Selling Your House: What You Need to do Before You Sell
The simplest and most effective way to prepare your home to list is by putting yourself into the shoes of potential buyers. Imagine you’re looking for a home, and walk through your own home with a pen and paper and make notes. What do you see when you drive up? What’s your first impression? What is it about your home that stands out, or what is it about your home that turns you off? The answers to these questions are going to help you prepare to list your home, especially when they’re combined with these professional real estate tips.
Pack Your Belongings
Before you list your home, declutter your house by packing non-essential living items. You can’t live without your toothbrush, but you can live without your kids’ sports trophies lining the plant shelves. Not only does packing the non-essential living items right away make moving so much simpler, it also helps de-clutter your home. The purpose is to make your home seem more open, less cluttered, and not nearly as personal. You want buyers to come into your home and imagine themselves sitting by the fireplace Christmas morning with a cup of coffee. You want them to see their family rather than your family.
Make Small Changes
Many mistakenly assume it’s the big changes that sell houses. While it’s true in some homes, it’s not true in most family homes. According to Forbes, small changes make a big impact. Update pulls and knobs, change light fixtures in bathrooms and kitchens, and add new faucets to dated rooms to add additional appeal. It’s as simple as updating outlets to exchange the old ones for new ones with USB ports built in. Small changes make for big results.
Check Curb Appeal
When buyers drive up to your home, the first thing they see is the front of your home. Now is the time to make a big impact with some small changes. Keep the lawn trimmed, don’t let the shrubs grow too high, and keep weeds out of the flower garden. Paint the front door a bold shade of red or blue that goes with your house but makes it stand out at the same time. Pressure wash the driveway and walkway, and clean up the house. You want buyers to see it shine from start to finish. That first impression sets the tone for the rest of their tour of your home.
Don’t Forget the Details
Details matter more than anything when you get ready to list your home. Is the caulk around showers and tubs peeling or stained from years of abuse? Now is the time to go into the house and make these changes. They’re small, simple, and easy to fix, but they’re important. Buyers want to see things like open blinds and bright spaces. It’s always helpful to place a vase of fresh flowers on the table to add some fragrance. If you have a home theater, add soft throws and pillows to the couches to make it seem more welcoming. If you have a pool, throw a decorative float or two into the water to make it seem more inviting. If you have a large jacuzzi tub in the master bath, add fresh white towels and a myriad of white candles to the edges to make it look more spa-like. Details sell homes.
Check the Competition
Before you list your home, check to see what else is for sale in the neighborhood. You need to check homes that meet the following criteria:
– In your neighborhood
– Homes around the same size
– Homes with the same number of bedrooms
– Homes with the same features
– Homes in the same price range
Your goal here is to see what homes are selling for, why they’re selling for that, and what they have to offer you don’t, or what you have to offer that those homes don’t have. Now you have an opportunity to focus on advertising features your home has that others are lacking. You can learn how well to price your home, and you can see what you need to fix, update, or remodel to make your home more comparable.
There’s a million things any seller can do to make their home more sellable, but you don’t want to overdo it. Spending too much time prepping your home can put you in a completely different real estate market, cost you money you won’t get back in the sale, or leave you feeling overwhelmed. These tips are designed to help you sell your home more efficiently, faster, and for more money.
Hire a REALTOR
At the very beginning of this process, it is wise to contact a REALTOR. A professional REALTOR has the experience and education to help home sellers optimize their efforts toward the best possible sale outcome. REALTORS work with home sellers before the home goes on the market (sometimes months and even years ahead of the sale) to help sellers prepare their property for optimal sale and to help them make good choices about upgrades that take the current market into account. These professionals also have a great network of service providers to recommend when the upgrades are bigger than DIY projects. A REALTOR’s advice is tailored and customized to each seller and property. The sooner you involve a REALTOR in the process, the sooner you’ll know what buyers in your neighborhood are looking for in a home. A good REALTOR helps a seller make smart, precisely targeted changes to their home to get the best possible response from buyers.
Contributed by David Glenn. David Glenn is a home improvement expert with nearly 30 years experience in the industry. Now retired, he enjoys writing about real estate tips, home maintenance and DIY home repair.