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In your experience and/or readings, what do you think earns you the biggest bang for your buck in preparing a home to sell? If you have a couple/few things that you think increase the value the most relative to cost (in terms of time and/or money!), I'd love to hear your thoughts.

I have done some reading on websites, and obviously a non-offensive paint job's a big one; what's next on your list (or is something else first for you?)
 

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The BIGGEST thing is cleanliness. When I was down east and looking for a condo I can't tell you the number of places I walked away from account the way some of those people were living. I realize you may still be living there but gosh, clean up the bathroom, empty your dryer lint (one place had so much it was bulging out), throw away your pizza boxes, clean the sink etc. Too many places were turned down by me not because they were bad places but because of how disgusting they looked as described above.

The most memorable place I saw (which I didn't buy because of barking dogs in the unit across the hall) looked like a catalog piece, no word of a lie, that place was OUTSTANDING. I think the people were living there but you would never know it. Everything was spotless, beautiful furniture, well-designed interior. It seriously looked like something you would see in pictures or on TV. I felt bad not buying it but those barking dogs did them in as far as my dollar was concerned.

If you're going to sell, keep your house/property clean.
 

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I agree with Royal.

The other thing you might want to do is to have your most honest friend over to ask how your place smells.

Generally we can't smell our own place, only others can, but a lot of smells are actually subliminal for us. You want it to smell good

You'll need to pay attention that the entire place looks ok from the street on. Trim bushes, buy a few planters, paint the porch, nothing expensive just welcoming.
 

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rent a storage locker and put 1/2 of your possessions in it

send pets to live with a friend or relative

ditto on clean and fresh paint.....
pressure washing the exterior of a house goes a long way too
and if anyone is thinking "but the outside of my house isn't dirty"... you'll only notice after.

painting a driveway black with that sealer (but not the day before an open house :) )
 

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Generally we can't smell our own place,
Are you trying to tell us something? I'll send you an air freshener.

I've sold many places over the years, many privately. Little touch-ups can be slightly helpful.

However, if you are looking for significant price increases you need to make your property attractive to a customer that will have certain requirements for that new price range.

I suggest investing in landscaping, garage and front doors, kitchens, bathrooms and overhead lighting in the dining and family rooms.

With capital investments of 10-20k, I've made significant profits over pre-improvement appraisals. In many ways, selling a home is like selling a dream or a life-style. This is one of the reasons why I hire professionals to do the work, as I want thinks looking premium.

PM me if you want some details about some of details of things I did.
 

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I agree with the other posters - great suggestions.

One other thing is to try to fix things that are broken or in really bad shape. You don't have to make them perfect, but at least try for improvement.

The other thing is to try to prioritize the areas that the viewers will see first. Front of the house, first floor etc.
 

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I'm planning to sell in the spring so I've been investing a bit of time/money this year

Some lawn care, driveway seal and pressure washing went a long way for the curb apeal. The driveway was dull and oil stained, the house was dullish white, and the lawn was thin and yellowish. Now it's all bright and new I can't believe the difference a few hundred made

I never painted the house but I'm debating the cost, it would certainly be more than I spent outside. I don't think it's worth paying someone and I'm not sure it's worth my time

I'm considering paying a cleaner and gardener while it's for sale but I'm not sure that's worth it either. I keep things reasonably clean but I would have trouble keeping things pristine
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Great suggestions so far; having a couple kids, I'm not sure how I'm going to keep the clutter down, but realize that's an important one. We're in the middle of painting, and I like some of the thoughts so far; thanks!!!
 

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You definitely want to leave the impression that nobody lives there. Whether it is sights or smells, pictures, magazines - all evidence of your personalization should be gone during a showing. All clutter is the storage facility.
 

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You'd be amazed at the offers if you truly upgrade your house. You will attract people from outside your normal buyers market.

It's also a good idea to contact Realtors from an area that is higher priced than yours.

PM for details. I can't emphasize these points enough. Local Realtors might think your 400k figure is crazy...while Realtors from another region might view it as a steal.

Keep positive.
 

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I say keep it looking simple, clean, and decluttered.

When I sold in Boston, I moved my fiancee's (now my wife's) stuff back home first. Having half the stuff in the space, made it look much bigger.

Make it feel like someone's home, and you'll be surprised how quickly it sells (mine sold in 2 days -- namely because I was away.)

My best friend sold his condo in Toronto, and his place was a pig sty. The first thing they did was moved the junk into a storage locker. Then they cleaned, scrubbed and made it brand spanking new. Decluttering the place, and he sold for 20% above his asking price.
 

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For those who have moved stuff to a storage unit, did you move it yourself? I will be moving un-necessary furniture and other smaller stuff to a storage unit, but I can't move the larger furniture myself. In your opinion, is it worth it to hire movers to move the stuff from (and then back to) your house for the time it's up for sale?
 

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In your opinion, is it worth it to hire movers to move the stuff from (and then back to) your house for the time it's up for sale?
One way around that is to sell your house after moving to the new house/accomodation.
That way all your personal stuff is already gone and you can design the old house purely for selling i.e. no personal effects, etc.
 

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No, find a friend or family member, that will help for a case of beer.

I don't trust movers after reading 3 years of horror stories on RFD. The company at issue, Dezi Movers (sp?), runs many sub companies, all scams under one ring leader. Anyway, many were arrested by Toronto Police, after three years of complaints and scams. They are fraudulent and will withhold your stuff, for more money.
 

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One thing to think about if you do move a lot of stuff into storage is do you need that stuff? We all tend to buy and have it there, but a move allows you to actually think about if you use it. If you don't use it, don't store it or move it, sell it.
 

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The storage places rely on people that cannot make decisions. Most of the stuff they store is not accessed year in and year out but just racks up monthly fees. Eventually, the heirs get to take the stuff out and have a massive estate sale.
 

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One poster nailed it when they mentioned -smell-. I have a renter moving out and had to show the place to potential renters. The place stunk so bad we have to hire a professional cleaning service to come in.

The renter had no idea what I was talking about when I talked to them about it...thankfully I have a deposit from them.

We ended up renting the place but a little girl that is moving in with her mother asked if the smell would be gone when they move in...embarassing.
 

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One way around that is to sell your house after moving to the new house/accomodation.
That way all your personal stuff is already gone and you can design the old house purely for selling i.e. no personal effects, etc.
Our new house will be at least 1500 km's from our old house :) But if we were doing a local move, I agree that would be a good idea.

Plus our movers (paid for by my husbands work) will only p/u at one location, so we have little choice but to bring it back from storage to the house for move-time.

The poster who mentioned if we really need all this stuff - we don't really need it all; we are (temporarily) in a smaller house and we don't want to sell our quality furniture while we will need it for our next house. So yes, we can scale back but we couldn't reasonably get rid of the majority of what we would put in storage. We would only be doing this to stage the house, and my word you would NOT want to live in a house that was staged... especially if you have small children!!
 
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