Preparing your home for sale

Castles in the Sand

William Morris was an English textile designer who was part of the Arts and Crafts movement in the late 1800s. One of his famous quotes is, “Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.”

Which brings us to what you need to do during the summer if you’re planning on putting your home up for sale in the fall. Removing all the negatives in your house, and believe me every house has them, is particularly important in the slightly weaker real estate market we’re starting to see. In particular, homes and condos that need renovations are frequently being passed over by buyers who don’t have the time or inclination to do the work even for a lower sale price.

If your home has an outdated kitchen and bathrooms which you were hoping would be overshadowed by the charm of Anna Maria Island, it may be time to rethink how a buyer will look at these rooms. We live in a go-go, busy world, and buyers who are making a permanent move can be overwhelmed by the logistics of pulling it all together and can’t face moving in and taking on a project.

Second homebuyers are almost always from out of the area and really don’t want to have a long-distance relationship with a contractor.

If a major renovation isn’t in your budget, then at the very least, for starters, follow William Morris’ advice and remove any and all extraneous items from your home. Clutter on kitchen countertops makes a kitchen look smaller and prevents potential buyers from seeing beyond the clutter. Clean and shine appliances, including the inside of the refrigerator. Buyers are nosey. And clean out the pantry or cabinets of dishes and groceries you don’t need.

Same for bathrooms. Remove the five bottles of shampoo and cream rinse in the tub, as well as the hanging hair dryers, flat irons and electric razors. Buy new towels, and don’t let the kids use them, and scrub any mildew on the tile. Ask your friend to come over with her white glove and honestly tell you if she can smell any kind of mildew odors or any other odors in your home.

Also, I think William Morris might have had some advice about the contents of closets. What’s the guideline for keeping clothes? If you haven’t worn it in a year get rid of it, it’s no longer useful. However, the gold jacket you bought for your sister’s wedding five years ago may no longer be useful, but since it’s still beautiful, you should keep it, just not in your closet. Store it with the rest of your wedding and cruise wardrobe off premises.

Finally, clean windows are a must, cleaning up trash in the yard is a must, putting away the kid’s toys is a must, power washing mildew from around the home is a must and having working systems like heat, air conditioning and plumbing are a must. And the cherry on top is painting the front door a fresh tropical color that blends in with the overall color scheme. It may not be useful, but it will be beautiful and memorable.

The more you dig into William Morris’ quote, the more it makes sense in our everyday lives. Displaying a life-size statue of a rare African white rhinoceros is not useful in our everyday life, but to you, it’s beautiful standing next to your outdoor grill. Just remember, potential buyers may not feel the same way.

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