Essential tips when putting your house on the market
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By Ken Schrier  May 30, 2014 12:00 am

Everyone always has advice to give. Bundle up. Respect your elders. Save for a rainy day. Eat your vegetables. Don’t talk to strangers. Don’t eat yellow snow. We have heard them all. Sometimes we listen, sometimes we don’t.

I’m not here to tell you whether you should eat yellow snow or not (personally, I wouldn’t). 

I am here however, to talk about what you may or may not want to do to get your home ready for sale.

It starts with curb appeal. For some buyers, the front of the home dictates the visit beyond the front door.

Make sure your yard is tidy and kept up. Make sure the lawn is trimmed and power wash the outside of the home if possible. You may even volunteer to do the neighbor’s yard to make sure you look good (I’m sure they won’t mind). Think about how many cars are in front. 

If possible, keep the driveway clear of extra cars, boats and trailers.

When a buyer walks into a home, the senses take over. Smells come first, so make sure the home smells fresh. Nothing turns off a buyer faster than animal and smoke odors. Small plug-ins can help as long as they are not overpowering. Jasmine or Apple seem to work the best.

There is an old saying, “Music tames the savage beast.” I actually like it better as “music tames the savage buyer!” Playing low, instrumental jazz is always a good idea. If you don’t have any, turn your TV on to your local cable station, choose a smooth jazz music station and make sure it is not too loud.

Make sure the home is kept up – beds are made, dishes are out of the sink and bathrooms are clean. It doesn’t need to be a model home, but an organized home is more appealing to a perspective buyer.

Pick and choose any improvement projects carefully. Remember that you may not have the same taste as the new owner, so pick neutral colors if you choose to paint. Dark accent walls may need to be lightened, and dated carpet may need to be replaced. Talk to your Realtor about your choices. A credit for certain things may be a better solution so you are not spending money on something that may be changed again as soon as escrow closes.


Ken Schrier is a licensed Realtor working locally for RE/Max PROs. His focus is working with buyers and sellers throughout Sonoma and Marin counties but focuses mostly in Rohnert Park, Cotati and Penngrove. He can be reached by email at or by direct cell at (707) 529-4819.

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