Selling Your Chicago Real Estate: Top Ten Items To Consider

Yesterday I covered the basics of staging your Chicago condo or home, and as promised, today I have some more specific tips.  As a Chicago real estate agent, I have sold many homes, and seen even more staged for potential buyers.  Here are the top ten items that you should consider when putting your home on the market:
l. A New Coat of Paint.  One of the easiest way to transform your home is a fresh coat of paint – it will give everything a crisp, fresh look.  It is indeed time-consuming, but painting (or re-painting, as the case may be) your home a neutral color will pay big dividends when it is time to sell. For example, I once had a town home on the market with dining room and living room both painted a retro peach color, and I suggested that the client change the color to a more contemporary hue, like a neutral cream.  After only after six months on the market, my client finally took the plunge and repainted the rooms – and within three weeks, the condo sold.
2. The Condition of the Floors. One of the first things that prospective buyers notice is the wear and tear of hardwood floors, so make the effort and bring in a flooring expert to see how it can be corrected. Keep in mind that refinishing hardwood floors is not particularly expensive – it typically can be done for approximately $4.00 to $6.00 a square foot.
3. Clear the Clutter – Time after time, I have noticed that homes and condos that do not have excess things hanging around and sell faster than those that do.  Clutter is visually confusing, so buyers will not realize the full potential of your home, and besides, messiness is simply unappealing.
4. Minimalism.  Less is more when it comes to selling your Chicago real estate, and I have learned that buyers react very well when there is not a lot of furniture to distract them from the structure and features of the property.  A minimal furniture arrangement can make your condo seem like a more attractive and inviting purchase.
5. Updated Kitchens.  It is definitely possible to update your kitchen on a small budget, and this will go a long way towards selling your property.  For instance, you can change the counter tops – there are plenty of different material options and by changing such a major feature, your kitchen will certainly have a fresh new look.  Also, if the cabinets are old or dull, consider painting them.
6. Clean Carpets.  Even if there are only a couple of small stains on the carpet, it is a real turnoff to a perspective client.  Therefore, you should have it cleaned before the property comes on the market.
7. Sparkling Bathrooms and Tubs – Make sure the grout on the walls and where the tub and wall meet is in perfect and spotless condition.  A dirty bathroom is definitely off-putting, even if it is something fairly easy for a new owner to fix.
8. What’s that Smell?  Ask your best friend (they are the most likely to be honest) if he or she detects any odors especially if you are a smoker or have a pet.  I have had more people than you could imagine walk out of a showing, or not consider a particular home because of odors – especially the smell of smoke.
9. Wall Hangings and Pictures – Again, less is more.  In my experience as a Chicago real estate agent, I have found that when the walls of a home have a large amount of pictures, hangings, or other adornments, the buyer is distracted and may not realize the space’s potential.
10. Empty Space – If you have to relocate before you sell, make sure there is still a minimal amount of furniture and accessories that remain.  Alternatively, you can rent furniture and have the place staged appropriately – it is likely that your agent can help with his.  Furthermore, it is important to note that in the current market, buyers typically reduce the price of the property by approximately $10,000 or more when they walk into a property that is totally bare, because it is a sign that the sellers have to sell as soon as possible.