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Thursday, February 22, 2018

It's the little things

Many years ago there was advertisement in the Wall Street Journal for some company (which I can't remember).   My mother loved the ad so much, that she wrote in and got a copy of it for framing.   I still have it on my desk and look at from time to time - particularly when I'm having a bad day!  I was able to scan it for this post:


At the time I was living in the city, so I particularly liked "an empty parking space."

When I look at this framed list, it reminds me to be grateful for all the little things, that make our lives special.

Just like with our lives, it's the details that can make a home special and stand out from the others.

We don't sell our homes the way we live in them.   I know I sometimes forget to hang up my coat or put away mail, but then I'm not selling my house.  Some things are really obvious - drawers closed; things organized nicely, beds made, dishes washed and put away. 

But there are other details that are actually more revealing and more influential than you think.  For example, when a doorbell doesn't work or there are dripping faucets or mouse droppings in the basement or hinges that look loose, etc., it makes a buyer wonder.  How well has this house really been maintained?  What are the bigger issues that I can't see?

Here are some basic areas to consider when selling your house -- take care of these things upfront -- BEFORE the buyers ever come through the door or at very least, before the buyer has an inspection on the house.   Be preemptive:
  1. Roof and gutters -- before you list the house, have the roof inspected.   Replace missing shingles.  If moss is growing on the roof, get it cleared off.   Clean the gutters and downspouts.  Make sure water isn't pooling anywhere around the house.  While you're at it, have the chimney inspected and any necessary tuckpointing done ahead of time. 
  2. Wash the windows -- this is so important.   Dirty windows imply that the house is dirty.   Clean windows show the owners take care of their house plus they allow for more light to come into the rooms!
  3. Exterior appearance -- check the sidewalks and exterior -- repair front stoops; clean the flower beds -- mulch if needed.  Trim trees and shrubs: haul away any dead limbs.   The exterior is so important -- it's the first thing that buyers see.  Make sure the grounds have no miscellaneous trash or the mailbox is overstuffed -- actually make sure the mailbox looks clean and freshly painted.   Power wash the lawn furniture -- make sure everything looks fresh and nice. 
  4. Service the HVAC.   I can't tell you how foul it looks during an inspection,  when the inspector pulls out a dirty furnace filter.   It looks like the system hasn't been serviced in years.   And another thing: if the house is vacant, make sure the air is set to the appropriate temperature.  It's not very welcoming for buyers to walk into a very cold or very hot house.   
  5. Look around for seasonal things to consider.   Have you reset the digitals clocks around the house to reflect daylight savings time?   Has the patio furniture been stored for the winter or brought out for the summer?  Has the Christmas wreath been removed from the front door?
As I've said before, before you put your home on the market, walk into it like you are seeing it for the very first time.  Pretend you are the buyers... what do you see that you don't like.   You know the issues -- address them upfront!   

It's the little things... 

Details make the difference!


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