Preparation and price for early spring sales


By Michelle Gillespie

Michelle Gillespie, Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage

What a difference a year can make! Last January, we were buried under record amounts of snow – this year, everything is still green! The January 2011 real estate market was quiet; not a lot of new inventory or sales, as everyone seemed to hunker down for the winter. This year, however, the mild weather seems to have stirred everyone's interest. Buyers are out there, attending open houses, looking for fresh new inventory. Houses are selling, spurred by continued low interest rates and fair marketable prices.

Are you ready to put your house on the market? To prepare your home for sale let me suggest several strategies to get the most out of your property. From cosmetic to strategic, smart sellers can take advantage of a few simple tips to help close the deal.


Establish a reasonable and profitable listing price

Determining a listing price should not be an emotional decision – a professional estimation of a reasonable selling price is extremely important. For example, a carefully prepared competitive market analysis will show how your house compares to others for sale in your area. Properly priced homes still sell quickly; I can objectively evaluate your home's location, condition, and size to determine what that price should be.

Give it the once over

This is possibly the most important step to ensure that your house sells for your price, or more. Remember, your house has only one chance to make a first impression. Do as much as possible to update and remodel your home to give it “added value.” Think about updating these key areas to make your home stand above the rest:

Kitchen. The most popular room in the house. Money spent upgrading here produces the highest return on investment. Consider new cabinets and granite counters. Hot makeover trends include adding dual sinks, cooking stations, under-cabinet lighting, warming ovens, and energy efficient appliances.

Bathrooms. The second most cost-effective room to invest in remodeling. New fixtures, tile, and paint can make bathrooms look new from top to bottom. Adding a whirlpool tub is another attractive selling feature.

Walls, Woodwork, Windows. Cosmetic touch-ups, such as new paint, new double-paned windows, or refinished woodwork will increase the price of a house virtually dollar-for-dollar. A coat of paint in neutral colors, which are appealing to everyone, can make a world of difference.

Flooring. Hardwood and tile floors are very popular today, look beautiful, are durable, and will add value to any home. Replace worn carpeting or refinish hardwood floors.

Curb Appeal. The outside of your house makes the first impression. Given recent storm activity, clear all yard debris. In addition, an energy-efficient front door is a plus. Be sure the front door is welcoming, even if that simply means a fresh coat of paint and a small planter of greens.

Pack and Clean. Virtually all homebuyers are on the lookout for one thing – a clean, spacious home. Your personal belongings will distract them from being able to see your home's good points. My advice to all my clients: declutter, declutter, declutter! If you can's part with some things, put them into temporary storage.

Looking ahead

In the coming months, I’ll be providing information about various real estate topics in the Community Advocate. I’ll be discussing topics such as selling strategies and listing your home in 2012, eco friendly tips for your home, relocating, home improvements you should consider before listing, negotiating the right price, first time buyers do's and don’ts, short sales, and much more.

Looking ahead to 2012, I anticipate another successful year in real estate. If you are thinking of selling or buying a house, relocating, or if you need a referral, call me, Michelle Gillespie, for all your real estate needs at 508-934-9818 or email [email protected]. Visit my website at for more information.