Top 10 Things To Get Your Home Ready To Sell
By Steve Nicholas, SystemToSell
1. Fix all the little things.
Buyers can “feel” when a home hasn’t been well maintained. Most buyers don’t have a realistic idea of the costs of home repairs and improvements so they naturally inflate how much money they will have to spend when they notice things wrong with your house. So be proactive. Remember how important it is to make all the necessary repairs before you put your house on the market.
2. Get a pre-sale home inspection.
A pre-sale home inspection can help in two ways. First, by identifying and addressing problems that could thwart a potential buyer from buying your home. Second, a clean inspection report will build the buyer’s confidence that they are buying a home that has been well maintained and ready to give those years of worry-free living.
SystemToSell Tip: Put the inspection report right on the counter next to copies of your utility bills and listing information. It will send a clear message that you are taking the sale of your home very seriously.
3. Pack up the clutter.
Too much stuff makes rooms appear smaller and focuses the buyers’ attention on your possessions rather than the home you’re trying to sell. That’s why many professional stagers recommend removing as much as a third of your things to better show off rooms and closets. The buyer can’t imagine themselves living there if they can’t see the space. Think of moving out the extra furniture as getting a head start on the moving process.
SystemToSell Tip: Rent a storage space to temporarily put all your extra stuff until the house sells.
4. Depersonalize and neutralize.
The first items that should go in those packing boxes: family photos, collections and just about anything else that says “you.” Streamline your artwork and consider toning down bold decorating statements. That means neutral shades if you need to repaint walls or replace carpets. Buyers have a hard enough time envisioning how their stuff will look on your walls. By neutralizing your decor, you can help give them the blank canvas they need to imagine your house as theirs.
5. Deep clean every room.
Clean everything from toilets to closets, garages to attics, shine windows until they’re spotless and vacuum up every last crumb from under your stove. You’ll need to banish suspect smells as well; you don’t want your house to become known in real-estate circles as “the cat pee house.” If your pets have had one too many accidents, you may need to replace the affected carpet and padding and have the underlying floor sealed. If you’re not sure how your place smells, get your least tactful friend to take a few whiffs and tell you the honest truth.
6. Stage your home.
Stand in the doorway to find each room’s focal point, and use furniture placement to highlight that. The back of your sofa shouldn’t block the view of the fireplace and the dining room table shouldn’t be sharing space with a stair climber. You should remove any piece of furniture that detracts from the rooms’ purpose.
7. Create great curb appeal.
Most people today start their home search on the Internet and if the photos online don’t ‘wow’ them; they might not even call for a showing. If your home is on the list to be shown, you may not realize how many sales you’re losing before potential buyers even get to the front door. During the 30 seconds it takes your seller’s agent to unlock the lockbox, your seller is looking around at the condition of the front porch, door hardware, paint, landscaping, and flowers. You only have one chance to give a great first impression.
8. Pick the right agent.
Choosing the right agent means different things to different people. Experience, personality, knowledge of the industry and your neighborhood- these all influence which agent you select to represent you in the selling of your home. In today’s tough housing market, selecting the right real estate professional is more important than ever so interview as many agents as necessary to find the one most qualified to sell your home.
9. Make the necessary improvements.
If your home isn’t in great selling condition or your kitchen looks like it’s from one of the reruns of the Brady Bunch, then you need to make the improvements necessary to get you home ready to sell. The right combination of improvements will not only make the property show much better, but will yield you more at closing. The art is which improvements to make and which ones to save for the next owner.
10. Price it right.
Determining the asking price of your home is both an art and a science. Price your home correctly and it will sell. The price should reflect its age, condition, neighborhood, style, and overall marketability. If a house needs a lot of work and shows poorly- a buyer will expect a huge discount off of market price to handle the cost of the necessary repairs and improvements. Likewise, a home in great selling condition will sell quickly and near asking price in almost any economic market.
Steve Nicholas is president and founder of SystemToSell- a Cleveland, Ohio based company that works exclusively for Realtors and their buyers and sellers helping them maximize the value of their property before and after the sale.