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The Simms Team at RE/MAX Metro - Specializing in Waterfront and Luxury Residential Real Estate
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Maintenance:

First impressions count, and you have only one chance to make a first impression on a prospective buyer and/or on a prospective Realtor.

Curb appeal is often what makes the decision on whether a prospect even wants to look inside your home. Have the grass mowed, trimmed and edged; have any planting areas weeded and neat - add new mulch if it's needed. Check the shrubs to see if they need trimming - be sure they don't hang over the walkways or make people duck or detour. Pick up any clutter, or things left from prior jobs. Move the trash can so it's around on the side of the house. Work on removing stains - oil stains, rust stains, mildew. Remove any bees' nests, spider webs, cobwebs. Be sure the front entrance is clean, sparkling and inviting. Polish the door hardware. Make sure the door operates smoothly - that it opens and closes easily. Add some color - potted flowers, live or silk, for example. You want your home to call out to people, "Welcome Home!"

Clean your closets, and put away the things you haven't used or worn in months - give the impression of extra space. Straighten out your kitchen cabinets and do the same thing. Let the prospect see some space. Look at your counters - remove the clutter, and just leave a few things out. You're going to have to pack everything when you sell, so start doing some now. Rent a small air conditioned storage unit if you need to. Do you have any large collections? Think of packing them now as well. After all, you want the prospect to remember the house, not your collection.

Take an afternoon off and look at some model homes - see how the decorators have staged the homes, what they have on counters and tabletops, how they use plants. Which ones have the most appeal - can you tell why? Then take a Sunday afternoon and visit Open Houses. Notice what they're doing right or wrong to show off their home. By visiting the homes in your own neighborhood you can also check out the competition, and see what other homes prospective buyers will be looking at that are similar to your home. (It's also a good way to check out prospective Realtors to list your home: look at their marketing materials, notice how they relate to prospects, check their knowledge of your neighborhood - including other homes on the market and homes that have sold.)

Scrub your bathrooms - regrout any tile that needs it, and clean any tracks and fixtures - you want everything to sparkle. Buyers don't want to be reminded that there is work to do with a home. Fix any pipes that leak, or faucets that drip.

Clean the carpet, or consider replacing it. Fresh paint and new carpet do a great job of selling a home - that's why the relocation companies do that right away when they acquire a home.

How does your house smell? If you have pets, or if you smoke, ask a friend who doesn't, to give your home the smell test. Your nose may have become conditioned over the years. Potpourri can only do so much. Smoke can also stain the walls and ceiling, so if you are painting walls that have been subject to this, be sure to treat them with something like Kilz before you apply the paint, or it may bleed through before you even sell the house.

Walk around the house as a critical inspector would. Are there torn screens? Sections of gutter that have separated and are hanging down? Wood trim that has begun to rot? Fix them now.

Documents:

  • Do you have floor plans, blue prints, promotional literature from the builder or developer?
  • Survey of the property?
  • Appraisal of the property?
  • Copies of homeowners insurance, flood insurance and wind insurance (if applicable).
  • Copy of your drivers license.
  • 2 sets of house keys.
  • Code to security system - primary and backup.
  • Mortgage information: loan number, name and address of lender(s), approximate loan balance.
  • The Property Card from the city insuring there are no open permits

Have you made any improvements to the property? List approximate date and cost. Have you replaced the roof? Air conditioner? Appliances? List approximate date and cost.

When listing with the Simms Team, we often send this handy checklist for you to prepare prior to completing all the listing paperwork. Simms Checklist

The Simms Team at ALVA International, Inc. - St. Petersburg and Tampa Bay area Residential Real Estate 727-866-0048
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