How To Prep Your House Before Selling
Selling a home in a recovering market can be complicated. Homeowners may have suffered financial losses or have emotional attachments they can’t easily brush off. They may lack the confidence to move up or move on. Most prefer tried-and-true methods to tilt the selling odds in their favor. To close a deal you really can’t go wrong if you begin with the following:
DISASSOCIATE FROM THE STRUCTURE
• Keep in mind, a home is not a building. You will establish a new home again in your new property.
• Remind yourself of this – This place is a house – an investment that may be sold.
• Make the mental decision – To “let go” emotions, focus on the fact that this house will no longer be home.
• Picture yourself handing over the keys to the new owners, who will start their journey enjoying the residence that hosted your family.
• Say goodbye to every room. Take photos for posterity.
• Don’t look backwards – but take your good memories with you.
• De-Personalize – by removing personal images, photographs and wall hangings from the walls and tables.
SIMPLIFY THE SPACE
Begin by removing personal items, trophies, photographs, portraits, nick-nacks, and even religious items from walls and table top surfaces. This includes diplomas, and momentos, and should be carried out in every room of the house, even the home office space. This is usually the hardest step, because it is tempting to get distracted as you start storing items you have collected through the years. Each will have some endearing meaning, and it is difficult not to open that photo album as you box it up. It’s okay to reminisce, laugh and even cry, for a bit. But don’t lose site of your goal you are well on your way to a fast sale for a great price. Clear off everything from the front of the fridge. All the photos, take out menus, and kid’s artwork. Make sure the counters are completely clean and clear of clutter.
PREPARE THE SPACE
Be sure ALL important papers are stored securely and out of sight. Make it a habit of not leaving out check books, purses, jewelry, reports, letters, bills, etc. In the bedroom, make sure the bed is made everyday (you don’t know when you will have a showing). Keep clothes off the floor, and keep the closets neat and organized. Home buyers, should not have to step over clothing, toys, and personal items in order to get a good look at the space. Some people cannot look beyond what is in front of them. And thus get lost in the chaos and the mess, and will miss appreciating the space for what it has to offer.
• Make the House Sparkle!
• Wash windows inside and out. If you don’t have time, hire someone, or pay a neighbor’s teenager to do it.
• Rent a pressure washer and spray down sidewalks and exterior walls and walks
• Clean out cobwebs
• Re-caulk tub seams, showers and sinks, and open seams on walls
• Polish chrome faucets and mirrors
• Clean out the refrigerator! Buyers will look in the frig
• Vacuum daily, either at night just before everyone gets to bed or first thing in the morning before you leave the house.
• Wax floors
• Dust furniture, ceiling fan blades and light fixtures
• Bleach dingy grout
• Replace worn rugs and floor mats
• Freshen bathrooms with neutral scents like vanilla bean or cinnamon. No flowery fragrances
• Hang up fresh towels
• Organize the garage and basement if there is one. Bleach and clean off all moldy spaces, dead insects, etc.
• Box-up excess personal items not being used daily. Store the boxes neatly against a wall in a room away from common areas
• Access is essential. Homes that don’t get shown don’t get sold. Many foreclosures and short sale listings are vacant, so they can be shown anytime. They provide competition to the sale of your property. Don’t make it difficult for agents to get their clients into your home – if they have to make appointments way in advance, or can only show it during a very restrictive time frame, they will likely just cross your place off the list and go show the places that are easy to access and more available.
IMPROVE THE SPACE
• Consider Neutral Colors and Tones
If you haven’t painted in a while, this is the time to put a fresh coat of paint on all the walls that need it. It’s reccomended to de-accent walls, and paint over rooms with bright or bold colors. Buyers gravitate to crisp, clean, warm, inviting, and neutral. Nothing cleans up a room faster than a fresh coat of paint. Remember to also paint the trim work. A fresh coat of white semi-gloss on all of the painted woodwork makes everything look crisp and new. If the carpets are dirty, now is a the perfect time to professionally clean, or even replace them. Changing the carpets is one of the few things that immediately yields a greater than 100% return on an investment.
• Great Advice Comes From a Pre-sale Home Inspection
Home Inspections are notorious deal breakers if foresight is not employed in preparing a property properly for a sale. Why wait for a surprise? Instead get your own inspection. Find out what problems there are with your house BEFORE the prospective owners spring the bad news on you. Maybe you’ll be able to more accurately list your home or proactively fix problems, and negotiate for a sale, before the prospective buyers get involved. Refer to your home inspection to and:
• Take time to make minor repairs
• Replace cracked floor or countertops, and wall and floor tiles.
• Patch holes and cracks in walls and ceilings.
• Fix leaky faucets, replace broken door knobs, replace burned out light bulbs
• Fix doors that don’t close properly and kitchen drawers that jam.
• Consider painting your walls neutral colors, especially if you have grown accustomed to purple or pink walls.
To buyers that looks like $$$ needed to change
• If you’ve considered replacing a worn bedspread, do so now and add fresh pillows!
• De-clutter. Keep the pre-move preparations in motion. Pack up all your tchotchkes, anything that is sitting on top of a countertop, table or other flat surfaces. Personal items, hats, jackets, clothing, shoes, equipment, supplies, sporting goods, hobby and craft supplies, etc., that you haven’t used in at least 6 months to a year, should be packed away. Give away what you can, throw away what remains, and pack the rest. This will give you a head start on your move.
• IMPROVE CURB APPEAL
Sellers often overlook the importance of their home’s curb appeal. The first thing a buyer sees is a home’s external appearance and the way it fits into the surrounding neighborhood. Try to make certain that the exterior has a fresh coat of paint, and the bushes and lawn are well manicured. Make sure bushes and hedges are trimmed, fallen branches are cleared. In real estate, appearances mean a lot. Remove all clutter, trash, stored construction materials, etc. from the visible areas of the main lawns and yards. What better way to set your home apart than to make it attractive at first glance? Are you selling a home improvement property? If not, and you would like to get the best price your property will yield, leave little room for the buyer to find plausible cause to whittle the price down. If it looks amazing, and they can easily move in with little improvements or repairs, that attracts buyers.
• PRICE IT TO SELL
Regardless of how well you renovate and stage your home, it is still important to price the home appropriately. Consult a Real Estate Professional, read the newspapers and go to online real estate sites to see what comparable homes are going for in your area. Properties priced right, sell fast. Those slightly below appraised values, sell faster.
It’s not always imperative to be the lowest priced home on the block, particularly when aesthetic and other significant improvements have been made. However, it is important that the listing price is not out of line with other comparable homes in the market. Try to put yourself in the buyer’s shoes and then determine what a fair price might be. Have friends, neighbors to tour the home and weigh in as well. So if you want to sell your house fast, you need to price it right. Your agent will help : visit the competition, foreclosures and all, to see what homes in your neighborhood are actually listing and selling for.
If you aren’t satisfied with the price your agent suggests and which your market justifies? This may be a sign for you not to sell right now. It is a waste of your time to set a listing price based on what you paid, what you owe, what your home used to be worth or what you really wish it was worth. The only number that is relevant is what it’s actually worth to a buyer today.
• REMEMBER THE BOTTOM LINE
Selling a home in a down market requires a little extra work. Do everything you can to get the home in excellent shape and be prepared to make some small concessions at closing. An agent adept in negotiations, like Metro Homes DMV, is prepared to maximize your profit, without losing the sale.
These tips, coupled with an attractive price, will increase the odds of getting your home sold quickly.