Craftsman homes for sale - California edition
Sale at California Historical Design in Berkeley CA

3 practical suggestions to get your home ready for sale

5124607 Our friend Joel McDonald writes regularly on real estate & home ownership topics. He sent in the following article a few days ago:

Prepping your home for sale, especially an older home with its accumulation of what you like to think of as endearing personality quirks, can be a daunting task. Even in the best of circumstances, the preparations going into selling  can be stressful, complicated, and can demand a ton of work. That's especially so if you're like most sellers and prepare your home for sale a few weeks before putting it on the market.

Plan ahead
Waiting until the weekend before selling your home is going to cause you way too much stress and anxiety - not to mention a lot of unnecessary expenses. Create a list of things that need to be fixed now, and get to them a weekend at a time every few months. By taking your time to do a few tasks in the year or two before selling your home, you will be saving yourself a lot of hassles when it comes time to actually sell. Not only will you be less stressed, but you won't be as rushed to get things fixed, and you'll do a far better job. (If you hire someone, you'll also likely keep some cash in your pockets by hiring them in the off season, not in the summer when most contractors will be booked, or have higher rates.)

Taking the best picture possible
You don't get a second chance to make a first impression, and when buyers are looking online, that first impression is the photo of your home.  Don't fool yourself into thinking that you can get away with a snapshot from the curb at high noon (which is the worst time of day to ever take a picture.)  One of the best things you can do to get ready to sell is to keep a camera handy for capturing that moment when your home won't seem colorless because the picture was taken in the unforgiving glare of the noonday sun. It will look much nicer in the early morning or late afternoon, or under sunny clearing skies after a rain.  Murphy�s law predicts that if you wait until the last minute to take a picture for the listing, it will be gloomy the entire week your agent or the photographer shows up to get it done.

Even if you're not planning on selling in the immediate future, next time after it rains, see if you can take a picture of your home with a rainbow behind it. In the spring, make sure to get an late evening shot with the amber sun glowing on your gorgeous flowers on your front porch. Tiny details like that make make a huge difference.

If you don't need it - store it!
Rent a storage locker well in advance, and start making occasional trips to it with the stuff you don't need. Tackle your kitchen, garage and basement first since those tend to accumulate the most unnecessary clutter. If you don't use that coffee pot taking up room on the kitchen countertop more often than several times a month, put it away or store it. (In fact, even if you do use it, if it could be easily stored in your cabinets - store it!) The less "stuff" is cluttering up your countertops, the bigger the kitchen feels. If your kids don't play with the toys that are sitting around the family room, have a yard sale or donate them to Goodwill! The less stuff you have around in your home, the bigger it feels!

With just a little advance planning, you can take a great deal of stress out of selling your house.

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