You’ve made the decision to sell what is probably your greatest financial asset—your home. You couldn’t have picked a better time. There are many interested buyers, in part due to low- interest rates, but inventory is low, meaning houses are selling faster and sometimes for more than the asking price.
Despite the current Seller’s Market, the selling process still requires some level of preparation. We spoke with two local realtors and staging experts to find out what it really takes to get your house ready to list.
The more things sitting around, the fewer potential buyers actually see of your house. After all, they’re in the market for your house, not your stuff.
Sarah Keddie of Coldwell Banker says this is the perfect time to start boxing up items in your home. “Not only will you be helping yourself out by starting the packing process earlier, but rooms and spaces with less items appear larger and less crowded,” she says.
Japreshia Clarke of Nest Realty has some practical advice on how to organize the process.\ “Remove things in three phases: trash, sell and donate.”
A lot of buyers don’t have the ability to look beyond a messy house. Some messes and smells, such as cat litter boxes, piles of dirty laundry and overflowing trash cans, can be so offensive to potential buyers that they might not complete the tour.
“Carpets absorb smell and track a tremendous amount of dirt, so having them looking and smelling fresh goes a long way,” says Keddie. She also recommends cleaning fan blades, baseboards and the inside of appliances.
You never know where a potential buyer will want to look.
“Clean unexpected places—mechanical room and pantry,” says Clark, who even suggests tidying up your attic and crawl space, if you’re adventurous enough, that is.
A fresh coat of color can completely transform the look of any home, but not just any colors will do.
“Homes on the market with neutral palates like greige, ivory or simple light grays tend to sell faster,” says Keddie.
Online listings include several photos and often provide virtual tours. Just because your favorite shade of teal looks great in person doesn’t mean it’ll impress online buyers, which is usually where a they get their first look inside a house.
“Color scheme is important,” says Clark. “It can offer a great flow throughout the showing and for photos.”
If your home is already neutral and the paint is somewhat recent, then just a thorough touch-up job should suffice.
Investing in big remodeling jobs for cosmetic purposes isn’t suggested but taking care of broken items of a practical nature is a top priority. Even the most laid-back buyers want a home that is fully functional and safe at the time of move-in.
“The most important repairs prior to any listing should be addressing plumbing, water damage to the interior, electrical that could be a fire hazard, leaking roofs, and also heating and cooling,” says Clark.
Even minor issues can give the impression of neglect and that larger problems might exist, so it’s important not to overlook seemingly small repairs.
Keddie says to “make sure toilets and faucets are working and not leaking, loose handrails are stabilized, broken windows and doors are fixed, repair any damaged flooring, and caulking and grout in the bathrooms.”
Not everyone has the interest or resources to undergo an elaborate preparation process. For those who wish to keep it simple, Keddie suggests some little things that make a big difference.
“If the seller is pressed on time and money is tight, simply being sure that the exterior is spruced up, home is cleaned, decluttered, and staged nicely can go a long way in the eyes of a buyer,” she says. “Additionally, if the seller is offering a one-year home warranty with the sale of a home, it can ease the mind of the buyer and is not a large cost to the seller at settlement.”
If you’d like more information on selling or buying a home, contact one of our local experts.
Next month: Love It: Ways to Make Your Home Your Fortress of Zen