yellow – allow people to picture their furniture and accessories in your house. People do not want to have to look at a dark color and think about all the work they will have to do to cover it up. This is just one of the things that will start them deducting from your asking price. If there are holes, cracks, or dents, spackle and sand them so the wall is not damaged.

 All, but two or three, personal family pictures, photographs and/or portraits need to be put away. In fact, you might as well start packing and wrap them up and pack them away. If your family pictures are out on tables, mantels, hallway walls, dressers, etc., a prospective buyer is not picturing him or herself living there – they are picturing you and your family living there. The same goes for artwork. A few pictures are fine, but seven framed pieces on your “art wall” is too much.

 Wreaths, garlands, scraggly plants, overgrown plants, dead plants, really have no place in your home when you are trying to sell it. They become a distraction and should not be the focus of prospective buyers. The fake need to be put away. The scraggly, overgrown and dead need to be put out of their misery. Well-tended plants can stay and may actually help fill in an awkward corner. Purchase a fresh bouquet of flowers and place them on your dining room or kitchen table.

 Your kitchen is the most used room in your house and also has the most clutter. Countertops need to be cleaned off of all but a few everyday items (toaster, coffeemaker). Everything else needs to be put in cabinets. Keep décor on countertops to a minimum and kitchen related, such as decorative oil bottles, a few cookbooks and cookie jars. Go through papers and mail everyday so there is no time for it to pile up on counters. Throw out anything you don’t need and file important mail. Clean all the pictures, drawings, cartoons, coupons, recipes, phone numbers, etc., off your refrigerator. Aside from counters, the refrigerator collects the most clutter. Again, people cannot picture themselves living there if your personal papers are on the counter or refrigerator.

 While you can’t pack away all your children’s toys, you should be able to go through and pack up most of them. This is also a good time to go through toys they’ve outgrown and either donate them or dispose of them. Keep out a few favorites that they play with on a daily basis. Toys wind up making their bedrooms, and the public rooms where you keep their toys, look cluttered. You can also save yourself the aggravation of trying to get them to clean up their toys, if you get a last minute call from the agent asking to bring a prospective buyer over.

These are just a few tips to help you get the price you want, and sell your house in a reasonable amount of time. Take the time before listing your home to make it as attractive as possible to potential buyers.

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