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Unlocking Your Home's Hidden Value: Secrets to Maximize Selling Price

So, you're thinking about selling your home, and you want to get it ready to market and maximize its value, but you don’t know where to start or what to do. Today, I am going to share some ideas that I hope will help you, and I will let you know which one thing will get you the highest rate of return on your money spent. 

 

If you've heard me give advice in the past, you've probably heard this over and over: curb appeal is king! What is curb appeal? According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, it is a noun that refers to the visual attractiveness of a house from the street. Potential buyers, and really anyone, will form an opinion of your home based on what they see from the street. It can create a desire to see inside or let them know to keep looking. 

 

This next piece of advice I am going to give you may sound strange, but the problem most homeowners have when it comes to knowing what to do to get their homes ready to sell is that they don’t look at it the same way a buyer or a guest would look at it on their first visit. I recommend that you go across the street and look closely at your property. Look at it as if you are seeing it for the first time. You can even take a photo of it so you can review it later. I have helped clients with this on many occasions because I can look at a house like a buyer would. 

 

What are you looking for? Is the yard mowed, trimmed, and free and clear of any trash or debris? Could the sidewalks and driveway use a good edging? Do the flower beds have enough vegetation, fresh mulch, and are they free of weeds? If you have fencing, is it in good condition, and do the gates function the way they are supposed to? Is the roof free of any debris, and are there any missing tabs? Are the windows, doors, garage doors, and siding dirty? These are all things that you can see from the street, and they should be dealt with before marketing your home if you want to increase the chance that your home will sell quickly and for top dollar. 

 

The most critical area to work on is the front entry. This is the area where buyers will have to wait for their agent to access the lockbox and open the door. While they are waiting, there is nothing to do but look around. Make sure this area has been cleaned, that all the glass sparkles, and the hardware has been polished. You probably never use the front door, so make sure the locks and doors work properly. If there is a trick to unlocking the door, like pulling up on the handle while you turn the key, fix it. You may be used to the trick, but those things are very annoying to buyers and a big turnoff. 

 

Now, this is how you can get the most from your dollar spent. When you looked at your home from the street, does the siding look bright, crisp, and colorful, or is it dull, dingy, and pale? If you have permanent siding like vinyl, hire a professional and have it washed. It is important that you use a soft wash, not a pressure sprayer. If it is more than a couple of years old or since it has been previously washed, you will likely be amazed by the improvement. 

 

If your siding is wood or a composite, how does the paint and caulking look? If it is in good condition but just dirty, a good washing is all you may need. But if the paint is chipping, peeling, or chalky looking, it may be time for fresh paint. This is not a cheap and easy fix, but the return is great. A recent survey indicates that the average return on the cost of exterior painting is around 152%, not to mention that your home will draw more attention and likely sell quicker. You may have the experience, equipment, and time to tackle this job yourself, but hire a professional if you are lacking in any of those areas. 

 

I talked to Randy Noel, a professional painter here in the Des Moines area, and he gave me some tips when it comes to painting the exterior of your home: 

 

  • Using an exterior paint with a flat finish has been a popular choice, but using a satin finish is usually a better choice. Some of the benefits of using a satin finish are that it has a gentle sheen that gives a polished look, it is easier to clean, and more durable. A flat finish may be a better choice if you are trying to cover imperfections. 
  • Don’t just choose a color because you liked the way it looked in the store. The color of the body of your house needs to complement the color of the roof. Use a leftover shingle with color samples to help make your choice.
  • Dark colors will fade more quickly, but if you are using a quality paint or are moving soon, it is less of a consideration.
  • Don’t be afraid to use more colors. You may think you just need the main color and a trim color, but adding a third or even a fourth color can really make your house more attractive. Consider different colors for gable ends, trim, shutters, posts, railings, spindles, and doors.
  • Always remember that just because you like certain colors for your house, doesn’t mean the general population will. Seek out the guidance of professionals. This is too big an investment and too permanent to make a mistake. 

 

I hope this information has been helpful. I am always happy to answer your questions if you call, text, or email me. Next week I will talk about ways to improve the interior area of your house. Until then, have a great week! 

 

Norwalk IA Real Estate – Jon Niemeyer, Broker/Owner/REALTOR® at EXIT Realty North Star. I list and sell real estate in Central Iowa including Norwalk, Des Moines, West Des Moines, Cumming, Indianola, Carlisle, Waukee, Urbandale, Grimes, Clive, Johnston, Ankeny, Altoona, and Pleasant Hill in the Counties of Warren, Polk, Dallas, and Madison. Call Jon Niemeyer at 515-490-4675  

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