Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Get Your House Ready to Sell This Spring

Strategic Home Improvement Increases Your Home Value, Inside and Out

By Christine Emmick

Spring is a great time to do home improvement and when you’re selling a home, you need every one of those investment dollars to count. When a home buyer looks for houses for sale, curb appeal is not the only important factor anymore. Multi-photo listings and virtual home tours mean you need to have your house looking its best, both inside and out, before the real estate agent does a home appraisal.

Start with your home interior. Tackle the clutter and get rid of anything you do not use at least on a weekly basis. Give away what you don’t use, throw away the junk and store the rest. You’ll find dozens of storage facilities listed at Then decide whether you’ll hire a carpet cleaner or carpet installer. If your carpet is more than five years old or it is stained, it’s best to replace it with new, neutral colored carpet. Finally, get a few estimates from a painting contractor to give the interior walls a fresh look. Again, make sure you choose neutral house paint colors.

Next tackle the outside of the house. Attack the clutter here as well, and then consider new improvements like roof, windows, siding and exterior house paint which will ultimately raise the sale price of your home. Again, keep with neutral shades and be sure to choose colors that complement one another. In general, avoid blue with reds, and any purple, pink or orange hues. Also, make sure to get a copy of the insurance certificate of any roofer, window installer or painter before they do any work and check the references for each contractor as well.
Don’t forget the landscaping. People get their first impression of a property from the landscaping and simple inexpensive changes, such as adding an accent shrub or replacing mulch, can make a big difference. A general landscape contractor can bring an established landscape back to life, but it’s best to hire a landscape architect to re-design a badly maintained site. Early spring is the perfect time to hire a landscape contractor since most are eager to get to work after the off season.

You can do all this yourself, if you have the time and resources. Most people selling a house don’t have time to check a contractor’s references, let alone have the experience required to inspect their work. This is where a good staging company, like Staged for Success comes in. A staging company hires experienced contractors for you who have a proven record of reliability. Also, the staging company is often times able to negotiate a better contract price than a homeowner, mostly due to the volume of business they bring to that contractor.

Staged for Success, the premier staging company in the greater Pittsburgh area, provides free consultations to all prospective staging clients and offers online classes for both those looking to buy and sell a home. Try the Home Buyer Class if you want to know more about real estate agents, credit scores. The Home Sellers Class, which is geared to help you make the most of the selling process, gives details on what to look for in a real estate agent, as well as the particulars on how to make your home look its best. You can reach them at their website,, or by telephone at 1-877-615-3294.

Spend some time on home improvements this spring. This is the way you “Set the Stage” to sell your home successfully.

Content sponsored by Staged for Success, a full service home and business staging company serving the greater Pittsburgh area. For more information about Staged for Success, visit their website at
Christine Emmick is a freelance business and real estate writer based in the Pittsburgh area. You may contact Christine through her blog site at