- 522 E. Front Street
Traverse City, MI 49686
Ready for a Fresh Start in the Grand Traverse region? Beginning a new adventure in your housing status can be exciting and a bit scary. I know, I have been there. I bought, sold and remodeled homes in several states and on three continents before we built our home in Traverse City 20+ years ago. It can be complicated.
I get very excited helping people realize their real estate needs. My specialty is untying the knots and smoothing out the process. I know the Grand Traverse Area, its neighborhoods and niches. I know all the steps to make your sale or purchase go as smoothly as possible.
Together we can work towards fulfilling your real estate needs and dreams. If you are thinking about a real estate change and want to know how to proceed or if you are ready to begin the adventure: Call me for a Fresh Start!
A former business owner, educator, mom, non-profit leader and volunteer Penny knows how to "Get the job done" with efficiency, caring and timely communication.
She has designed her own line of food products gaining distribution from Bloomingdale's to Nordstrom; truly learning the importance of fulfilling the needs of clients and customers.
Starting with Brownies as a little girl, Penny has always volunteered in her community. A favorite position was volunteering as the Director and Co-ordinator for a National Artists Summer Workshop series. A constant in all of Penny's endeavors is "people" skills; including a good sense of humor and patience.
Penny always sees the glass as more then half full and looks forward to helping you find your new home "Up North".
Fun Real Estate Reads
Just for fun! Links and Facts about Real Estate to put a smile on your face!
Unusual items in rooms found while showing homes.
SELL IT FASTER & AT A HIGHER PRICE
GET READY TO LIST YOUR HOUSE Copyright 2015 Penny Herberger
You have made the decision to sell your home, now what? Just the thought of selling your home can be scary. Take it in steps, baby steps will work just fine. And remember - Breath! These steps will guide you to getting ready to list your home at top price.
The time and money you spend now should raise the value of your home so at closing there is more money in your pocket. Generally, the more “move in ready” a home is, the higher the value. Many of these steps are things you can do for the cost of paint and cleaning supplies.
As each home is unique so will be the process of getting it ready to list. However, each home will need the same basic steps checked off the “to do list.” Try to complete these basics steps before it is officially on the market.
Give yourself a deadline. You don’t want to feel you’ve been selling your house “forever” when it isn’t even on the market yet!
A good agent will advise you and guide you with preparation for listing and setting the asking price. Your Realtor should develop and discuss an individualized and specific marketing plan for your home and walk you through the complete selling process from Listing to Sold.
Before pricing and showings, do these steps. Remember the old, over used adage, “You only get one chance to make a “First Impression.”
This list looks long. That is because I am covering the topic for many people. Each home is individual and most likely won’t need to work on each point in each step. Go through and cross off what you don’t need to do. Take it one step at a time, one project at a time, baby steps.
Ready? Let’s get started!
A. Collect all records, papers, warrantees, legal paperwork and documents.
You are going to be asked for them sooner or later so now is a good time to get it done - then you won’t have a hair pulling situation when you need information fast. For some of you this will simply be checking through your household files. Others may discover that finding all the warrantees is a challenge. You know you put them away for safe keeping but you just don’t remember where that is. Therefore, I recommend that you clear out a small drawer in the kitchen or office area or set up a file in a box or basket that is dedicated to nothing but household papers so you don’t do the same thing again.
Unless your home is new you are probably going to be asked how old your roof, furnace and/or windows are. If your home is new you may field questions about your builder and guarantees and warrantees on the house. You may be asked when you last had your septic pumped or well inspected and who serviced or repaired anything you have had serviced or repaired. You may also be asked what your utility bills have been on an annual basis. If you don’t have the past bills try calling your utility provider to get copies of bills. (There may be a small fee.) Won’t it feel good to go to your drawer and pull out the information with the snap of your fingers?
Warrantees, papers, service records and user manuals forany appliance that is staying with the house: washer, dryer, refrigerators, stove, water softener, furnace, air conditioning, jacuzzi tubs, pools, water features, sound systems, vacuum systems, garage door openers. You get the drift.
Legal paperwork and documents The deed, legal documents, subdivision or community regulations and agreement, any papers relating to an estate property or other legal issues such as easements or title issues. Check to be sure you know where they are. Keep key legal documents in a safe or locked file.
B. Clean it out and Clean it up.
Buyer’s frequently give homes a “nickname” to help them identify the one they are talking about after seeing several. You don’t want yours to be “Smelly House, Dirty House or Cluttered House.” You need to really clean like your boss and spouse are coming for dinner or your mother-in-law for a week.
Smells, dirt and clutter top the list of price slashers for a home. They drive down appeal of a home fast, and frequently permanently. The hard part is you probably can’t smell your own home. It is just the way home smells. It is strongly suggested that you “borrow” the nose of someone who loves to “tell it as they see it" or in this case smell it. The nose should not be too familiar with your home.
Smells are #1 most offensive issue It is the strongest memory sense that we have. All you have to do is say “popcorn” and you can smell the movie theatre.
Pets? Pet odors are prime offenders. We all love out pets, and we probably don’t smell ours, but others do. Litter box? Ouch! Clean pet places throughly. Remember the coach and chairs and pet beds and toys.
Mold and damp? Not only does the smell make you wince, but many people are allergic to them. An even bigger issue is they frequently signal a problem. A great big red flag waving in a Buyer’s eyes. Check for mold and have it removed, professionally if necessary. Get a dehumidifier or at least a fan to help move and dry the air. If it is warm enough, open windows.
Kids? My son hid a bowl of ice cream and peanut butter and jelly sandwich remains in his dresser. Boys, especially, like to leave dirty clothes stuffed in their closet or drawers because it is easier than putting them in the dirty clothes. Whatever, check that your darling isn’t the source of smells. (Girls generally don’t cause odors just high laundry and water bills.) Freshly washed blankets, linens, curtains and rugs make a room smell fresh and welcoming.
Foodie? Sorry but forget the fish and strong spices while selling the house. These odors linger for days and don’t smell delicious just stale within hours of cooking. Washing the dishes doesn’t clean the air. What a good excuse to eat dinner out.
Please don’t fill the house with “spring flowers” or “clean linen” or any other air fresheners. Buyer’s might have an allergic reaction. Some Buyers might think there is a problem you are trying to mask.
Make it sparkle! Dig deep down. Wash the windows inside and out so the light comes in and they sparkle. Clean windows are one of the most important things. Clean every surface - even the walls get dusty.
Clean the tile and grout in the bathrooms and kitchen. Buyers will judge how well you have maintained the house by how clean these things are. Besides, think how you would feel about other people’s dirt especially in the bathroom or kitchen in the house where you are moving.
People look in your cupboards to see how clean you really are so sort, clean and organize kitchen drawers and cupboards.
Clean the closets and thin them out so they look larger. A closet that is overflowing with the clothes squeezed together screams “There isn’t enough storage!” Not good. Same for all the storage areas - clean and clear. The Bonus: If you get rid of it now it will make your move that much easier.
Clear it out! We all have our personal things around our home, photos, collections, any matter of nicknacks. (We may not consider them nicknacks, but others might.) These personal items make our home Ours. That also makes it hard for potential buyers to imagine making it Theirs. Since the objective is to make it their’s, pack away your collections so they are ready to move to your new home. It is hard to pack your belongings away. It will seem bare so walk through the house and make mental pictures, then pull out the boxes and wrapping materials. Before you put the packing material away, ask your Realtor or a really good friend that tells the hard truth if more needs to be packed. Tables, mantels and shelves should be fairly clear.
The same with dressers, bathroom counters and kitchen counters. You want the space to look big, easy to clean and for the Buyer to image their belongings in that space. If you need certain things out, like daily meds or small appliances, have a basket handy to pop them in and store in a cupboard before showings.
Don’t forget the garage. Clean it out. After all, what are you really going to want to take with you? Get rid of as many stains on the garage floor as possible. Remember, Clean = larger.
Don’t forget storage areas, basement, and any free standing buildings. Again, it makes your moving easier and is a great time to donate to your favorite charity.
If you don’t have time or can’t do this step alone, consider hiring a cleaning pro. A Clean House adds $$$ to your home’s value.
Find a new use Is there a room or area that you always wished you had? As you clear things out of rooms see if there is a way to cleverly add that space. Example: you cleared out all the old toys and craft items you haven’t used in years, now there is a large area in the family room where you could place a desk with shelves above it, add a nice light and comfortable desk chair and there is an “office space.” Using a third bedroom as an office? Turn it back into a guest room by adding a bed and a comfortable chair. Move your files to the closet. If you don’t have an extra bed or coach, ask a family member or friend if they have one you can borrow. This is called staging and it makes a big difference. Buyers should be shown the potential of what rooms can be.
C. Do repairs or get estimates for major work.
No one, well few, wants to buy what seems like an endless money/time pit. Take care of as many repairs as you can. Knock off the small, nickel and dime, repairs. They may only take a few minutes but a long list of needed repairs can make a Buyer wonder - with his feet and wallet moving away - what else needs doing and how much will it cost? A leaking faucet can suggest that a lower level of maintenance has been done on the house.
If there are major issues, roofs, furnace or such that you decide not to do, it is a good idea to get estimates of what it will cost to have done. You will need to consider these costs when you and your Realtor set your asking price. The repair may cost $$$ but not doing it can at times reduce the value of your home much more.
Having a home inspection done could be a very good idea. Inspections should remove the surprise of problems such as mold, foundation issues, electrical issues etc. lurking in the dark. A good inspection is a strong selling point.
Set a budget Make a list of all the things that need to be done, then decide where to best spend your dollars. Ask your Agent for his/her opinion. Remember this is money you should get back with a higher selling price.
Plumbing issues. A dripping old faucet sends bad signals just like an S O S message. If pipes have leaked under the sinks you may want to fix the bottom shelve of the cupboard after you fix the leak. If the toilet doesn’t stop running, replace the insides. If the bathroom floor is spongy, check the source and correct it. This could very well be signaling a major issue. How are the pipes in the basement? How about those going to appliances such as the washer and refrigerator? How are the outdoor spigots? Plumbing will have to be in good shape before you sell, so fix it before you show it. Don’t lose a sale over something you most likely will have to fix before you close.
Electrical issues For safety sake, be sure everything electrical is in good order. Check that all outlets and fixtures work and there are no bare wires or rogue connections. An electricians or general inspection is strongly suggested.
Change burned out lights inside and out. It looks like poor maintenance if lights are not working and you will be able to better see all your hard work!
Counter tops What shape are your’s in? Are there stains, cuts or chips? If yes, have them fixed or replaced. Be sure that you clear them off. Put the toaster away and all those things that make them cluttered
Kitchen and Bathroom Change out the hardware if they are dated. Replace dated light fixtures. Consider painting lights, sometime that alone will update them. Paint and repair walls so they are fresh, bright and neutral. Remember to check for settling cracks and chipped corners. Put new, fresh towels in the bathroom, neatly folded. You might consider saving them for open houses so they stay looking fresh.
Paint can transform You don’t have to paint all the rooms. Those areas that are seen first and are most important - front entrance, kitchen and baths. Fresh paint really freshens up a room. Paint fades each year -- how many years ago did you paint? Even the same color will freshen a room.
You might want to consider repainting rooms with strong colors. Color is great but not everyone likes strong and even if they do, their idea of strong may be at opposite ends of the rainbow to yours. Again, neutral (note I am not saying bland) makes it easier for buyers to visualize theirbelongings in the room.
Be sure your front door and the stoop are painted and in good repair. Buyers stand there while waiting for the door to be unlocked or answered. That gives them time to note the condition. The front doorway and entrance reaffirm the expectation level set by the curb appeal. Messy and tired, suggest a needy home. Fresh and clean suggest well cared for and maintained.
D. Build up curb appeal and first impressions
It is a cliche to say it. I have said it before in this article. You are bored by hearing it. However, it is important to remember, “You only have one chance for a first impression.” Make your home look good from the street.
Mow the grass and trim the shrubs. Not expensive to do or have done but it makes an important impression of how you take care of your home. Look around at other homes, those with neat yards look more expensive then those with shaggy lawns. If it is a natural setting, get rid of the limbs and leaves. Make it look inviting.
Plant flowers Even if just pots of color placed at the front door or along the walk way, they are inviting and friendly. Be sure that you keep them watered so they don’t look half dead. Better not to have them then to have it look like you don’t care.
General outside maintenance Sweep the drive and the walk to the front door and the porch. Paint areas such as window trim and door jams, light post, mailbox post, garage door trim. Wash garage doors and windows. Consider if the siding needs power washing or if the deck needs cleaning. Remove items that are rusted like old swing sets and broken fences.
Mailboxes and house numbers Your mailbox should not look like it will fall over or that you will lose a hand to the spiders if you reach in. If it is at the end of the driveway, you may even want to plant a few flowers around it. If people can’t read your house number they can not find your home. Again, an early indicator to the buyer of the care you have taken of your home. An hour project at the most? Well worth the investment.
Sparkling windows, friendly flowers, neat trim grass or clean natural areas, suggest that this home is special to the owners, and could just be special to them.
We have covered a lot. In a perfect world you would fully complete all of these steps. We don't live in a perfect world.
E. I can help. Call Penny!
I will provide specific advice for your home. Let’s work together to set a timetable to get your home on the market and determine the right asking price. Then, with your input considered, I will develop a marketing plan for your home and get it sold. You will have my attention. I will keep you informed about activity on your home with frequent, clear communication. Working together you will achieve a
Penny Herberger, Realtor (231) 392-5969
Coldwell Banker Schmidt Realtors, 522 E. Front St. Traverse City, MI 49686
5 Inputs you don't know about Penny
* Studied Cooking at Le Cordon Bleu London, England
* Former board member Greater Sydney Australia Kindergarten Union
* First post university job was with Campfire Girls in Manhattan
* Dennos Museum Center Volunteer & amateur watercolorist
* Meets regularly with a group of Real Estate contacts who share upcoming listings before they hit the market. The "Early Bird" theory at work!
A broad, practical background leads to a focus on one thing:
Getting you the best results possible.
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