Kay Rigley & Shannon Hill Hanson
Kay Rigley & Shannon Hill Hanson
Windermere Real Estate/ FN
Kay: 206.200.5347 krigley@windermere.com | Shannon: 206.419.5332 slhill@windermere.com
Getting the Best Price for Your Home 

Selling a home is an art with lots of factors, from pricing (see how it works) to local market pressures to curbside appeal. As your real estate agent, it's my goal to get you the best price possible, but there is a lot you can do to help. The first rule is to focus your efforts on first impression items. Potential buyers form their first opinion in eight seconds, which is why curbside appeal is so important. Inside, buyers look for indications that the home is well-cared for. Natural light and large spaces sell homes, which is why staging is so important.

Generally, major remodels just prior to selling your home are not worth it. Fixing up items like wall cracks or poorly hung doors pay off, but remodeling your kitchen doesn't offer the return. The only time to consider a serious upgrade is when your home lacks something that most of the homes in your area offer. If you have a two-bedroom home in a neighborhood where three is the norm, adding a bedroom could pay off. Likewise, if your area is gentrifying, replacing your Kenmore appliances with Viking may not be overly indulgent -- as long as you see plenty of these higher-end stoves at your neighbors' open houses.

Help your agent sell your home by adding something distinctive that will stand out from the crowd that they can use in marketing brochures. Items like water elements in the yard, freshly refinished hardwood floors or stainless steel light fixtures are easy and relatively cheap. Just make sure that it has broad appeal. Custom paint in Pottery Barn colors is great; pea green shag carpeting is not. If you're not sure, just ask me!

Fixing Up Your Home
This is the time to take a careful look at your home through the eyes of a potential buyer and do simple handyman and redecorating projects to spiff it up. The following checklists are not comprehensive or required, but it's a good place to get ideas.

Curbside Appeal 
  • Clean moss and grime off your roof.
  • Power wash or paint grimy walls.
  • Fix sagging gutters or slanting downspouts.
  • Fertilize your lawn for greener color and have well-defined edges.
  • Prune bushes, trees and shrubs.
  • Weed beds and plant blooming flowers.
  • Make sure your house number is visible from the street.
  • If your front walk has large cracks, tuck moss into the cracks.
  • Sweep up debris that's piled up against the curb
  • Volunteer to mow your neighbor's lawn if it looks out of control.
  • Powerwash or repaint decks and patios.
  • Fix sagging fence posts or broken sections.

Inside the Home

  • Get rid of any smells: mildew, cigarette smoke, pet odors.
  • Shampoo the carpet a couple days before listing the house.
  • Clean dingy drapes and blinds.
  • Wash the windows inside and out.
  • Fix ripped window screens and broken panes of glass.
  • Make sure windows, doors, and drawers open smoothly.
  • Make sure doors and cabinets hang straight and fully close.
  • Patch holes in walls.
  • Fix leaky faucets and touch up grout.
  • Replace burned-out light bulbs.
  • Replace cracked floor or counter tiles.
  • Clean inside the oven and fridge.

Cheap Purchases and Projects that Pay Off

  • A new welcome mat
  • Fresh flowers in vases or flower beds
  • A new front door, or new door hardware 
  • New pulls on drawers and cabinets
  • New shower curtains
  • Fresh grout in the bathrooms
  • A new toilet seat
  • New plumbing fixtures in the bathroom
  • Lamps to brighten dark corners
  • Freshly painted living areas
  • Paint warm, neutral colors over outdated colors

Staging Your Home
Staging involves hiring a professional stager to prepare your home to appear at its best for showings - similar to gift wrapping a present. We have a unique stager who makes the process simple and inexpensive by rearranging your own furniture and decorations to give your home an Architectural Digest feel. A good stager increases the visual sense of space, highlights the home's best features and provides a good traffic flow for touring the home. Statistically, it increases your final sales price by an average of 7%. On a $500,000 home, that's $35,000 more in your pocket! (For more on this, visit www.theenhancedhome.com) Research also shows that staging decreases the time on the market by 50% - staging your home makes it sell faster. In addition, it helps you start sorting and packing your possessions, and saying goodbye to your home.

Staging is almost always an emotional experience for the homeowner. Even though you understand the logical purpose of it, it still feels like a stranger is in your home rearranging your stuff. Your furniture will be in different positions. You've arranged your furniture to make the home cozy for someone actually living there. Often, staging a home means arranging furniture in a way that doesn't make sense for daily living; but it makes a lot of sense for traffic flow and making the home feel bigger. Your home will no longer feel like yours. A good stager makes your home feel cozy and attractive - in a generic way. You want a potential buyer to feel like they're in their future home, not in someone else's home.

You will not be expected to do any of the actual work for rearranging furniture or knickknacks. We will ask for an open space to place items that are not used; a garage or closet works well. Before the stager arrives, it helps if you pack any large collections of items or small valuables. Displays of collections (mugs, stamps, figurines) show an individual taste, which we want to avoid. Storing valuables is simply good sense for potential sticky fingers when agents show your home; theft is very rare, but it can happen.

Gift-Wrapping Your Home
It is common sense that a clean, tidy home sells faster. We go one step further and gift wrap your home. Just like a present is more exciting when it comes beautifully wrapped with a shiny bow, your home will earn a higher price when presented to its best advantage. You can help by running through the following checklist before you leave for work each morning or when an agent calls and schedules a time to show your home.

Bathrooms and the Kitchen

  • Put toilet seats down. 
  • Fold towels neatly.
  • Close shower curtains. 
  • Refill toilet paper.
  • Put away toiletries.
  • Make sure the faucet isn't dripping. 
  • Put dirty dishes in the dishwasher. 
  • Put away any food or other items.
  • Wipe off any dirty spots or food drips.
  • Take smelly trash to the dumpster.
Bedrooms and Living Areas
  • Make the beds like a fancy hotel.
  • Put clothes and shoes in the closet. 
  • Put away kids toys.
  • Turn all the lights in the house on.
  • Have soothing music quietly playing.
  • Open all the blinds and drapes. 
  • Turn off the alarm system. 
  • Make sure the pet is taken care of.
  • Unlock all internal doors (i.e. the garage).
  • Lock all external doors.
Kay: 206.200.5347 krigley@windermere.com | Shannon: 206.419.5332 slhill@windermere.com
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