Understanding The Psychology of Clutter

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Read any Top 10 list of things to do to prepare your house for sale and “Get rid of the clutter” is sure to be on it.

But how important is cleaning up really? Does your home have to look immaculate, like it’s been torn from the page of a decorating magazine? Can’t the average buyer look past a little clutter and see the value of your home for what it really is?

The answer lies in psychology.

Clutter – a disorganized garage, an overstuffed closet, a disheveled basement – can make people feel uneasy and even edgy. In a study published in the Journal of Family Psychology, clutter was even linked to depression.

In addition, clutter can create a feeling of hesitancy, even inertia. “At the sight of clutter people shut down,” says organization expert Cathy Philips. “They don’t want to do anything”. But you want a home buyer to do something – make you an offer!

Clutter can also draw attention to the wrong things. Instead of a big double garage, for instance, a buyer’s attention may be focused instead on boxes, lawn equipment and bikes piled in the corner. Clutter can instantly turn a great selling point into a turnoff.

And if all that isn’t enough, clutter has the knack for making everything seem smaller. A big spacious closet can look downright claustrophobic when stuffed to the ceiling with shoes, clothes and boxes.

So don’t underestimate the psychology of clutter. According to research by HomeGain, getting rid of clutter ranks as one of the best investments you can make in preparing your home for sale, averaging a 594% return on your investment.

Looking for more ways to sell your home faster and for more money? Call today.

The Principles of Pricing Your Home

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Wondering how much your house would sell for in today’s market?
To find out, you’ll need answers to these three questions:

How much have similar houses in your community sold for recently? Review sales in your area over the past six months as well as homes currently listed. This information will give you a clearer idea of what the market is willing to pay.

What desirable special features and upgrades does your home have to offer? Home buyers are willing to pay a premium for hardwood floors, larger kitchens, bigger closets, renovated washrooms and finished basements. Depending on market conditions, these features may allow you to increase your selling price a few percentage points.

Does your house have any undesirable features? Be brutally honest. If your house has just one washroom, or backs onto a busy highway, or has some creaks in the floors, then you might have to reduce your price expectations by a few points.

You might be surprised by what you could get for your house in today’s market. To find out more, call today.

5 Questions to Ask Before You Hire a Home Inspector

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Hiring the right home inspector is important. After all, you want the inspection to leave no stone unturned when determining the condition of the house you are considering purchasing.

Unfortunately, the professionalism and range of services vary widely in the home inspection industry. So it pays to ask the right questions before you choose. Here are a few suggestions:

“What does your inspection cover?”

A home inspector should be able to present you with a detailed list of what is covered in the inspection. Don’t settle for a vague verbal promise like, “We check everything top to bottom.” Get it in writing.

In addition, you should get an assurance that the inspection complies with all Local, and Provincial or State regulations.

“What are your qualifications?”

As with most professions, experience counts. You want to check how long the inspector has been in the business, and how many homes like yours he has inspected.

Also ask about his credentials. What professional training programs has he completed? Does he belong to a recognized home inspection association?

“Do you also offer to do home repairs or renovations?”

If he does, it’s a conflict of interest. You want an inspector to give you an unbiased report as to the condition of the house, without any expectation of getting some contracting work on the side.

“How long will the inspection take?”

You’ll want to find out if the inspector takes his time and does a thorough job, or rushes things so he can get as many homes done in a day as possible. On average, a typical single family home should take two to three hours to inspect properly.

“May I contact some references?”

Ask for references from people in the community you are considering. Then, make sure you call them.

It’s the Little Things That Boost Curb Appeal

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“Curb appeal”. You’ve probably heard that term used before. It refers to how valuable and enticing your house looks from the outside, typically from the perspective of a potential buyer “standing on the curb”.

Many people focus on preparing the inside of their house for sale, and neglect preparing the outside. This is a mistake. Studies confirm that curb appeal has a huge influence over how quickly your house will sell, and for how much.

How do you improve curb appeal?

You don’t need to do a major landscaping renovation! In fact, small improvements often make the biggest difference… improvements you can easily do over a weekend.

Here are some suggestions:

  • Clean the outside of front windows. Make them sparkle!
  • Remove grass, weeds and other unwanted growth between driveway and walkway stones.
  • Prune shrubs and trim trees.
  • Re-sod bare spots on the lawn.
  • Edge the lawn. (A simple task that can have a dramatic visual impact.)
  • Water the flowerbed. (Flowers look brighter and more healthy within one hour of watering.)
  • Sweep the walkway and driveway. Rake the leaves.
  • Remove signs such as “Beware of dog” and “No solicitations”.
  • Check the welcome mat. If it’s worn or dirty, replace it.
  • Also, consider buying some attractive potted flowers to put near the entranceway. They are worth the investment.

As you can see, it doesn’t take much to boost the curb appeal of your house. Just a little work and a few added details will make a big difference.

Need more ideas for increasing the “sales appeal” of your house? Call today.

Timing the Market. Should you?

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Is there a perfect time to sell your house? The short answer is: Whenever you’re ready.

Market “timing” isn’t the only factor that influences how quickly your house will sell or for how much.

The preparations you make before listing your house on the market will also have a big impact on your success. Consider these questions: How well is your house staged? Is it in a good state of repair? Is it priced correctly based on local market conditions? Is it listed and promoted so that all REALTORS® and their clients understand the advantages your house and community have to offer?

Sure, there are peaks and slower cycles throughout the year. And, there are economic periods when the real estate market is either heating up or cooling down. But you don’t have any control over those factors. Plus, you can never accurately predict exactly where the market is within each cycle.

What you can control is how well you prepare your house for sale so that it’s desirable to as many potential buyers as possible.

So when is the best time to sell your house? When you want or need to sell it.

Want to find out how much your house will sell for in today’s market? Call today.