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5 Steps to Take When You’re Ready to Sell Your House

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Your home is likely your largest investment. When it’s time to sell, you’ll want your investment to impress buyers and earn top dollar. A real estate agent can suggest ways to make the process go smoothly, but all homeowners can take some basic steps even without professional help.

Here are five important steps to take when you’re ready to sell your house.

1. Declutter

Remove knickknacks, toys and other belongings that clutter the rooms in your house to make the spaces seem larger and more open. Buyers will also have fewer distractions as they walk through the home.

Don’t plan on shoving your clutter into closets, though, because potential buyers will open closet doors as they tour your house. If you have a lot of clutter and find it hard to get organized, consider temporarily renting storage space for some of your belongings.

2. Repair damaged items

If you have small issues, such as holes in walls or lights that don’t work, now’s the time to fix them. To get an idea of what you need to repair, walk through your home and imagine yourself as a buyer, or walk through with a friend you can trust. Are there defects that you’ve learned to overlook but that would catch your attention when seeing them for the first time?

You’ll also want to make sure you correct major issues that a buyer may not see immediately, such as problems with the heating and cooling system, before you put your home on the market. A potential buyer will probably hire a home inspector before closing. If the inspector finds problems, the sale could be put on hold until they’re resolved.

3. Deep clean

Go beyond your weekly cleaning routine. Every surface a potential buyer sees is a surface that needs to be clean. Messy spaces could send the message that you don’t take care of your home, and it could make potential buyers wonder what else is wrong with the property.

A deep cleaning means shampooing carpets, washing windows and cleaning tile grout throughout the house. Pay special attention to bathrooms; make sure fixtures are sparkling and wipe out any dirt rings or mold patches.

Keep up the cleaning routine while your home is on the market. If you’re pressed for time, consider hiring a weekly cleaning service.

4. Plan pleasing scents

You probably don’t want buyers who enter your home to catch lingering odors from last night’s dinner. For a nicer aroma, add fragrances around the kitchen and throughout your home.

The smell of freshly baked cookies is pleasant for many buyers. If you prepare a batch just before a showing — and offer them to the buyer and real estate agent — you could make your home stand out.

There’s no need to worry if you’re not much of a baker. A few well-placed sticks of cinnamon or citrus fruit, such as oranges, can also produce a refreshing scent. In fact, a 2013 study published in the Journal of Retailing and reported by the Wall Street Journal determined that a simple orange aroma encouraged buyers to spend more money at a home decor store, compared with other scents.

5. Stage your home

Your decor expresses your personality, but home shoppers may have different tastes. Consider changing the decor to appeal to a large number of buyers. This practice is known as “staging,” and it could mean you rearrange furniture, tone down dramatic wall paint with more neutral colors or even rent new pieces of furniture until the home is sold.

In a 2015 National Association of Realtors report on home staging, 52% of buyers agents reported that their buyers were willing to increase the amount of money offered for a staged home compared with a similar property.

You could ask your real estate agent for design suggestions and stage your home on your own. Or if you’d prefer a professional home stager, your agent may be able to suggest someone. You can also contact the Real Estate Staging Association for names. The survey showed the median amount homeowners paid for staging services was $675.

Take note of these five steps to get your home ready to sell before you put it on the market. The effort you make repairing, cleaning and staging can pay off big when a buyer makes an attractive offer on your house.

Margarette Burnette is a staff writer at NerdWallet, a personal finance website. Email: mburnette@nerdwallet.com. Twitter: @margarette.

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Lake Homes Realty Market Report

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Lake Homes Realty announces the 2017 Winter Lake Market Report covering nine states and over 300 lakes through the Southeast and Southwest United States. The states included are Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia.

Our latest market report is packed with 45 pages of comprehensive lake information of lake homes and land for sale including:

  • Biggest total lake markets, biggest home markets, and biggest land markets overall and by state;
  • Most expensive and most affordable home averages by lake;
  • Most listings, home listings, and land listings by lake;
  • Most expensive and most affordable land per acre by lake.

Enhancements to the lake market report include a two-page infographic of data for each state that includes:

  • A price range breakdown of key lakes;
  • “Hidden Gem” lakes that you may not be as familiar with;
  • A map of the current inventory of million-dollar homes;
  • The Top 10 most expensive lake zip code by state;
  • A consumer profile of the typical lake home prospect;
  • The top metropolitan markets from outside each state who use LakeHomes.com to shop for lake property.

What can buyers gain from the report?

  • Finding an affordable lake home can be a challenge. Our report helps buyers understand how lakes compare statewide and regionally by price, which lakes have the most affordable homes or land, and which lakes have the most homes in your target price range.
  • Imagine trying to find land to build your dream home. Our report can point you to markets that have the most land and tell you how the prices compare.

What can sellers gain from the report?

  • Buyers are shopping more than your lake. Our report will help sellers understand how your lake compares to other lakes around you.
  • Knowing how many homes are around the same price range as your home is key when pricing your home.
  • What are home and land prices like at your lake? Our report can help you price your home or land better leading to a quicker sale.



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Outdoor Renovations? Think Budget and Scope

February 2, 2017

  Many homeowners view their outdoor spaces as their own personal oases, places where they can relax, dine and spend time with their friends and loved ones. In light of this, it makes sense that homeowners consider investing in major features that will transform their outdoor areas into additional living spaces. Like any home-renovation project, […]

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Lake Homes Realty Crosses Mason-Dixon Line, Expands to Pennsylvania and Maryland

January 31, 2017

Lake Homes Realty is now licensed as a real estate brokerage in Maryland and Pennsylvania. This expands the company’s brokerage operations to eleven states. The expansion into Pennsylvania marks the first company operations north of the Mason-Dixon Line. The firm’s prior state brokerage operations have been located in the southeast and southwest regions of the U.S. […]

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Repairing a Hole in Drywall

January 6, 2017

Holes in drywall can be repaired fairly easy with a minimal amount of equipment and work. Most homeowners can accomplish this with just a few tools. Drywall is also referred to as plasterboard, wallboard, or sheetrock. In order to repair and conceal the drywall holes of different sizes, just follow the steps in this article. […]

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How Energy Efficient Upgrades can Increase Your Home’s Value

December 28, 2016

Energy efficiency upgrades can not only shrink your utility bill; they can also increase the value of your home. Homebuyers are becoming increasingly aware of the benefits of energy-efficient homes. In fact, they’re often willing to pay more for homes with “green” upgrades, says Sandra Adomatis, a specialist in green valuation with Adomatis Appraisal Service […]

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Tips for Celebrating Christmas on the Lake

December 16, 2016

Families everywhere are planning for the holiday season. If you own a lake home, it can be a beautiful Christmas getaway for you, your friends and your loved ones. Whether your family celebrates Christmas, Hanukkah, or any other holiday, here are some tips to help you get ready for a fun, relaxing holiday at your lake home. […]

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Lake Homes Realty now licensed in Maryland for Real Estate Brokerage Services

November 22, 2016

Lake Homes Realty is excited to announce the company is now licensed by the State of Maryland as full service real estate brokerage. Maryland is the company’s tenth state for brokerage operations, and the third new state to open operations this year. As with prior states, Lake Homes Realty will primarily focus on lake real estate. This […]

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Luke Anthony joins Lake Homes Realty Team

November 2, 2016

Birmingham communications professional Luke Anthony has joined Lake Homes Realty as Senior Communications Specialist. Luke has worked in the Birmingham communications industry since 2003, after getting a bachelor’s in Advertising from the University of Alabama. He has worked in advertising and internal communications, with a strong emphasis on copywriting and digital media. He most recently […]

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Lakefront Property: What Are Your Options When Buying at the Lake?

October 5, 2016

When considering the purchase of lake property, many potential buyers assume lakefront is their best option. But for many buyers, there are other options to consider, specifically lake-view and lake-access properties. Lakefront property, of course, includes shoreline as part of the property, while lake-view property is within sight of the water but doesn’t include shoreline. […]

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