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Ask McEnearney: How do I prepare my home for the market without breaking the bank?

This week’s Q&A column is sponsored and written by Lisa Groover of McEnearney Associates Realtors®, the leading real estate firm in Alexandria. To learn more about this article and relevant Alexandria market news, contact Lisa at 703-919-4426 or email [email protected]. You may also submit your questions to McEnearney Associates via email for response in future columns.

Question: How do I prepare my home for the market without breaking the bank?

Answer: I am often asked this question when I am working with a seller getting ready to put their house on the market. Interestingly enough, I am currently in the process of helping several clients determine their pre-market punch list.

I start at the curb and walk through the property making a list of suggestions. I always explain that my observations are not a criticism of their taste or property condition, but what I am seeing buyers looking for in today’s market. I highlight what I see as the priorities and then we review the list together to decide which improvements to consider, and then get estimates from one of my (or their) preferred contractors.

One of my clients has stayed on top of so much throughout her ownership (new roof, two HVAC systems, and hardwood floors), however, there are a few things that will make a significant difference during the selling process.

The top priority on my list (and often the one that is extremely difficult for sellers) is PAINT! In this case, the previous owner was an interior designer who painted all the doors, trim and cabinets a caramel color. My client loves it because it goes beautifully with her furniture and accessories, however, changing it to white will appeal to a wider pool of buyers. She decided to replace the 25 year old white kitchen appliances, to a stainless suite that she bought during a Labor Day sale and they immediately modernized the kitchen!

And… replacing the cracked tile in the foyer will give buyers a positive first impression when they walk in the house.

One of my neighbors is not planning to move for six months, however, they asked if I would make suggestions for what they could gradually work on in the meantime. Luckily, he is extremely handy and has decided to do everything we discussed. From hanging a chandelier over the dining room table (which I happen to have in my garage), to changing the tarnished brass door hardware to brushed nickel, to repairing some damaged hardwood flooring and replacing old bathroom mirrors.

Decluttering is something that can be an ongoing process, even when you are not planning to sell your house. Nonprofit organizations are back to accepting donations of furniture and accessories, clothing, and household items. If you haven’t used it in 6 months… there is definitely someone out there who can.

As an example of some of the recent projects where a few changes made a big difference are as follows:

Please feel free to reach out to me for questions or to set up a time for a tour of your home!

Lisa Groover is a licensed real estate agent with McEnearney Associates, Inc. in Old Town Alexandria, VA. As an active member of the community since 1989, Lisa specializes in Alexandria, and is thrilled to have the opportunity to work closely with her friends, neighbors, former clients and their referrals.

In addition to enjoying the Old Town lifestyle and the art related events and activities, she is a member of a number of volunteer organizations. Having had nine Golden Retrievers, she is dedicated to helping other dog owners through the challenges of renting, buying and selling their home.

If you would like a question answered in our weekly column or to set up an appointment with one of our Associates, please email: [email protected] or call 703-549-9292.

McEnearney Associates Realtors®, 109 S. Pitt Street, Alexandria, VA 22314. Equal Housing Opportunity. #WeAreAlexandria

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