Spring is in the air….well, at least for us in the real estate world. This is the time of year when the phone calls and follow-up appointments with soon-to-be sellers occur. The most frequently asked question is: “What do I need to do to get my home ready for the market?”
Here is my advice:
De-clutter. The process of minimizing the “stuff” in and around your home really is an important process. Consider this the beginning of your packing and moving process. You will be moving soon so get a head start. Obtain a storage unit if necessary and relocate your seasonal items now. Ideally, closets and storage areas should be at one-half to two-thirds capacity.
Benefit: Buyers want to see the house, not your stuff. Minimizing your furnishings minimizes distractions for the buyer. Not utilizing every inch of every closet demonstrates to buyers that your house has plenty of storage space.
Clean, clean, clean. Hire a professional service to do a thorough cleaning and scrubbing throughout your home. Clean out the closets, the pantry, the shower, and the inside of your drawers and appliances. Have the carpet cleaned. The cleaner, the better!
Benefit: I think this one is straight-forward. Put yourself in the buyer’s position and simply ask yourself – would you rather buy a sparkling clean house, or a house with someone else’s dirt in it? This one is huge.
Do the minor repairs. Touch up your baseboards, walls and trim. Secure any loose weather-stripping, re-caulk if necessary, fix a leaky faucet or a door that doesn’t latch. These may seem minor, but to a buyer, they add up and cause concern for what larger issues may exist.
Benefit: To repair these items is minor in cost, but it will go a long way in demonstrating to the buyer that your home is well-maintained.
Check out the big stuff. Have your cooling and heating system serviced. Do you have an older roof? Have a professional look at it, and make any minor repairs that fit into your budget. This is a common concern among sellers. I always advise sellers that it is better to know if a larger issue exists so that it can be resolved in the manner of your own choosing.
Benefit: This allows you, as the seller, to be in control of the situation AND the cost involved. Waiting for a buyer’s inspector to determine the condition of a major system in your home just doesn’t make sense, and opens up the potential for negotiations to go in a direction late in the process that are difficult and unproductive for all parties.
Improve your curb appeal. Trim overgrown landscaping and trees, add mulch to beds, and add a touch of color if the season is right. Look at your front door. This is where your potential buyers are probably standing the longest – waiting for their agent to open the door. Have your front door re-finished if necessary, polish or replace the handle and hardware on your front door.
Finally, stage your home. Staging involves re-arranging and planning the layout of your furnishings so as to focus on the strengths and positive aspects of your home, such as space, architectural features, layout and lighting. During this process, it is often recommended to de-personalize.
Benefit: Staging allows the buyer to see the house, not your home. This process allows potential buyers the best chance to envision how they would live in the house and how they may personalize it for their family’s needs.
I believe in the importance of staging so greatly that it is a complimentary service that I provide for my sellers – with the help and expertise of a professional staging team. If you are planning to sell, and have any questions about preparing your home for the market, please give me a call. I am happy to advise and guide you in the right direction.