28 Expert Tips for Preparing Your Home For Sale
Whether you’re buying or selling, the spring real estate market can be a hectic and fast-paced season. With historically low interest rates, more buyers entering the market, and a tight strain on home inventory, signs point towards a hot seller’s market throughout 2021. As a seller, the odds are definitely in your favor, but there are still many things you can do to prepare your home to sell for top dollar. Check out my expert tips (28 to be exact, for the wonderful month of February) for making the process much easier from start to finish, then give me a call. Together, we’ll get your home in tip-top shape and on the market just in time for spring!
Inside the Home
You don’t want to do renovations…but neither do buyers! The idea of giving buyers a credit to do it themselves just doesn’t work. Even if buyers can look past cosmetic issues, they will want a discount for time and effort to do them. To the contrary, buyers will pay a premium for an updated, move-in ready home. Small, poignant fixes can really make an impact!
1. Paint and Walls – A fresh coat of paint (Applied by a professional!) can have a dramatic impact in the eyes of buyers and is a fairly inexpensive way to spruce up your home.
2. Carpet and Flooring – One of the most visible – and heavily used – areas of your home are the floors. How are yours looking? Is the carpet worn and dirty? At the very least, have them professionally cleaned, or consider replacing them with new ones. Better yet, maybe there are hardwoods hiding under there. If so, uncover them! Hardwood floors are a huge asset and appealing to buyers. If you already have hardwoods, a deep clean and refinishing make a huge impact.
3. Knobs – Swap out drawer pulls and cabinet knobs for an easy but effective update.
4. Counters – Modernize countertops with granite, quartz, or marble. Regardless of your home’s price range, buyers want nice surfaces.
5. Cabinets – Some cabinets may benefit from being painted or re-stained. Consider re-facing if the cabinet boxes aren’t in great shape.
Interior Maintenance Checklist
6. Oil squeaky doors
7. Tighten doorknobs
8. Replace burned out lights
9. Clean in and around fireplaces
10. Repair all windows
11. Repair leaky taps and toilets
12. Repair chipped/cracked drywall
13. Have all windows and exterior siding/paint professional cleaned.
14. Consider a Home Inspection
A pre-inspection of your home before placing it on the market could alert you to problems that may complicate a potential sale and save you time and money in the long run. By correcting problems early, you make your property more desirable and attractive and it improves the prospective buyer’s impression of your home.
Most buyers elect to conduct their own home inspection during the due diligence period after going under contract. Besides assessesing the structural and mechanical features of your home, a competent home inspector will also point out minor issues such as leaky faucets, loose doorknobs, broken or cracked windows, caulk or grout that needs replacing, or cracked or peeling paint. Other items that are important safety concerns are smoke detectors on every level and in every bedroom and ground-fault circuit interrupters in the kitchen, the bathrooms, and exterior outlets.
By taking care of these items before listing, you simplify the negotiation process as most buyers are going to request that these issues be repaired before closing. (Good thing you have that handy interior maintenance checklist above!)
15. Clean out 1/3 to 1/2 of your furniture.
16. Put away knick-knacks and other personal items like pictures and wall frames, and other nichy decor that might distract from the home’s bones.
17. Throwing all of your decor into a closet isn’t going to cut it. Buyers want to see the storage spaces! Organize all closets and drawers, purging or packing unnecessary items and toys.
18. Consider hiring a professional stager to help achieve a fresh, clean and modern look.
19. Stick to the Rule of 3
At most, there should only be three items on one surface. Simplify by removing everything off your counters, tables, and dressers.
Exterior Curb Appeal
20. Fix Masonry/ Pavers
21. Seal or repave the driveway
22. Paint the front door an inviting color
23. Consider painting the exterior, especially the trim
24. Clean out the gutters
25. Remove old, overgrown bushes and trees
26. Beautify the landscape with mulch, colorful flowers, and sure the grass is freshly cut
Become an Educated Seller
27. Buyer Research
One of the most important factors in bringing buyers to a community is the school system. Even if buyers don’t have school-age kids, most savvy buyers know that a great school system is crucial for a strong resale value. It is always wise to check out how your home’s elementary school fares, as well as the current reviews and ratings of the middle school, junior high and high school. See how the neighboring school districts compare.
SCHOOLREPORTS.ORG | GREATSCHOOLS.ORG
28. Know the market
It is valuable to be aware of the current inventory of homes for sale, as these homes represent your competition (or future comparables) when you are ready to sell. There is a finesse to pricing homes. Don’t fall into the trap of pricing high to leave a lot of negotiating room. Setting a fair, appealing price can show buyers your home is a great value and can lead to a competitive, multi-bid situation resulting in a higher selling price.
Try not to factor in your own emotional feelings for your home when evaluating its market value. Be objective and realistic. This strategy will give you, the seller, more control in the deal. With attorney review and inspections still to come later in the process, fair pricing can be the key to keeping buyers from being overly demanding during the home inspection phase.
Ready to get started? As your trusted real estate advisor, I’m ready to take the journey with you, easing the load wherever I can. From home repair vendors to hyperlocal market knowledge, marketing, and accurately pricing your property, I’m here to guide you through all your questions and concerns. I’ll be with you every step of the way!
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