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Preparing your real estate in Katy Texas for sale

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Preparation is key when selling real estate

There is an old saying “you never have a second chance to make a good first impression” and this should be considered the guiding principal when preparing to put your home in Katy, Texas on the market for sale. In this real estate market downturn to be successful in selling your home within a reasonable period of time and obtain the best possible price for the home, the home needs to stand out from the competition in the area. Despite the media hype about the depressed housing market in the US, the Katy, Texas real estate market remains robust with property values continuing to increase and home sales continuing at a brisk pace. For sellers, this is both good and bad news. The good news is that homes in the area are selling quickly and at reasonable prices. The bad news is that there is stiff competition for qualified buyers in the market.

Katy Real Estate Key Factors

Obviously, there are several factors beyond the control of the individual homeowner such as the location of the property, the floor plan and age of the home as well as the typical market value of homes in the neighborhood. Since those factors are beyond the control of a homeowner wishing to sell, we will not go into those particular factors in depth, but rather discuss those factors that can be controlled which provide a marketing advantage and, at the same time, focus on those things that are cost effective and have been proven to have a positive impact.

Your real estate's street appeal matters

The first item to be considered is known as “street appeal”. With there being substantial numbers of homes in various price ranges available for buyers to choose from, the initial hurdle is to get the potential buyers to actually view the property. If the home fails the street appeal test, a large percentage of potential buyers will simply cross the home off of the list of homes to consider without even going inside the home. It matters little how well the home shows if the buyers don’t actually tour it. Improving “street appeal” is the easiest way to enhance the market appeal and perceived value of the home. Proper landscaping and landscape maintenance is critically important and inexpensive. Make sure that the shrubbery is properly trimmed and add seasonal color when possible. Walk through (or at least drive) your neighborhood and pay close attention to those homes that are visually appealing. The chances are that the homes that are most appealing are the homes with attractive landscaping; not necessarily those with the most beautiful architectural design. Proper landscaping can make a relatively plain house quite attractive and poor landscaping can make a beautiful house appear quite plain.

The next factor to be addressed is the initial impression upon entering the home. The walkways and front porch should be clean, neat and uncluttered. Also, take a good look at the entry door. Does it need to be re-stained or repainted? It is amazing how many homeowners enter their homes through the door from the garage and don’t know what condition their front door is in. Prospective buyers almost always enter the home through the front door and the condition and appearance of the entry door has significant impact on establishing the all important first impression.

Upon entering the home / real estate, the typical buyer will form his perception of the home before getting past the entry. Make certain that the home creates a good first impression by being light, bright and uncluttered. Dark wall paint colors make the entry seem small, dark and uninviting. Dirty light fixtures or having burned out bulbs or bulbs with too little output tends to make the entry gloomy and uninviting. That initial poor first impression remains with the prospective buyer throughout the tour of the home and has a negative impact on the overall impression. A poor first impression may cause some prospective buyers to choose not even to see the rest of the home.

De-Clutter your real estate for best effect

UNCLUTTER! Another old expression is that “nature abhors a vacuum”. This tends to be especially true regarding personal living space. When people live in a home for any length of time, the number of possessions grows to fill all available space. In many instances, when new possessions are acquired, they are simply added rather than being replacements for existing items. There seem always to be possessions that have sentimental value to the homeowner, but are nothing more than clutter to the average person shopping for a home. Grandmother’s favorite chair may have sentimental value, but when it doesn’t go with any of the other décor in the home and has been squeezed into an already fully furnished room, it certainly does not enhance the sales appeal of the home. It’s a sure bet that any furniture that blocks walkways or creates an obstruction to normal traffic patterns will have a negative impact when selling the home. Often when collectors of those cute little bunny figurines run out of places to display more cute little bunny figurines, they buy display cases to put more figurines in rather than cease collecting. A room with too much clutter will appear small and will be difficult for a prospective buyer to visualize placing his own furniture and possessions in.

Repainting and replacing worn or outdated carpeting are two of the most important and cost effective means of enhancing the marketability of a home. It is absolutely astounding how many homes have rooms that are painted in unusual and often unusually bright colors. While those colors may be the favorite colors of various family members, it is a certainty that those colors will not have broad market appeal. A teenage boy may want his bedroom painted in the battle red of the Houston Texans or the daughter may like hot pink paint on her walls. That’s fine while you’re living in the home, but will certainly pose a challenge in selling the home. Neutral colors in both wall paint and carpets are definitely the best choice for selling a home and have the broadest market appeal.

Selling your real estate in Katy or anywhere...

When it is necessary to update the home to prepare the home for sale, the most important areas of focus are the kitchen and the master bath. Major remodeling of a home will often not increase the market value of the home more than the cost of the remodeling itself. Updating the kitchen and/or master bath often does enhance the market value of the property significantly more than the cost of the updates and proves to be a very worthwhile investment. Refinishing kitchen cabinets or replacing the cabinet doors and drawer fronts, replacing counter top surfaces and kitchen backsplash areas are relatively inexpensive and pay big dividends. Likewise, refinishing bath tubs and replacing vanity tops and sinks and updating tile tub and shower surrounds often increases the selling price of a home well in excess of the cost of the updating. Don’t overlook replacing old and outdated lighting fixtures in both kitchen and master bath. Light and bright sells; dark and gloomy is a deal breaker.

A word of caution is in order here. Do not get carried away and engage in major remodeling projects that involve adding to the size of the home, raising ceiling heights, adding living space; etc. A rule of thumb is that if it involves changes to the foundation or outside walls, you won’t get your money back in increased selling price. The objective is to make the home stand out from the direct competition in the neighborhood; not to turn it into a home like the new dream home you plan to move into once the existing home sells.

Before putting your Katy real estate or area home on the real estate market for sale, it will certainly be worth your time to ask the real estate professional you are planning on listing with to show you those homes that he/she is using as comparables to help you determine the listing price for your home. Set appointments to tour the other homes for sale to deetermine how your property stacks up against the direct competition. Make notes regarding how those homes compare with yours and make informed decisions as to how to make your home the most appealing property on the market in your neighborhood. This is an easy way to accurately judge the competition and determine how to best prepare your home for a quick and profitable sale.

Some sellers feel that, rather than making necessary repairs and updates, they will simply offer an allowance to the buyer for paint, carpeting, redecorating; etc. This is not normally a wise decision. First, if the property does not compare favorably with the other neighborhood homes on the market, it is not likely to be of interest to the majority of prospective buyers.

The purchase of a home is an emotional purchase and those properties that make a poor first impression are simply eliminated from the list of homes to be considered. The vast majority of prospective buyers desire to purchase a home that they can move right into without having to repair, remodel or update; not one where it is necessary to spend time, effort and money to make it suitable for their family. Those buyers willing to purchase a home needing cosmetic repairs and updating are often those buyers looking for substantially underpriced houses that they can spend a few thousand dollars making needed repairs and remodeling and then sell at a substantial profit.

David Bell, Coldwell Banker United Realtor, works in Katy and specializes in Katy Real Estate, Cinco Ranch Real Estate, and Falcon Point Homes. View his site at jdavidbell.com!

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