Get Home Ready for Sale

Get Home Ready for Sale

For most people, their home is their biggest expense and their most valuable asset. When you are going to be moving you will want to both maximize the sale price of your home and make sure your home sells as quickly as possible. The things you do to prepare your home for the sales process can make a huge impact on the perceived value from potential buyers as well as how quickly you start getting offers. If you are going to spend money to make updates to your home you want to make sure those updates are a good investment that will help to raise your home’s value and add features people in your area are looking for. This article will provide insights on how to get your home ready for the sales process including the following key areas:

  • Find an Experienced & Knowledgeable Real Estate Agent 
  • Enhance Your Home's Curb Appeal
  • Declutter and Depersonalize 
  • Add Light Where Possible
  • Research Other Homes for Sale In Your Area
  • Find and Make Copies of Important Documents 
  • Create a Prioritized Action Item List
Find an Experienced &Knowledgeable Real Estate Agent

Because every market is different in what home buyers are looking for, a great first step when getting your home ready for sale is to find a highly rated local real estate agent with a good deal of experience in your local community. A quality agent is going to have a good understanding of the local market and what is making homes sell quickly. Additionally, a good agent is going to help eliminate seller induced mistakes, often made when homeowners try selling their home themselves.

A real estate agent will walk through your home with you, and with their trained eye, spot circumstances that can make or break a real estate deal. They can easily point out what needs repaired and what doesn’t. They can advise you on which home enhancements will increase the value of your home and which are a waste of time and money. They can also give you advice on furniture layout, lighting, landscaping, and other things that will make your home more appealing to buyers. There are many reasons to get a real estate agent involved early in your process but it is important to get a good one or you could find yourself frustrated. Check out our guide to selecting a real estate agent for more information to help get it right the first time.

Enhance Your Home's Curb Appeal

If the outside of your home doesn’t appeal to potential buyers, chances are they probably won’t even take a look at the inside. Creating some curb appeal is one of the first things you should do when preparing to sell. Here are some tips:

Wash The Outside of Your Home

Removing dirt, mildew, and grime from the outside of your home has been shown to add $10,000 - $15,000 to the sale price of some homes. This is something anyone can do with a few cleaning products, rages, brushes, and some good old fashioned elbow grease. For really stubborn grime, you may want to use a power washer that can often be rented at your local hardware store. Make sure to get stains off the driveway, thoroughly clean your garage and entry doors, downspouts and gutters, and windows.

Fresh Paint

Another suggestion from many professionals is to give your home a fresh coat of paint where you have paintable surfaces. Re-painting can give your home a “just-built” look that really adds to the appeal of your home.You can match the exterior color by bringing in a paint chip to your local paint store so they can match the color.If your paint is in decent shape you may just need a light refresh coat or just touching up areas that need it. Avoid choosing colors that are out of place in your neighborhood as that can actually decrease the value of the home and its appeal to buyers.

Don’t Forget the Roof

One of the first thing many buyers notice is the condition of the roof. If you have missing, curled or faded shingles you will turn off many buyers. Try to have repairs done and the roof cleaned if it’s in bad shape. If the roof is in really bad shape you may want to consider getting it replaced as you will likely pay for it in a lower appraisal if it is an issue.

Spruce Up Your Landscaping

Great landscaping can add value to any home and really up the level of your curb appeal. Make sure your lawn is mowed and edged well to give your home a well maintained look.Make sure to water and fertilize your lawn to give it a lush green color and seed or sod any dead spots. Pull any weeds, prune shrubs, and cut back any over grown trees or other vegetation. Re-edging your planting beds and adding fresh mulch can do wonders to make your home look more desirable to potential buyers.

Take a look at this helpful video on the basics of re-edging your lawn. For some additional inspiration on some great landscaping ideas that can really add significant curb appeal to your home take a look at this flower bed edging collection on Pinterest.

Add Distinctive Touches

There are several inexpensive ways you can do to give your home that special added touch to make it stand out against the competition in your area so people remember your home. Cutting in a new planting bed strategically placed in your front yard with some nice colorful flowers can really add to the appearance of your home. A bright bench or chair on the front porch can add a nice element to the home as well. Adding an upscale looking mail box to the front of your home and/or architectural house numbers can also make your home stand out. These items may not add a lot to the appraised value of your home, but they set the tone for home buyers as to the quality they can expect with your home and help you to stand out from the other homes in your area.

Declutter and Depersonalize

If you’re getting ready to list your home, you’ve probably heard about the importance of staging your home. But, just in case you haven’t, go ahead and put removing clutter and personal items from your home on your to-do list. A cluttered atmosphere tends to create the illusion that the rooms are of extremely disproportional size. The idea here is to make the buyer think every room is a spacious affair, which can easily house their belongings. If you know someone that is good at interior design you may want to get some advice on how to best arrange your furniture to maximize the space in your home to make things look open and inviting so someone can really picture themselves living there. A good real estate agent can usually help you with this as well.

To learn more about the art of staging, take a look at this great resource from HGTV that provides good insights into considerations for staging a home to sell.

Add Light Where Possible

During the selling process, your home should be as illuminated as it can possibly be. Add lighter window treatments, change out light fixtures to be brighter and maybe even lighten up walls, by painting dark rooms with a color that reflects light easily. Not only will a bright home feel happier, but it will seem bigger too. Visit the Fresh Home website, where you can find some great tips for allowing more light into your home.

Research Other Homes for Sale in Your Area

Have you checked into what other homes in your area are selling for? Be sure you aren’t planning to list your home too high or too low. Too high and it probably won’t sell, listing too low could cause you to lose money on the transaction. There are some great tools on the internet that can help you find the just right price range to list you property. TRULIA has a calculator that can help you determine your selling price. Have you paid attention to who is buying homes in your area? It might be good to know the market. Do you know the best time to sell? Doing some research about when people in your area buy most often is a great idea.

Find and Make Copies of Important Documents

Okay, you don’t need to make copies of things like the manual to the refrigerator (although it’s a good thing to have for future buyers), but you may want to make copies of the neighborhood directory and any legal documents. Regardless of if you make copies or not, make sure you know where all those documents are so you’ll have them for a buyer when the time comes.

Create a Prioritized Action Item List

There are lots of things that could be on your pre-listing checklist, and every home is different. The fact that you are reading this article is a good start. With some of the suggestion we have made in mind, walk around the inside and the outside of your home and make a list of things you see that can be add to the appeal of your home. Remember that you are not staging your home for yourself, but for the average buyer that will be looking to buy a home like yours.

Once you have created a list of things you can do, add the amount of time to complete, cost, and value the item will add to your home. From there you can prioritize your list based on the factors most important to you and tackle them one at a time. While there may be a lot to do, with your list and an action plan, it might not be as overwhelming as it would be otherwise. Don’t forget to breathe and take it one day at a time. Remember the goal of maximizing the sale price of your home and getting your home sold quickly!

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