By: Karen

So we’ve finally decided it’s time to move.  We had purchased a condo right after graduating college, at the time it fit our needs just fine.  Now our lives are settling down more, and it seems like time to have a little more room, and some more space to call our own.  But, with the economy being how it is, we’ve decided to sell our current place, and then decide on the next place (a few of the condo’s in the area have been on the market for about 6 months, so we don’t want to purchase a house and not be able to sell within a reasonable time).  Luckily, we have a lot of family in the area that agreed to help us if we needed a temporary place to stay in between.

We had our first meeting yesterday with our real estate agent, who had suggestions, and made us realize we had quite a bit of work ahead of us.  In some rooms there was too much furniture – “get rid of that,” in some rooms there was not enough furniture – “get something to make that room look bigger.”  The closets needed to be emptied a little (to make them appear bigger), and some of the light fixtures needed to be changed out to freshen up the rooms a little.  Another suggestion was a fresh coat of paint in a bathroom where people want to see things the cleanest.  And, a thought we hadn’t even considered, take down all personal pictures – not for your safety – but it makes it a lot easier for someone to picture themselves in your home if they don’t see traces of you everywhere.  For our safety – remove any valuables you might not want random people checking out your house to know you have – makes sense, you don’t want them to come back looking for them!

Another important suggestion was to make sure the outside looked inviting.  A clean coat of paint, or a new doorknob sets the tone for what the potential buyer might think when they walk inside.  Along with that, if the floors are dirty or have any imperfections you have been overlooking either fix them up or cover them up.  As far as any décor that you do update – keep it as neutral as possible – someone is more likely to notice the new coat of paint if it is a nice neutral tone rather than a bright blue or green.  Also, the less window treatments, the better – it makes the rooms look bigger – but not so much less that they think they wouldn’t have any privacy from the neighbors.

With all of these suggestions, the most important things to remember are – keep it neutral, and keep it keep.  Even if you get new fixtures, don’t splurge on the high end ones – chances are they might get changed out anyway.  If you are going to paint – use the one coat paint that doesn’t cost as much – even though the neutral colors are better to help the buyer envision the house as their own – they might not like the shade of cream you chose.  When you take down all your curtains – don’t buy new ones to hang, get some simple blinds that people can imagine hanging their own curtains around!