How To Sell A House

Sell My House

SELL | Prepare your home


What Do You Need To Do To Prepare Your Home For Sale?


Everyone has their own reason for considering a move; maybe a growing family has strained the spaces available in your present home? Possibly you have too much house for your current needs, or it just doesn't work for your present lifestyle and knocking out walls for major renovation doesn't seem to be a workable plan.

No matter what the reasons are for selling, remember that there is no time to delay: the process of preparing a home for sale can take a month or more.

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The first of the primary elements you need to get right for a successful sale is:

     • Condition

The other elements are:

     • Pricing

     • Marketing

Together they make up "POSITION", which is the key to realizing your home selling goals. I will guide you through each of these areas to get you the best buyer for your home.


Here's how to start:

Step 1. Take a Fresh Look at Your Home
Your home looks great to you, but a buyer wants to see it the way he and his family will be living in it -- so take a fresh look at your property. Hop in your car, drive around the block, and then scrutinize your home as a prospective buyer will see it for the first time. First, consider what's called "curb appeal;" does it need washing or painting? Does the driveway need repair work? Is the landscaping in good shape? Remember, be very critical; your prospective buyers will be.

Next, pull into the driveway and take a good, hard look. Is the yard neat and trimmed? What about the view from the front yard? Then, walk inside and size up the interior as though seeing it for the first time. Take a tour and imagine what your real estate agent might say about each room, look into cabinets, open doors, check out the bathroom.

Then, make a mental note of the things that might put off potential buyers, along with another list of the things that first attracted YOU to the house. Remember, it has become a great place for you, but a new buyer will see things that you don't.

 

Step 2. Clean Out the Clutter Before You Start to Sell
I know, I know, we are talking about all of the things that make it YOUR home, it's not "clutter"!  But prospective buyers don't look at it the same way you do. Before putting your home on the market, take a close look, and just do it: get rid of excess "stuff" in every area -- closets, attic storage, kitchen cabinets, drawers, bath vanities, and shelves -- everywhere. Remember, this is no time to be sentimental: if you don't use it, lose it.  It will give you a head start on your move.

Also, don't forget the furniture and fixtures when "lightening up" -- most of us put too much in too little space, which makes a buyer prospect think your home is too small.  Have a great moving sale with all the stuff you've collected and use the proceeds for paint or whatever other materials you might need for repair projects.

Potential buyers are seriously put off by clutter, and most of us drag a lot more things through life than we really need.  Of course, you can have perfectly good reasons not to part with things.  If you just can't bear to part with some possessions, consider packing/boxing some of it.  Best thing is to move things you can live without for a while into off-site storage.  The cost will be well spent (as long as you don’t just leave it there forever)!  At the very least, some boxes stacked in the garage will make perfect sense to a buyer, that you really DO plan to sell and move.

 

Step 3. To Sell, Sell, Sell -- Clean, Clean, Clean
After you've cleared out the clutter, it's time to really clean. Have the carpets professionally cleaned, strip and polish the floors, scour the bathrooms, go over the laundry room, polish the furniture, scour out the cabinets, wash the windows and window coverings, and spiff up the ceiling fans and kitchen appliances. In short, clean everything. (Then clean it again!)  Don’t forget to make it SMELL clean too, but don’t add overpowering fragrances. It will appear like you are trying to cover something up.

Don't forget the exterior; paint or power-wash everything that needs the work. Remember, this is a ceiling-to-floor, roof-to-foundation, fence-to-fence clean-up project.

 

Step 4. Get More for Your Home: Repairs Pay Off
After you've cleaned the place to within an inch of its life, the next project is making all the repairs necessary to attract a buyer.

So, patch up the roof, touch up all the paint, repair the screens, spruce up the porch framing, and make your entry area really shine. Don't forget to water the lawn and landscape beds, and take the time to trim, mow, edge and get rid of sick or dying plants. Inside, fix the grout in the bathrooms and on tile floors, adjust any doors that need it, fix any scratches on the walls, cover any stains, and be sure to fix any plumbing problems. Remember, do what your home needs before the first buyer prospect appears at your door. 

Also, it's a good idea to get all this done before getting us in to prepare the listing -- we will advise you on what needs to be done. Also, if you have friends willing to be brutally honest about what your home needs to sell, invite them to assess the fix-up needs.

There is, however, an alternative to the sweat equity you get from a total fix-up -- but it carries a price. An "as-is" sale keeps you from doing all this work, but a buyer will probably assess about twice the price you would have paid for the repairs. Then, they will deduct that amount from the price they are prepared to pay before making an offer.

 

Step 5. Putting Your Home on the Market: Show It to Sell It
After you have cleaned, shined, mowed, and generally whipped your property into shape, it's time to attract a buyer.

There are other, small things you must do to make your property attractive to buyers. For example, even if it's bright daylight, open the blinds and turn on the lights for a showing. Also, open all the interior doors to make the home appear roomier. Be sure to remove all your kids and pets -- they're cute, but a prospect wants to see your home, not your pride and joy. In addition, make sure your cat's litter pan is clean so the home smells clean and fresh, not like air freshener. Remember, you need to make sure your home is available to be seen by a prospective buyer with as little notice as possible. That may mean less than an hour, or even just minutes at times, so you have to maintain the spotless conditions ALL the time.

 

Step 6. Get a Sense of the Market

Before you put your home on the market, take time to check out the competition: homes with similar prices and in similar neighborhoods. Remember, you don't have to go out and buy new furniture just to look like that beautiful new model in the new development -- what you want is the feel of that new model -- clean, uncluttered, and fresh.


 

Remember, after location, one of the most important items to the average buyer is a well maintained home.

A few flaws can generally be overlooked if the buyer knows he can move in without a lot of trouble and expense.

 
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James Pedicord
James Pedicord
Realtor