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Barry Coopersmith

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Removing Clutter, Though You May Not Think of it as Clutter

This is the hardest thing for most people to do because they are emotionally attached to everything in the house. After years of living in the same home, clutter collects in such a way that may not be evident to the homeowner. However, it does affect the way buyers see the home, even if you do not realize it. Clutter collects on shelves, counter tops, drawers, closets, garages, attics, and basements.

Take a step back and pretend you are a buyer. Let a friend help point out areas of clutter, as long as you can accept their views without getting defensive. Let your agent help you, too.

Kitchen Clutter

The kitchen is a good place to start removing clutter, because it is an easy place to start. First, get everything off the counters. Everything. Even the toaster. Put the toaster in a cabinet and take it out when you use it. Find a place where you can store everything in cabinets and drawers. Of course, you may notice that you do not have cabinet space to put everything. Clean them out. The dishes, pots and pans that rarely get used? Put them in a box and put that box in storage, too.

You see, homebuyers will open all your cabinets and drawers, especially in the kitchen. They want to be sure there is enough room for their "stuff." If your kitchen cabinets, pantries, and drawers look jammed full, it sends a negative message to the buyer and does not promote an image of plentiful storage space. The best way to do that is to have as much "empty space" as possible.

For that reason, if you have a "junk drawer," get rid of the junk. If you have a rarely used crock pot, put it in storage. Do this with every cabinet and drawer. Create open space.

If you have a large amount of foodstuffs crammed into the shelves or pantry, begin using them ? especially canned goods. Canned goods are heavy and you don?t want to be lugging them to a new house, anyway ? or paying a mover to do so. Let what you have on the shelves determine your menus and use up as much as you can.

Beneath the sink is very critical, too. Make sure the area beneath the sink is as empty as possible, removing all extra cleaning supplies. You should scrub the area down as well, and determine if there are any tell-tale signs of water leaks that may cause a homebuyer to hesitate in buying your home.

Closet Clutter

Closets are great for accumulating clutter, though you may not think of it as clutter. We are talking about extra clothes and shoes ? things you rarely wear but cannot bear to be without. Do without these items for a couple of months by putting them in a box, because these items can make your closets look "crammed full." Sometimes there are shoeboxes full of "stuff" or other accumulated personal items, too.

Furniture Clutter

Many people have too much furniture in certain rooms ? not too much for your own personal living needs ? but too much to give the illusion of space that a homebuyer would like to see. You may want to tour some builders? models to see how they place furniture in the model homes. Observe how they place furniture in the models so you get some ideas on what to remove and what to leave in your house.

Storage Area Clutter

Basements, garages, attics, and sheds accumulate not only clutter, but junk. These areas should be as empty as possible so that buyers can imagine what they would do with the space. Remove anything that is not essential and take it to the storage area.

Or have a garage sale.


Staging for your Sale
When you decide to sell your home, staging the property can have a huge impact on how quickly your home sells, as well as the amount of the offer. I have found from experience that the activity level during the first two weeks a home is on the market tends to predict how long it will take to sell. Potential buyers eagerly jump on new homes on the market, especially when they are in ?show shape.?

Here are some ?staging? tips you might find helpful:

* Keep your home in ?show shape.? Make sure that beds are made, dishes are done, everything is picked up, and the kitchen and bathrooms sparkle. Set the dining room table for a formal dinner with family or friends.
* Decorate with fresh flowers. Many home sellers use potted flowering plants that last much longer than cut flowers. Place them inside and out. They really add cheer!
* Turn on lights; replace all burned-out bulbs. Open blinds and draperies. Let the natural light in.
* Confine pets and keep them out of sight when possible. They can be distracting, and some people have allergies.
* Create a relaxed atmosphere with soft background music.

If you have any questions or want any suggestions on preparing your home for sale, please don't hesitate to call or email me.

First Impressions
As you prepare your home for the market, one thing to keep in mind is that you have only one chance to make a first impression. It is absolutely vital that prospective buyers form a good impression of your home -- beginning the moment they drive up to your house.

You can help create that good first impression by presenting potential buyers with a well-cared-for yard including a mowed lawn and groomed landscaping. Your front door and porch should be clean and neat, preferably freshly painted.

These first important encounters create a positive impression that carries through to the rest of your home. An inviting atmosphere implies that your house has been well maintained and taken care of. Homes that convey pride of ownership frequently receive the best offers.

If there is too much clutter or your home appears disheveled or uncared for, prospective buyers may quickly conclude it's been neglected and is in need of repairs. Such a negative impression can result in a less-than-generous offer--or possibly no offer at all.

Try viewing your home through a potential buyer's eyes. Would YOU buy your home?

I'll offer additional suggestions and tips from time to time. Please contact me by email or phone if I can be of further assistance.

Make Your Home Sparkle!

Now is the best time to make your home sparkle! Here are a few tips?Let more light shine through the windows. Many people take the time to make their homes sparkle with a thorough ?spring cleaning? (which can be done any time of the year, of course). If you're considering selling, it is essential to get your home in shape. A clean home and one free of clutter is more appealing and commands top dollar.

Whether you're a buyer, seller or just a proud homeowner who wants to enjoy your home, here are some tips that will help you through the basics:

* Clean out the clutter and straighten out your closets. Don't forget the top of the refrigerator, and other hard to reach areas!

* Clean up clutter that has been laying around and organize your house?less is better!

* Clean up the exterior lawn and gardens, front and rear of house. Pick up any debris. Add mulch to freshen landscaping and gardens.

* Touch up painted areas as necessary. Scrub all walls, painted doorways and trim with mild soap and water.

* Scrub tiles and laminates. Bathrooms and kitchens should be cleaned thoroughly to really make them shine.

* Check the bath tubs for re-grouting if necessary.

* Wash windows inside and out with vinegar and water to avoid streaking.
* Launder all throw rugs and have your carpets professionally cleaned, or rent a carpet cleaner to do it yourself.
* Use lemon oil or other appropriate wood polish to moisturize and protect your home's paneling, woodwork and hardwood floors.

This kind of thorough cleaning may take some time and hard work, but the results are well worth the effort! 

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