8 Things to do to Prepare your Home for Sale

Posted: March 16, 2016 in Let's buy a Home... (or sell one...)
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Of course you’re going to call me when it’s time to sell your home, right?  And when I get there, I’ll be going over these things anyways.  However, it never hurts to be prepared and it’s not hard to get a jump on things.  When we sell your home, we’re looking to maximize the value, and minimize the time spent on the market.  Knowing this, it only makes sense to follow these steps.  Let’s get started!

1. Get an inspection –  I talk to all my clients about the benefits of having a pre-listing home inspection performed.  Regardless of how long you’ve lived in your home, there’s a lot of things that you now overlook, sometimes because you’ve just gotten used to the “quirks”, sometimes because you figure that it isn’t worth worrying about.  Buyers worry about it though, so should you.  Another pair of eyes to go over everything, and professional eyes, at that, are going to point out all the little things that you may have forgotten about that you can easily take care of before the FOR SALE sign goes in the ground.  If they turn out to be major issues, it’s better to know now than after an Agreement with a buyer is struck, because you and I both know that they’re coming back to the table to renegotiate.
Speaking of negotiating, having that inspection report available for potential buyers to browse during their showing is a fantastic tool for us to use.  Not only does it disclose everything (keeping you out of trouble), but it shows the buyer that we are aware of all the issues ourselves, and have priced your home in accordance with that already.

2. CLEAN –  The importance of this cannot be overstated.  Every buyer is going to come in and look at your home, and if they see grease stains on the stove, or pet hair in the corners of the floor, then that’s what they’re going to remember about your home first.  If you’re not keen on tackling the deep dirt, you might even want to consider hiring a professional cleaning service.  They’re not as expensive as you might think, and they can make a huge impression.

3. Declutter – Yes, you’ve heard it a thousand times from us, but there’s a reason for that.  It works!  You want only the items that you absolutely need out.  Neatly boxing up and storing the rest will help the buyer to visualize themselves in the home.  And we want that.
Besides…you don’t want to show off how much counter space you have by showing how much stuff you can cram and keep on it!

4. Fix er Up –  This is entirely dependant on your own abilities, of course, but there are likely several things that you can go around the house fixing.  Replacing faucets, repairing window screens, patching small holes in walls…these are the kind of thing that you can likely do on your own.  And if you can’t…

5. Get Quotes – There might be repairs that are worth doing that require a professional, and if the budget allows for it, it’s best to have that work completed before the first buyer walks through.  However, if the budget doesn’t allow for it, you still want to get those quotes.  Lets say the furnace is on it’s last legs…a buyer will always come in with an offer that reflects their perception on what it will cost.  In my experience, that number is always higher (sometimes MUCH higher) than the actual costs.  Having quotes arms you with the knowledge, but a written quote can be used in negotiations.  A very handy tool, I must say!

6. Paint – This could easily be grouped in with #4, but really, I feel it’s its own category.  They say a gallon of paint is worth a thousand dollars, and where I don’t know if I’d hold the math up on that one, it IS the renovation that has the highest return on investment.  There are a couple things to keep in mind though.  If you can’t paint a straight line to save your life (don’t worry, there are tons out there that can’t), hire a professional.  Nothing stands out worse than a crooked paint job.

7. Curb Appeal – Remember, that first impression is the most important.  Making sure that the exterior of the house is clean, and spending some time doing a bit of gardening (both the front and backyard), can improve the overall impression dramatically. I’ve actually seen people pull up to a house that they wanted to see, and just based on what they see from the road or driveway, they pull away.  What a waste!  You could have the most beautiful interior of a home going, but if they can’t get past the front door, it won’t make a difference.

8. Remember Why You’re Selling! – This might sound obvious, but everything boils down to and hinges on this.  Whether it’s the first of the Spring, or the middle of Winter, when the time is right for the sign to go on your front lawn, don’t put things off.  Everybody’s motivation for selling is unique.  Sometimes it’s a work relocation, sometimes you’ve outgrown your current home.  Sometimes the reasons aren’t so pleasant (but that doesn’t mean it has to be a bad experience).

Finally (and possibly the hardest), try to look at your home through the eyes of a buyer.  Remember what it was that attracted you to buy it in the first place, and also what were the things that almost turned you off?  Did you take care of those things?  Odds are, new buyers are going to feel much the same way you did the first time you stepped through the door.

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