Preparing Your Home to Sell

Most people think of the big things when considering what makes a property ripe and ready for sale, generating the interest of lots of buyers and creating lots of incoming offers on the sale. But what many do not realize is that by just changing one aspect of your home’s interior, they can and will significantly enhance the value of that home. By installing quality, buyer-friendly flooring, the value of a home will jump up, as will the interest from buyers looking for the perfect place.

FLOORING: Determining the right type, durability, look, and cost

Once you have answered some of these questions, it will be easier to decide on a type of flooring. Typically basements, children’s rooms and play areas plus hallways require heavy duty and more durable carpets or hard floors. There are many options that will provide both durability and aesthetic enjoyment, such as Berber carpeting or commercial grade laminate flooring. Master bathrooms, kitchens, mudrooms and other high-traffic areas are well-suited for the use of ceramic tiling, which while can get expensive, is an excellent choice because of its long-lasting quality and stylish appearance. Buyers are naturally drawn to homes with more ceramic tiling and high-end floors.

PAINT: Finding the right color and style

Style is relative. Where one person may want a kaleidoscope of colors all around them, others may find a pastel color palette appealing. The single best way to accommodate potential buyers in all situations is to install modern materials, but in neutral tones that will work with any design scheme. The key to style is not in the colors, rather the latest available types out there. If you choose a Sisal carpet, buyers will automatically be pulled in by the versatility and modern look of the flooring. High-gloss marble tiling for more upscale homes is also a good choice, but again keeping with a neutral color palate. Since walls, furniture and other design elements are adjustable it is important, especially in cases where you are looking to sell the home, to install light to medium neutrals. So, for instance when considering hard wood floors, opting for a walnut may be better than cherry since the latter will show dust, is slightly more limiting in terms of the rest of the design scheme and may not be liked by all potential buyers.


There are two types of quality: good quality and bad quality and nothing in between. By opting to invest a little more now, the returns will be far more fruitful later. Some cheaper flooring companies try to get away with lower prices using tactics like camouflaging low quality carpet with better padding or offering quality grades that have the durability to last only a year or so before needing to be replaced.

When choosing flooring, save by getting better quality materials and products that are on sale or at an outlet rather than lower-priced and consequently lower quality to begin with. A little extra now can translate into a significant difference later, in many aspects.

If you want your home looking great while at the same time giving you great returns at the time of sale, there is a huge opportunity to do so by enhancing the style, color and quality of your existing flooring. Whether you opt to install fresh, durable carpet in the basement or new porcelain tiling in a guest bathroom – no matter where you make the changes, they will be noticeable to buyers, which means success for you!

How to price your home to sell in this market

Basically, a home’s worth is determined by its market value. How is “market value” determined? Most often, it’s figured by a comparison (“comp”) with homes similar to yours in the surrounding area. So, if the homes in your neighborhood average, say, $250,000, then it’s likely that the value of your property will fall in the same range. But market value is also determined by a number of factors including the following:

  • External Factors:
    There can be several external factors influencing the value of your home. One is “curb appeal”, or the first impression your property makes upon prospective buyers. A home that’s in excellent condition on the outside will make a great first impression; a home in poor repair instantly loses its appeal to buyers. Other factors can include lot size, popularity of an architectural style of property, water/sewage systems, paved roads, sidewalks, etc.
  • Internal Factors:
    The condition of a home’s interior also has a huge influence on prospective buyers. When you’ve demonstrated “pride of ownership” and kept up the maintenance (quality paint, trim, molding, etc.), a buyer’s interest will immediately perk up for the simple reason that they know your care and concern will result in less cost and maintenance for them. Other internal factors include construction quality, condition of appliances, size and number of rooms, heating/cooling type, energy efficiency, etc.

Supply and Demand

“Supply and demand” simply refers to the number of homes for sale versus the number of buyers. When there are more homes than there are buyers, prices tend to be lower. When there are a lot of buyers chasing few homes, then prices tend to rise. In effect, supply and demand affects how quickly your home will sell. Location More than likely, you already know the old saying, “There are three main factors in real estate – location, location, location.” While that’s not the whole story, desirability is a big factor for home buyers. They may want to live in particular school district known for its education excellence…a great and safe neighborhood with rising property values…etc.

“But I know my home is more valuable than a lot of the other homes in my neighborhood”

Aren’t allowances made for this? Definitely! Sometimes, it can be difficult to find homes exactly comparable to your own. So, dollar adjustments are made for the differences between your home and comparable properties.

Where do I find sales comparison information?

The easiest source to access is your Realtor. After all, it’s his or her business to know such information! But, there are also other sources you can tap into in order to get a complete picture of your home’s value in comparison to others in your neighborhood. Here’s an overview of them:

  1. The Local Assessor’s office
    It’s very likely that your local assessor will be able to provide the sales history of a particular house, neighborhood, or style of architecture. Many assessors also provide lists of recent sales which you can browse and compare to the assessment roll. Today, many municipalities provide local sales and assessment information online making it very easy to access. Check with your local government agency to find out if they provide this service.
  2. Online companies
    You can search for these companies using the Google search engine and the keywords “comparable home sales” or “comparable sales.” Some companies offer free information; others charge a nominal fee. If you wish to get more specific, you can Google “real estate database” and type in the name of your particular state to get additional property information.
  3. Your local newspaper
    The key to getting the best value is finding and matching the right buyer to your home. And that’s the job of the Realtor! He or she should work hard to qualify those buyers upfront so the right people are viewing your property! In other words, the Realtor should weed out “lookers” and other unsuitable buyers as a first step in working with you. See how I do that for you by calling me.

The key to getting the price you want (or close to it) for your home

The key to getting the best value is finding and matching the right buyer to your home. And that’s the job of the Realtor! He or she should work hard to qualify those buyers upfront so the right people are viewing your property! In other words, the Realtor should weed out “lookers” and other unsuitable buyers as a first step in working with you. See how I do that for you by calling me

How much does it really cost to buy a home?

If you’re in the market to buy a home…What’s it really going to cost you? How much money will you actually need? Let’s walk through an example. We’ll assume a purchase price of $150,000.

For starters, there’s a transfer tax. That tax (in the state of Pennsylvania) runs at 1%, or in our example, $1,500. Next, we have title insurance. This can vary based on the price of the home, but typically we see it around .7% of the home price. This puts it a little under $1,100. If you’re putting less than 20% down, you’ll need to escrow your taxes and insurance. Again, this will change based on the exact location of your home. It will also depend on when, during the year, you close on your home. We’ll assume for our example, $3,000 in taxes, and insurance of $500. Next we have mortgage fees. This will vary from lender to lender. I work directly with Dominion Mortgage, who guarantees the lowest closing costs and the lowest rate, which is typically $1,000. Next we have an appraisal, which costs about $400.

Lastly is inspections. These aren’t necessarily a direct closing costs, but definitely an ordinary expenses when buying a home. They can range from $350-$700, depending which inspections you have done. So let’s take a look at all this:

Transfer Tax$1,500
Title Insurance$1,100
Mortgage Fee$1,000

Comparing these costs to the purchase price, we’re looking at about 5%. On top of that, you may need to put money down on the home. For an FHA finance, the most common type of financing, you’ll be required to put down 3.5%. Here, that comes out to $5,250. Add that to the $7,500, and we’re looking at a pretty big bill.

So what are your options? How does anyone afford a home? In some cases, we still have access to 100% financing programs for qualified buyers. If this is of interest to you, please call me, and we’ll see if we can get you 100% financed. If this isn’t an option, we can also ask for what’s called, seller assistance. This is where the seller agrees to roll the closing costs, into the purchase price. Essentially, this allows the buyer to finance these closing costs over the life of the loan, and only require the buyer to bring the 3.5%.

So what’s best for you? That’s a great question, and I’d love to help you work through it. Give DLP Realty a call and we’ll help you through the details or what will best suit your situation.