According to CoreLogic, a real estate data aggregator, 47 percent of Jacksonville area homes and condominiums with mortgages were "underwater" at year end 2010. This means the projected market value of the home was less than the then current outstanding balance of the mortgage. Let's face it: It's not a seller's market. Sellers want to get every possible dollar out of the sale of their home, but given so many are underwater and potentially taking a loss in the process, there is a strong desire to minimize pre-sale investments. For those looking to sell their homes, they'll need to pull out all the stops, and it starts with simple home improvements. Mr. Handyman, a nationally recognized name in the home repair and home improvement business, is experienced in working with sellers and realtors to prepare homes for sale. They provide the following advice for homeowners looking to make their home standout in a competitive market:
  1. Remove clutter. Rooms packed with furniture, closets full of stuff, and garages that don't allow a car inside all contribute to a home appearing small and cramped. Removing clutter and excess décor helps your home look larger and simplifies the eventual move once the home sells.
  1. Patch nail holes. Filling unsightly nail holes is an easy way to make old drywall look new. Using a spackle knife, fill in each hole with lightweight putty and scrape the excess off the walls. Wait for the putty to dry and sand the spot down until it's smooth. Then, paint the repaired spots with a primer.
  1. Paint the walls a warm or neutral color. While pink might be your favorite color, it's not universally celebrated. Stick to colors that will appeal to the largest audience of buyers. A fresh coat of paint will make the house look clean and new.
  1. Restore baseboards. While little things like dinged and dirty baseboards go overlooked by the average homeowner, they stand out to the increasingly picky consumer. Clean the smudges and scrapes off the baseboards and fill in any dents with spackle. Apply primer to the repaired spots, and paint the baseboards a white or eggshell color.
  1. Bathroom Tile Floor Consider tile flooring. Tile doesn't hold dirt like carpet, is cool in the Florida heat, and is impervious should the kids track water in from the pool. Tile floors that are lighter in color are most popular right now.
  1. Emphasize lighting. Different lighting options can influence the mood of any room, but there's no substitute for natural lighting. One way to maximize natural lighting is to hang mirrors opposite of windows. Come nighttime, lights should emphasize decorative pieces in the room.
  1. Update kitchens and bathrooms. Before making major renovations, keep in mind that minor upgrades can go a long way. An easy and inexpensive way to breathe new life into a bathroom or kitchen is to replace old light fixtures, faucets and hardware with modern alternatives. A thorough cleaning, re-grouting as required, and replacement of old and mildewed caulk, will help a tub or shower look fresh and clean.
  1. Install a closet system. Homebuyers want plenty of storage space, and an unorganized, crowded closet won't appeal to the masses. Anything that isn't needed should be donated. Once the closet is empty, create a custom storage solution that maximizes space.
  1. Consider window upgrades. Not only will new windows make the home look more enticing, but double pane windows can save the future homeowner 25 percent on heating and cooling bills over old single pane models. Dispose of outdated drapes and bent mini-blinds and let the sunshine in.
  1. Exterior Wood Door Cleaning Improve the curb appeal. The outside of your home can make a strong first impression, and a well-maintained yard with eye-catching plants and hard-scaping adds elegance to your listing. Consider power washing the vinyl siding and deck, while adding a fresh coat of paint to entry doors.

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Mr Handyman of Clay County owner Mike McCalley Mike McCalley is owner of Mr. Handyman Serving Greater Jacksonville, FL providing Handyman Services to Northern Clay and St. Johns Counties, and Duval County, Florida. Mike is active in the Clay County Chamber of Commerce , BizNet, and gives back to the local community and develops the leaders of tomorrow as Scoutmaster of BSA Troop 20 in Orange Park, FL. Mike can be reached at 904-579-2205. All Mr. Handyman franchises are Fully Insured - General Liability and Workers Compensation. Each franchise is individually owned and operated. Some services are subject to state and local licensing and may not be available at Mr. Handyman all locations. Click here to request service in your area.