The highs and lows of parenting and real estate.

The Art of the Sale

I attended an all-day seminar yesterday on the topic of the National Realtor Code of Ethics. It was given by the Southeast Valley Regional Association of Realtors as an orientation to its newest members (me!). The material for the class included quite a bit dry legal jargon that left me struggling to stay conscious, however we had a charismatic lecturer, who peaked my interest with some clever advice.

He recommended that when we are getting ready to list a house and putting together promotional materials for the home, we ask the owners two questions:

1. What made you buy this house instead of any of the others you looked at before buying it?

2. What will you miss most about this house?

This advice makes so much sense that it made me wonder “DUH, why didn’t I think of that!” I feel like one of my talents as a Realtor is my ability to find the beauty in just about any house. Even the roughest, farthest away shack has a desirable feature I can shake out. The thing is, though, the people who’ve lived there and loved it to begin with definitely know those things better than I do. It would be silly not to ask for their help in promoting it.

If, however, they ask for my help to make the house just a little more desirable, here are five things I recommend a seller do to his or her house before putting it on the market:

1. Make it sparkle – even though your kitchen cabinets are not the newest and your floors have seen better days, a good thorough cleaning can work wonders. It lets the buyer know that even though they may want to do some remodeling eventually, everything is still livable and functional right now. When I’m shopping for a home, I like a little reason to DIY here and there, but I definitely want the option to do it gradually.

2. Call a yard service – have a profession come out and give your yard a once over. It’s cheap and definitely adds to the first impression.

3. If you do have older cabinets in your kitchen or bath that have gold handles and knobs, hit up a hardware store and buy some inexpensive silver replacements. This can really update the look of your cabinets quickly and easily.

4. De-clutter – you know you’re going to be moving fairly soon anyway, so why not get a jump on the packing and box up some extraneous knickknacks and get them out of the way. The less you have out, the easier it is for the buyer to imagine his or her own things in the home.

5. Fresh flowers – an arrangement or two of fresh flowers in your home really makes it feel glamorous and livable at the same time. My favorites are tulips!

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