The Five Most Important Secrets To Obtaining Top Value For Your Home

Introduction To Staging Your Property

The five secrets contained in this brochure are important, because they can significantly affect your ability to obtain top market value for your property.

The exact same floor plan can sell within a low-to-high range of $10,000 to $12,000 difference. For more expensive homes, the variation in price can be much greater.

What follows are the five most important secrets that cause this difference in price. These secrets are responsible for a highly significant difference in the ultimate price that any property can obtain.

Remember that a property without the five secrets will not sell at as high a price as another one that employs the five secrets, nor will it have nearly as good a chance of selling.

The homes that achieve maximum market value are the very homes that utilize the following five secrets.

The Five Most Important Secrets

Here are the five most important secrets to obtaining top dollar for your home.

1. Paint the property, wherever needed, inside and outside.

The first secret is that paint should be in brand new, or at a minimum, like-new condition.

Paint is one of the most cost-effective methods available to achieve top dollar for your home.

Ideally, if needed, both interior and exterior should be painted. However, if doing both the interior and exterior is not financially feasible, then the interior should be the first priority.

The color should be neutral, and chosen in direct consultation with me.

One of the major functions of painting is to lighten up the property. It is critically important to choose light, cheerful colors.

Painting can be done at a sometimes surprisingly low cost, if you shop carefully. I have done a great deal of comparison shopping for my clients in regard to painting costs. I have a number of firms locally that I would be happy to refer you to. I can also take a look at your property, and give you a rough idea of what it should cost to paint it.

Caution: Avoid spending too much on painting the property. I have time and time again seen a large difference in painting bids on the same property.

If you don't over-spend on the paint job you should more than recover your cost and make a significant profit on this investment.

2. Install new carpeting and linoleum.

All the homes that achieve top dollar have brand new carpeting and linoleum, or at a minimum, like-new carpeting & linoleum.

If the carpeting is in like-new condition, then it need not be replaced. But if the carpeting is in anything less than like-new condition, the second secret is to install new carpeting.

Important Caution: It is very important to be conservative in terms of how much is spent on the carpeting. Highly upgraded carpeting is not appropriate (unless the home is in an expensive price range). Bids should be obtained, and the price spent for the carpeting should be very moderate.

I have done a great deal of comparison shopping for my clients in regard to carpeting and linoleum costs. I have a number of firms locally that I would be happy to refer you to. And I can look at your property to give you a pretty accurate idea of what it will likely cost to install carpeting or linoleum.

My advice is to get two or three bids, and then check with me before you make a final decision. The bid should not be too high.

Remember that the goal with all improvements is this: The improvement should return your money spent, at least a 25% "profit." " Often, my clients receive more than a 25% return on the correct upgrades.

Another Caution: It is often not necessary to replace the pad (thereby saving money). Or, you can save money by having only a moderately good pad installed (instead of a plush pad).

It is important to be cost conscious, in order to achieve the above stated profitability guidelines.

Important Note: Color is critical. The color of the carpeting should be one that appeals to the broadest group of potential buyers. Desirable colors are neutral beige - and for some higher priced homes, a tasteful gray (as long as the other paint colors, decorations, and furniture match well with this color.)

For linoleum, color and pattern are critical! A color and a pattern must be chosen to appeal to the broadest possible market.

Don't install new carpeting or linoleum without having me check the following two things:

Is the price for the carpeting or linoleum justified? That is, is it in line with the above profitability guidelines?

Are the colors and pattern the right ones for the market? Have this checked before you make the final decision. There is nothing worse than making a significant improvement, only to find out that it worsened the marketability of the property!

There are a number of good outlets for purchasing carpeting in the local area that will allow you a good return on your carpet upgrade.

Prices for carpeting & linoleum can vary greatly, and only moderately priced carpeting & linoleum are appropriate for obtaining top dollar for your home (unless your property is a mid to high level property).

Please call me for a specific reference to an appropriate firm for carpeting or linoleum.

3. Plant Flowers

The third secret is planting flowers! This can be one of the most cost effective improvements possible. Yellow, red, blue or purple flowers are the most vivid and do the most to enhance the appearance of the property.

The cost is minimal. As an example, I planted over 200 flowers for a cost of well under $100.00! The value that is added to the property from this improvement is many times the cost.

This is just the type of improvement to look for - a small expenditure that really increases the value of the property significantly more than it costs.

If you plant flowers, I recommend "Miracle Grow" fertilizer. This fertilizer is very inexpensive and comes with a clog-free applicator that hooks onto the end of your hose. Simply pour the (dry) fertilizer into the applicator bottle, hook it up to your hose, and spray it on the flowers. "Miracle Grow" packages the fertilizer into exactly the right sized packets to fit into the applicator. Just rip the packet open, and pour it in the applicator. Simple, clean, easy. And very effective. You won't believe how beautiful your flowers will be!

It's incredibly simple to keep these flowers fertilized, and the results are tremendous: lovely, colorful flowers that really enhance the appearance and value of your property, for very little money.

Planting flowers costs little, and adds value to your property that is completely out of proportion to the extremely minor cost.

Another tip when planting flowers: Purchase inexpensive potting soil (normally available in large bags at Home Depot, Yard Birds, Longs, and most garden centers). The cost is minor ($3.00 to $5.00 per bag). I advise digging a hole just deep enough to put the flower's roots into the ground, then fill the hole back up with the potting soil around the flower. It takes just an extra minute to plant them with potting soil, but the flowers grow so much prettier, and their likelihood of survival and good health is much better.

I've found that a wheelbarrow is a nice vehicle to use to place the bag of potting soil, your flat of flowers and your tools in, as you move from planting location to planting location.

4. Stage Your Property.

The fourth secret to obtaining top dollar for your property is to "stage" it!

Staging means doing some small things to put the very best foot forward of your property. There are several elements to staging your property.

In order to obtain top dollar for your property, here are some fundamentals to do:

De-Clutter your property:

This is, without question, the largest single challenge when trying to obtain top dollar for your home.

Studies (and much personal experience) show that buyers want a "perception of spaciousness" in their prospective home. That is, they want the most possible space for their dollar.

The single most important concept to remember is that in general - the more objects in a room, the smaller it appears to the buyer.

What's the point? Remove as many things as you can from each room!

Think of a "model" home at a new home sub-division. Model homes have just enough furniture and decorations in them. They are very lightly furnished compared to how most people furnish a home.

This "spare " look is critically important in obtaining top dollar for your home.

Here are some specifics on de-cluttering your property:

Remove extra furniture, beds, etc.

This is important.

Tip: It is important to remember that it's of minimal importance what your garage looks like, or the inside of your cupboards and drawers. You can stack excess furniture and objects to the ceiling in the garage, and fill your cupboards up. It won't matter, because first impressions of the property are by far the most important, and first impressions are formed before buyers see the inside of your cupboards or your garage.

Tip: To obtain top dollar on your home, one of the most cost-effective methods of de-cluttering is to pay for a local storage unit. There are numerous storage units locally. Feel free to phone me for a recommendation and phone numbers.

Considering the large impact de-cluttering has on obtaining top dollar for your home, a storage unit is often well worth the cost!

De-cluttering is the single most important thing you can do to obtain top dollar.

Limit number of objects to a total of 1, 3, or 5.

Tip: Interior decorators who have studied real estate sales note that the number of objects on any surface (for example, tables, cupboards, etc.) should be limited to no more than three or five, and should be in odd numbers, not even numbers. (In other words, you should have three objects, not four).

As an example, they say you should have one candle on the coffee table, or three, but not two.

Lighten the property up!

One of the most important staging tips is to lighten the property up. The single most frequent complaint Realtors hear from prospective purchasers is: "The home is too dark."

I cannot remember the number of times that I have walked through a home with a prospective purchaser, only to have all the blinds drawn, all the lights out, and the home looking very dark.

This is an unfortunate approach to selling a home!

If the home is dark, most buyers will not purchase the property, or will offer considerably less than fair market value for the property.

Leave blinds and curtains open during showings!

This is important, and is one of the most important secrets to obtaining top dollar for your property. Buyers want light properties!

Choose light colors when applying new painting, carpeting, and linoleum.

Turn on tons of lights during showings of the property!

For an example, look at a "model" home. You'll find that every light in the model home is on.

This is no accident. These lights significantly add to the desirability and the value of the home.

Buy a new set of matching towels for the bathroom towel racks.

This is subtle, but it makes a real difference. And, you can take them with you when you leave.

The idea is to not use these on a daily basis. Use your regular towels instead. These are for decorative purposes only.

Put out a vase of flowers, or some other special touch of color in selected areas.

Again, if you view model homes you'll see the distinction that a home receives from this special touch.

The flowers can be fresh, or even an artificial arrangement.

5. Tricks of the Trade.

The fifth secret to obtaining top dollar on your home is to employ the "tricks of the trade".

These are small things, with little cost, but things that really help to obtain top dollar.

It's often the smallest touches that make the largest difference.

Here are some specifics:

Edge the lawn with an electric or gas edger.

This is very easy to do, and costs virtually nothing (if you have an edger.) This applies even during winter.

If you do not have an edger, they can be purchased at such outlets as Home Depot in Rohnert Park, or Orchard's in Petaluma (and many other local outlets) for anywhere from $39.00 to $135.00. (The electric edgers are in the lower to mid price range; the gas edgers are in the higher part of the price range). The inexpensive, low priced electric edger works just fine.

This improvement sounds minor, but it really has a positive effect on obtaining top dollar for your home.

Fertilize the lawn.

Fertilizer costs $15.00 to $25.00, but can really dress up a property and add to its value.

Some cautions are in order with fertilizer:

Be careful to apply a relatively small amount of fertilizer - too much can be deadly to your lawn! An under-application is far better than an over-application!!!

Water the lawn heavily for a week after the fertilizer is applied, two or three times per day.

Try to avoid the hottest days of summer for application -any days hotter than 80 degrees should be avoided.

Be sure to follow the directions on the package!

Shine the "chrome" on the faucets.

Keep the water faucets in your home shining, and free from water spots.

Again, a minor issue, but this really makes a difference in obtaining top dollar for your home.

Tip: Keep a small rag or towel in the cupboard under each sink. Each time after the faucet is used quickly wipe it down with the towel. This will keep the water faucets in pristine condition.

Vacuum frequently.

A little trick of the trade. What I am referring is vacuuming the areas the buyer sees first when they enter the home for a viewing. (Usually this is the living room, but it can vary, depending upon your floor plan).

The reason for this - and it applies even to brand new carpeting - is that a carpet looks greatly better to a buyer when its fibers are "standing up."


These are the five most important secrets to obtaining top dollar for your property.

I hope that the information in this booklet has been of value to you! Please call me if I can be of further assistance to you in anyway!