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Ask Will: Simple Updates to Prep a Home For Sale

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This regularly-scheduled sponsored Q&A  column is written by Will Wiard, Arlington-based real estate broker, voted one of Washington’s Best Realtors of 2015 by Washingtonian. Please submit your questions via email.

Q: We are in the process of preparing our home for sale and have received mixed advice from our friends that have sold houses in the last few years. Is there anything we can do to sell our house more quickly? Some say to consider staging, but it’s expensive. Any advice would be great.

A: Preparing a home for sale can be quite a process. But, there are a few projects you can undertake early on to move the property faster. Here are a few ideas:

Stage the home to make living easy to visualize: It’s true, staging a home can help potential buyers visualize room arrangements and give ideas for living in the home, but it can be expensive. Hiring a staging consultant is a possible alterative to a fully staged home. Typically, this type of professional charges by the hour and uses the furniture currently in your home, which can help you save money in the long run.

Tuck away the items that make it yours: When selling a home, removing your personal photos and other items that make it yours allows potential buyers to better visualize the home as their own.

Pay attention to the little things: Sometimes it’s the smallest things that turn away potential buyers. Go through your house with the eye of a buyer. Is a door handle loose or an outlet cover missing? These are among many simple projects that are worth the fix. Buyers may see these minor blemishes as a hassle or a potential symptom of a larger problem.

Highlight your home’s unique qualities: Don’t be afraid to stand out in the crowd. If your home features a den, roof deck, wine cellar, or any other area that other nearby homes don’t – use it to your advantage. Draw special attention to that room by adding or removing furniture to make it memorable during a showing.

Weigh the pros and cons of aesthetic updates: Bright colored paint? Stained carpet? Make a list of some of the less pleasing aesthetics in your home and talk with your agent about your options. Rather than making the updates before sale, you may want to offer a credit to the buyer for such repairs so they can select exactly what they’re looking for. Want to take it a step further? Provide some paint or carpet samples in the home for the potential buyer to pick from.

Unclutter your clutter: Most lived in homes have at least a small amount of clutter. Remove items that take up too much space or take away from a room. If your budget allows, look into a temporary storage unit to hold these extra pieces and personal items.

I’m hoping readers can share any additional advice in the comment section below.

Thank you for this week’s question. Please keep them coming to [email protected]. This is also a great place to reach me for anyone looking to buy or sell a home in the Arlington area.

The views and opinions expressed in the column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of

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