It's Time To Get Ready For The Tulsa Fall Real Estate Market
The fall Tulsa real estate season is gearing up, and if you are planning to put your house on the market after Labor Day, you need to start getting on the stick.
Here are some things to think about.
First impressions, no matter what kind of market it is, can make or break a sale. The professionals call this curb appeal. The idea is to make the exterior sparkle.
Sparkle can be achieved in a variety of ways. The most obvious is by cleaning, painting and landscaping.
Clean the mildew off those Tulsa porch surfaces and the window frames, and paint them if they need it.
Rake leaves and pick up papers. Buy plenty of mulch to give the still-empty flower beds a warm, inviting look.
If you do not have a front porch or front yard, consider window boxes, or put some heavy-duty pots by the entrance and fill them with flowers.
If the house does not have shutters, and shutters do not clash with the architectural style, buy some. Polish the brass doorknobs, knockers and mail slots until they glow.
Prospective Tulsa real estate buyers feel no constraints about looking in the windows of houses for sale. That means the interior of the house must look inviting, with pictures on the wall and furniture, and no clutter. Even the window treatments should say, "Take a longer look at me." If the exterior is lovely, but there are plain white shades in the windows, then it is time to get something new.
And make sure you wash the windows. There are firms that you can hire to do it, and by removing years of grime, you can fill the house with natural light.
The trick to getting your house ready for sale is to look at it first through a buyer's eyes.
Why? Well, in general, buyers do not see the house through the same eyes as the seller. The seller has years and memories tied up in the house. Buyers are looking for a sound structure at a good price. These days, especially, the typical buyer is interested in value -- how much house they can get for their money.
Drive or walk around the homes in Tulsa, Jenks, Broken Arrow, Bixby neighborhoods or community and take a good look at others' houses, regardless of whether those houses are for sale. Go home, stand across the street, and look at your house and yard. What makes your house better or worse than the others?
Then accentuate the positive of the home, eliminate the negative, and do not mess with in-between.
If you improve the exterior of a home, or "polish the apple," as some real estate agents put it, it could add as much as 10 percent to the sale price of your house.
After you take a look at your house, check out your neighbors'. Will they help sell your house or drive buyers elsewhere? If your neighbor tends to tinker with two or three old cars on his front lawn, someone might think twice about living next door.
There are two ways to handle the problem. You can appeal to your neighbor's better nature, telling him that cleaning up the yard will boost everyone's property values. Or you can make his life so miserable that he will clean the yard so you can sell the house and get you out of his life for good.
Either way, you will win.
Who should do the work you need to get the house ready for sale? Most real estate agents keep a list of plumbers, plasterers, painters and cleaning firms, in case their clients need them.
Often, small tasks, such as touch-up painting, tree-trimming or replacing light bulbs, remain undone because the homeowners just tend to get used to things. It's the basic cosmetic stuff, but it can make a difference in sale price.
Do not overdo the home preparation, though. Most agents believe that if a house has an old furnace that is working fine, it should be up to the buyer to replace it. If a buyer takes issue with that, then provide the name of a heating contractor to the buyer to deal with it.
One thing agents do not tolerate is Tulsa clutter. Consultant Lauren Harper Haden calls this the "cut in half" concept, in which the agent tells the seller, diplomatically, of course, to get rid of at least half of the stuff in every room. "Walk them through each room," Haden urges agents. Emphasize that the less clutter, the larger the house looks and the easier it will be for prospective buyers to see themselves living there.