Whether you’re marketing and selling a $200k condo apartment or a 10 million dollar estate, there are certain steps you should take while getting your property ready for sale. In some cases, preparing a home for sale is an investment – both in time and money. Everything from repairs, upgrades, and staging should be well thought out, and it’s to your advantage if each corner of the house is addressed. If you do it right, the effort will be rewarding. Here are some strategies you can follow, put in the care your property deserves, and you’ll be rewarded with a sparkling home that buyers will pay top-dollar for.
1) First things, FIRST… Clean it Out!
Houses with clutter are almost guaranteed to scare away buyers. Your home should reveal open space and a sense of possibilities. Remove anything that blocks pathways or obstructs views. If necessary, rent a storage unit and put your furniture, books, magazines, and knickknacks safely. No one wants to be tripping over children’s toys or wading through scattered chairs while trying to see the property.
Also, unless they are attractive fixtures, it’s best to avoid empty bookcases and cabinets. You want only enough furniture in each room to keep the house inviting and demonstrate its purpose. Above all, you want to make sure the house looks and feels open, inviting, and full of potential – with plenty of room to move around.
2) Make it Shine
We’ve all heard the phrase “first impressions are everything”, when preparing to sell a home remember this is critical. Don’t just stop at fixing things that are broken – try to improve what’s already there. Cleanliness is a major part of selling a house. And don’t just clean once; you should clean the house before every showing. Anything that looks at all old or run-down, no matter how nostalgic it is for you, should be replaced or removed. Switch out old furnishings with new ones. If you can afford it, hire a professional cleaning service. We’ll get into further specifics as we explore the house in more depth, but here are some general tasks to remember:
- Clean the windows inside and out
- Dust carefully and cleanout cobwebs
- Use a pressure washer to spray down sidewalks and exterior
- Re-caulk showers, tubs, and sinks
- Polish faucets and mirrors
- Clear out the refrigerator
- Wax the floors
- Replace worn-out rugs
- Hang up fresh towels
It’s important to air the home regularly during the sale process. Your house has plenty of competition, so remember to compare it to the neighborhood’s best comparable home. When a buyer is making the rounds, you want your house to stand out among the options like a set jewel. Consider repainting the walls with neutral colors – beige, mocha, off-white, soft gray. The last thing you want is a buyer to remember your house for its orange walls or purple bathroom. Neutrals and lighter earth-tones have a broader appeal. Plus, a new coat of paint exudes freshness and is one of the most affordable ways to spruce up your home.
3) What To Fix – Home Inspection Report
Odds are your home is going be the subject of a home inspection, so you want to address some defects before the inspection. Mortgage lenders require a satisfactory home inspection report from a certified home inspector before they will approve a mortgage. If you are debating what home repairs and improvements your home might need, focus on the repairs and upgrades that will improve the report.
Remodeling a dated kitchen or bathroom aren’t necessary to sell a home, so keep upgrades to a minimum and focus on essential repairs. Prioritize red-flag items such as water leaks be it a roof or leaky faucet. Upgrade old appliances or water heaters that use too much energy. If you don’t know where to start, call Ben Nathan to assess what may or may-not appear in a home inspection. This will also save you from unpleasant surprises before selling.
4) Curb Appeal
A prospective buyer is less likely to enter if your house doesn’t look good from the street (and online). Just as you cleaned and fixed-up the inside of your home, it’s vital to go over the exterior and make any changes that will spruce up its appearance. Here are some helpful tips to remember:
- Keep the lawn edged, cut and watered regularly
- Trim hedges and prune trees regularly
- Place potted seasonal flowers near the entrance
- Install clearly-readable, elegant house numbers
- Check the foundation, steps, and walkways for cracks and crumbling
- Inspect doors and windows for peeling paint
- Clean and straighten gutters
- Replace damaged or loose roof shingles
- Apply a fresh coat of paint to the front door
- Sweep and wash down the sidewalks.
5) Clean the Swimming Pool
Even if your pool is usually light on chemicals, now’s the time to add and adjust chemicals until the pool sparkles. Make sure to clean the filtration equipment, getting rid of any cobwebs and algae. Store your chemicals, tools, and pool accessories neatly and keep the pool area tidy and secure. Consider a few well-placed pool chairs to make the space more inviting – provided there’s enough space.
6) Home Staging
Staging your home doesn’t have to cost much money, think of staging as creating a mood. The first step is to dissociate yourself from the house. See it through an outsider’s eyes by standing on the curb and then slowly walking through your home and the surrounding property. Maybe even ask a friend, neighbor, or real estate agent to give you objective advice. If it’s within your budget, hire a professional stager to prepare the house for showings.
Here are a few things you can do for a well-staged home:
- Focus on the main rooms (kitchen, living area, master bed, and bath)
- Arrange furniture in an attractive grouping
- Light thoroughly, creating a warm, bright environment
- Put out large bowls of fresh fruit
- Add elements to shelving and bookcases so that they are not bare
- Decorate each room with mirrors, plants, lamps, and throw rugs as needed
- In the kitchen, arrange colorful cookbooks on the counters and/or island
- Re-stain cabinets and woodwork that appears dry, renewing its luster
- Place fresh towels, soaps, and a white robe in all bathrooms
Vacant homes often feel cold and empty, making it difficult to find a balance between clean and lived-in. A well-chosen variety of drying towels, books, flowers, and other accessories can set the stage – why not place a basket of fresh fruit on the kitchen counter or a vase of flowers beside the sink. Just make sure the dressing you choose fits the look and mood of your property. Don’t forget you’re not just selling a property, you’re selling a lifestyle.
7) Price – What can you sell a home for?
Get an accurate and realistic idea of what you can sell a home for in your area. We recommend you follow these simple steps:
- Request a ‘no obligation’ valuation of your property from at least three real estate agents
- Research what similar properties are listed at and (this is important) what they sold for in your area
- Study successful listings. Make a list of what was appealing and made it a good listing. You will likely see a pattern. That can help you create your own checklist.
Keep in mind that a property is only worth what a buyer is willing to pay for it, therefore it’s important to understand what the market will bear in your area. By following the home selling tips above you will give yourself the best opportunity to know and achieve your property’s true value.
Recent studies show that including a floor plan is one of essential tools for selling you home. Over 30% of buyers say they are less likely to inquire about a property without a floor plan. They also found that including a floor plan can increase buyer click-through rates by 52%. To ensure a successful listing, consider including a floor plan. Call Ben Nathan if you don’t have one, his listing services offers them free of charge.
Alternatively, you can get floor plans for your listing quickly and easily online with RoomSketcher Floor Plan Services. Simply upload a blueprint or sketch of your floor plan, including a few measurements for scale, and an expert illustrator will create your floor plans for you. Clear floor plans will help buyers visualize a home easily; in addition they will make your listing more engaging and memorable.
With the countless tasks involved with preparing a home for sale, it can be easy to forget one fundamental thing: you’re not just listing a property, but you’re representing a lifestyle, a neighborhood, a place where someone may raise a family. Think about your ideal buyer, and prepare the house accordingly. Put in the time and the care needed – just like you might for a family member – and you will be rewarded.
If you require further advice on preparing your home for sale, please contact Ben Nathan to schedule a walkthrough of your home. During this time, he will guide you through the process and make suggestions as needed.