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Staging Tips

3 Tips to Getting a Great Appraisal for Your Home

Appearance matters when it comes to selling your home. I’ve heard so many stories of people’s appraisals coming in significantly lower than comps in the neighborhood would suggest simply because the lawn hadn’t been mown and the house needed a fresh coat of paint.

It may not seem necessary to spruce up the house for an appraisal, especially if you managed to get a good contract on it without doing those things. But you need to remember appraisers are people, and they are just as influenced by physical appearances as buyers are. Your house has to look it’s best when the appraiser comes through lest they appraise the property much lower than it’s worth. For a small investment, you can make sure your deal doesn’t fall through based on a bad appraisal.

Here are three tips to getting a great appraisal for your home.

1. Address the curb appeal.

The appraisal starts the moment the appraiser sees you home. Make sure the exterior of your house looks good — mow the lawn, do some weeding and lay down fresh mulch. If your home needs a good power washing, do it. Many Reston homes tend to collect algae on the roofs (a downside of the wooded communities); it looks awful and is easy to clean.

2. Make it Look Its Best.

It’s important to keep the look, feel, and condition of your property as updated and cared-for as possible. While the appraiser probably won’t look under your couch for dust bunnies, she will look at overall how clean the home is. That means you need to get the cobwebs out of the corners and clean the fingerprints around door handles. Replace the old vinyl floors and wash your windows. All of these things affect the value of your home, and they add up.

This is also a good time to do some of the upgrades you’ve been thinking about. Paint, new carpets, lights, and plumbing fixtures are relatively low cost upgrades that can make a huge difference in your appraisal.

Here is a secret of the trade: appraisers often value houses in $500 increments. Repairs that should be made count against your property. Fixing leaky faucets, stained drywall, and cracked windows all cost less than $500, so you automatically make a return.

3. Make it comfortable and inviting.

Tidy up; don’t make the appraiser trip over toys or have to move furniture. And make sure the temperature is comfortable—not to hot and not too cold. Yes, that really matters! Using you heat or air conditioning is also a tip off that these items are in working order.

These things are all relatively easy, quick fixes that go a long way toward improving the outcome of your appraisal.

Staging Tips for Sellers: Painting

staging tips for sellers The number 1 staging tips for sellers: paint your walls! Image courtesy of Dan / 

The number 1 staging tips for sellers: paint your walls! Image courtesy of Dan / 

Welcome to my series on staging tips for sellers, a place where I talk about the little things you can do to make your house sell. Today the subject is painting.

I can't tell you the number of times I've taken an enthusiastic buyer into what I know is the perfect home for them, only to have them walk away because the color of the walls didn't appeal to them. You think I'm joking? Absolutely not.

People react to a potential home on a very emotional level. The first impression matters. And if that first impression is unappealing to them, they really won't look carefully at the rest of the house.

Staging Tips for Sellers: Painting your walls

Painting your home to ready it for sale is one of the easiest home improvements you can make, and it will help you sell your house. You may think the purple walls in your living room are pretty, but chances are that unless a buyer loves that exact color, it will turn them off. And the black wall in your bedroom. Um, no.

What colors do buyers like? Typically neutral colors sell. People can imagine their furniture in a house that has pretty, but neutral walls. Does that mean stark white or boring beige? Not at all.

  • Go with Earth tones (the browns, greens, blues, oranges, reds and tans that you would find in nature), which are warm, inviting colors. They'll make the buyer feel comfortable and welcome.
  • Creams and neutral yellows photograph beautifully. More importantly, a buyer can easily visualize their furniture in the rooms--those colors match just about everything. A light blue in the bedroom will help the buyer envision complete relaxation and a stress-free oasis.
  • Coffee colors are especially nice against hardwood floors. Oranges and reds are great colors for the kitchen because they stimulate the appetite and will make the buyer imagine eating in the house, as long as the hues are soft and appealing and not in your face.

Is a splash of bright color okay anywhere? Absolutely. Bathrooms are a great place to add some brightness. They're small enough so the thought of repainting doesn't scare a buyer off, but the color adds personality.

When in doubt, consult with your realtor--we assess homes every day and can help you find the right colors that will make your house shine... and sell.

What is the worst color you've ever seen in a house?

Waterfront like along a lake