Home Improvement & Remodeling Tips
We’re back with our conversation on getting the property ready to sell. First of all, everything has to sparkle. The people who are going to buy the property know that it is not a new house. They know that other people have lived there before. They just don’t want to see any trace of them, and because this is going to be their new home and they want to take possession. That’s possession. Like a king taking a new country, or a kid with a new toy. They don’t like to share.
Here are some of the things to consider before you put the sign out front, some of the things that will make you truly prone to success. The house has to look pristine. The property has to look like you could eat off the floor. Linoleum floors have to shine, windows have to sparkle. The kitchen and the bathroom are especially personal to a homeowner, especially to the lady of the house.
The Kitchen – is an important place.
Think like this; the kitchen is where the mother prepares the food for the family. If you miss the part about nurturing and the need for most moms to do this, you will not be as successful as the next guy in selling the property.
I submit that it is an instinctive behavior that has no equal in power in the family structure. When you are rehabbing the house, make sure that there is plenty of light coming from the ceiling, (read 4 foot fluorescent overhead lights), and if the property warrants it, some lighting under the cabinets that illuminate the work surface.
Guys look at the garage and begin to dream of what work they will do there when they move in, the ladies look at the kitchen as a place to provide love and caring for their family and their close friends.
The carpets – should be and look freshly cleaned.
Fresh vacuum tracks in the carpet. Make it look as much like they are the first to walk these perfect rooms. Let the sunlight twinkle through the spotless windows to open them up to dreams of hearth and home, their home, a place they can safely and comfortably raise their young.
The bathrooms – should look clean and shiny.
Make the faucets new or look so much like they are new that you have to take a microscope to see they aren’t fresh form the faucet factory. The bathtub has to be spotless, and the floor has to look like it has just been installed and cleaned within an inch of its life. Oh, yes, the toilet. If they are old when you get the property, they will probably be nasty from “deferred maintenance”.
If they are old enough, or if they are in an area where the water is hard (has a high mineral content), then the little holes under the ring of the commode where the water runs when you flush it will fill up with minerals too. That means that instead of a curtain of water flowing from the ring into the bowl when you flush it, the water will look like little ropes and spaces where there is not water flowing. If you toilet behaves like this when you flush it, put in a new toilet. They start at $60 in Home Depot or Lowes.
Another thing about bathroom remodeling is, the commodes. I always put a new seat on them if I do not replace them. I also leave the plastic wrapper covering the seat so that the buyer will see that when they go to use the facilities they will sit where no man has sat before. Women either. It is a consideration that never goes unnoticed.
Dust – shouldn’t be anywhere.
No dust anywhere. One of the most important steps in the rehab is the make ready clean up. Any horizontal surface will collect dust. Clean the house when you put it on the market, and freshen it up every week or ten days until you sell it. Keep the product looking fresh and you will keep the buyers aware that there is quality here. People don’t mind paying for quality if they can see that it is really there. Keep some cleaning supplies under the kitchen sink or in your car so that you can adjust the state of the product when you go buy. A roll of paper towels and a bottle of Windex can really put a fresh face on things like Formica, stainless steel sinks and on bathtubs.
Touch up – paint and tile.
Make sure that when the rehab construction is finished all the remnants of the fix-up are gone. Leave them some touch-up paint, a little piece of the carpet and a couple of the tiles if you put in ceramic floors, but the house has to be empty. Remove all the stickers that come on new windows and sinks, and any marks that may have been on the floors.
The attic – get the trash out.
Of course it goes without saying that the attic must be cleaned of all the remains of the last occupants. Get all the treasures they left off the property and into the dumpster where they belong.
The garage – painting the floor.
Garages must be swept and cleaned. I encourage you to strip out all the shelves and fill all the holes and paint it just like the interior of the house. I like to paint the garage floor a light dove gray when I do rehabs. Makes them look like a million dollars.
Garages for guys, kitchens for the ladies, bathrooms for everyone. Are you starting to catch on? I thought so. Read on, there’s more good stuff to come. Remodeling your garage.
The cupboards – cleaned out.
Cupboards, under sinks, any storage spaces even if they are detached outbuildings, they have to be clean, clean, clean.
That little shed in the back yard has to be just about falling down on itself before I tear it out. I like to tell the buyers that everyone needs a place to put the lawnmower and the garden tools, since they have bigger projects that will require garage space.
The yard – landscaping.
Come with me outside for a moment, please. Look at the yard. Does it look like is has been lovingly mowed and trimmed? Are the bushes cut back so that the house can stand out? Are the lower branches trimmed off of the trees do that the canopy is lifted enough to let the house show forth from the street? Like grandma said; “You only get one chance to make a good first impression”. That first impression flavors the whole experience of looking at the house for the buyers. Make it a good first impression. Make it look like the quality is there for them, and the work will speak for itself as they look the property over. Clean houses always sell faster, that’s a proven fact!
Clean the flowerbeds, add some colorful flowering plants. Remember that this is Houston, and that the plants will need water in the summer. Cut yourself a little deal with the neighbor kid to water them during the week for you. A couple of dollars will usually do the trick. Consider some chip mulch. It makes the flowerbeds look better and it makes it easier to pull the weeds when you come by. Remember, this is a condition that has to be maintained. The house will not keep the shine for long when left to its own devices. The house doesn’t have devices, it has needs. Take care of those needs and you will keep the house in a good and marketable condition that attracts buyers.
The driveway – cleaning out the stains.
Make sure the mailbox stays empty and clean those stains off of the driveway as best as you can. O.K. here’s how. Make a loose paste of Tide detergent and water. Smear the paste over the oil stains on the concrete. Next you either hit it with the pressure washer when you do the outside of the house, or you turn the hose on it and scrub it with a brush or a broom. Try to stay away from volatile cleaners like gasoline or mineral spirits, they just want to mobilize the stain and send it deeper into the concrete.
So those are some ideas that have worked for me and for a lot of other people over the years. Make it easy for your buyer to be your buyer, not your visitor. Show them the quality and the care that you have put into the house, and it will go a long way towards making the sale.
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