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How to save money when preparing to sell your home

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - Right now, buying or selling a house is really a mixed bag. It can happen in literally a matter of minutes, or it can take quite some time, depending on what you are trying to sell or buy.

Most real estate agents agree that spring is the busiest home buying season of the year. By late April or May, most families have done their research, have visited open houses, and are ready to get serious about buying a home. When they do, they look at a variety of smaller but critical factors that can put your home at the top of their favorites list.

“For me, it’s been a bit stressful looking for a house. There are homes in my price range that I want to buy, but they don’t last very long on the market. When I find a house I like online, it's pretty much gone in about 24 hours so I don't even get my chance to view it,” said Vanna Hanway, potential home buyer.

Hanway is getting the help of a realtor, friends and family to find homes as soon as they're on the market. On the flip side, selling is not always smooth sailing just because people want to buy.

“Yea, even though it's still a sellers' market in the greater Indianapolis area, you still can't just throw a sign in the yard and expect to get top dollar for the home,” said Brett Young, Realtor RE/MAX.

Young says to sell your home fast and for top dollar, a few simple steps help.

First, fix any roof damage, as that's something potential buyers notice right away.

Then there are easier solution like cleaning the inside and outside and fix anything minor. That generally doesn’t cost much money, but it can be a big game changer.

There’s no such thing as a “perfect home,” and buyers will notice every little flaw. Find and fix whatever you can before putting your home on the market. If you don’t, buyers could get distracted by a few minor imperfections and look over the many positive features and amenities your home offers.

“A simple thing to do is cleaning your gutters so debris isn’t overflowing. And fix any sort of damaged wood on the outside. Also check for loose bricks in a paver or walkway. For anything like that, just button it up a little bit,” said Young.

Also, update your landscaping. Winter isn’t always kind to your yard, and it can take a while for the warmer weather to turn everything green. Help it along by investing in landscaping. Fresh mulch and flowers are inexpensive, and they go a long way when it comes to improving the appearance of your home.

“Personally, I started throwing down grass seed every year. And over the time the yard gets thicker and thicker and now I have no weeds, just a very thick lawn,” said Dewey Witte, Home Seller.

Witte has a home in the Valley Brook addition in Carmel. It's one of those houses not in the fast selling price range of $200,000 to $3,00,000. It’s more expensive, but very nice and big.

“It's still a tighter market in the upper priced points just because logic tells you there are not as many people who can afford a $700,000 home compared to those who can afford a $200,000 home. Everybody has to be patient and work with what the market brings,” said Young.

When getting ready to sell, take spring cleaning to a whole new level by removing clothing, wedding photos, and other decorations that make your home look claimed. Also, consider renting a storage facility for a few months to store your books, movies, collectibles, and bulky furniture. Ideally, your home should look and feel like a showroom by the time you list.

Witte fixed up a lot and lowered the price. Since then, he has seen increased activity.

“So over the 10 years that we've been here, and some of it recently, we've updated the kitchen, the flooring, furnaces, air conditioning, and the bathrooms,” said Witte.

Many buyers have waited out the winter and are ready. For them, it’s just a matter of timing.

“I still know what I'm looking for, and I'm still looking for something move in ready. So I'm still a little picky, but I still have time to be picky right now,” said Hanway.

Another simple tip for selling is to bring the outside in.

“You can clean your windows so it doesn't look like the seals are broken. They are just dirty so clean those and you can also put in a white light bulb to help brighten up the house,” said Shelby Meerhoff, RE/MAX.

So the key to buying and selling right now, is timing, price and a little bit of luck.

“Just yesterday I had 3 showings scheduled, and I like to check throughout the day because things are going so fast. And right before I left, there were 2 of those showings that were already pending for purchase,” said Meerhoff.

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