When considering remodeling, make sure you understand the limits of the return on your investment. Most projects aren’t going to pay for themselves unless you’re simply bringing the property up to buyer expectations, or doing repairs the buyer’s lender is likely to require. Your Oregon First Realtor® can help you decide which projects are likely to be demanded by the market, given the price you’re seeking.
Also, be sure to use licensed, bonded and insured contractors and pull all necessary permits. You may be surprised how many weekend projects require a permit. If it involves plumbing or electrical, even simple things like installing a ceiling fan or GFI, a permit is almost always required.
Check out the Oregon Construction Contractors Board consumer website. They have some useful information like a search function that allows you to verify your contractor is licensed and see their enforcement history, if any.
Another useful site is PermitsProtect.info. You can look up whether you need a permit, how to get one, green building tax credits that are available to you, etc.
Laws are changing all the time. One of the main objectives of the continuing education classes we offer our agents almost every day of the week (including three hour Saturday classes) is to keep our agents up to date on those changes.
Three recent changes you may not be aware of have to do with smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors, and woodstove certification. Below are links to pamphlets explaining seller obligations.
From the Office of the State Fire Marshall
From the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality
There are other ways you can get on the wrong side of the law — not knowing the Federal requirements regarding lead based paint disclosure and notification, not understanding your obligations to conduct well water testing, not complying with State requirements for abandoned underground tanks (oil or septic), etc. This is why it’s so important to have an Oregon First agent on your side. Educating yourself is great, but you can never have as much of the knowledge that’s vital in your specific situation as someone who does this for a living.
Staging and Decorating
Once you’ve made sure you’re complying with the law, and completed any remodeling you and your Oregon First agent feel is necessary, It’s time for the final touches. We’ve made a few suggestions below to get you started — but, as always, be sure to talk with your Oregon First agent about the best ways to show off your home’s unique advantages.
Pack up 80-90% of your books, photos, knick-knacks and other décor. Leave your counters, shelves and furniture surfaces as spare as possible. Buyers need to be able to envision themselves living in your home – they want to see open, clean rooms where they can relax and imagine a space for their own belongings.
Keeping your home absolutely spotless is one of the biggest factors in ensuring it sells quickly and for the best possible price.
Consider hiring a professional to do a deep clean before you list your house. You can spend that time de-cluttering and packing away all the things you don’t use every day.
If you don’t want to hire a housecleaner, take it in stages. Once you’ve done your usual thorough cleaning job, focus on detailing every room.
Pay extra attention to:
• Interiors of cabinets and closets
• Window tracks and glass
• Underneath and behind furniture
• Trim, moldings, and picture frames
• Lamp bases and shades
• Inside light fixtures
If your house will be vacant, consider repainting the interior. Once you’ve moved your belongings out, every scuff on the walls will show.
Your house should be easy for a buyer to move around in without furniture impeding their tour. This may mean re-thinking room arrangements that are designed around the TV. Rooms should be furnished according to their intended use — no dining rooms as computer offices, for example.
Even if you don’t remodel, make sure doors are easy to open, handles don’t fall off cabinets, toilets aren’t running, etc.
Get Your Yard in Shape
Curb appeal is the first impression a buyer has of your home – and first impressions last. Plant colorful annuals in beds or pots, get rid of weeds, add fresh bark dust, and keep up on mowing and edging.
Bring in the Light
Open your shades and curtains so the rooms look as large and bright as possible. If it’s nice out, open a few windows.
A vase of fresh cut flowers in your entryway is a cheerful and homey way to welcome visitors. Bedrooms, also, can almost always benefit from some extra attention.
Put on Some Soft Music
Find a radio station that plays cheerful, relaxing music and play it quietly in the kitchen or living room. Background music masks the intimidating sounds of footsteps and private conversations in a quiet house.
Consider a Scent
People respond positively to natural scents, such as vanilla and lavender. Steer clear of synthetic or strong odors, which many people dislike or may even react to.
Need More Detailed Information?
Your Oregon First agent can help you with more specific advice, particularly about what repairs are likely to be demanded by buyers and/or required by their lenders. If you’re not yet working with an agent, please e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’re here to help.