The idea of leaving your home can be daunting even when it brings the promise of new beginnings. There are steps you can take to get not only your home but yourself ready to move forward.
- Select a Realtor. This is perhaps one of the most important steps you will make. Interview at least two if not three Realtors who are familiar with your neighborhood. It will not only result in cost savings but also earnings.
- Have your Realtor do a Comparative Market Analysis of your home. Pricing your home right is critical to getting optimal value for your home even in a strong seller market.
- Give your home a serious de-clutter. Remove as many personal items and pictures as possible. This serves to not only create a blank canvas for the buyer to imagine the home for himself, but it also serves to help you separate from it. It’s also helpful to get a temporary storage facility. Cluttered garages can be just as unsightly as cluttered homes.
- Repair and Replace: take a hard look at your home. If you were the buyer, what would you notice? A big turn-off is a peeling or worn front door. That should be corrected immediately, and now is the time to fix that squeaky door, replace that broken railing, and finally paint that trim. One of the best and least expansive things you can do is paint. If the carpet is not just dirty but also worn, consider a replacement. Buyers often find it difficult to envision new flooring. A flooring allowance is seldom as effective as just replacing. But don’t break the bank. Consult with your Realtor as to the most cost-effective solution.
- Pre-inspections: I recommend them. It is best if you can identify major or even minor issues before listing and correct them. It is a huge gamble to think that an inspector will miss things and you will not have to do repairs. In my opinion, the less left for buyer objection, the better. NOTE: There is a place on the seller’s disclosure to report any prior inspections, and any unresolved issues found on inspection must be disclosed. I usually have my sellers attach them to the disclosure along with any repairs they have made. When in doubt, my recommendation is to disclose.
- DEEP clean the house inside and out. Give windows particular attention. And do not overlook switch plates and outlets. Buyers will turn on lights and they notice if they are dirty or cracked – a few dollars at the hardware store is worth the investment.
- Updates – Things like entry lights and porch lights are great investments that will impress buyers. If your appliances need upgrading, try buying a matching suite – you will usually get a better deal and the buyer will like the newness factor. Replacing dated countertops with granite or quartz is often a good investment but can be very costly – this is an area where you will want your Realtor’s advice. It may be expected in some neighborhoods while others not as much.
- Staging is extremely helpful. Home stagers can see your home as it is meant to be used – and more importantly, they know how a buyer will need to see it as well. Many Realtors also hold designations in staging (or are just good at it!) and several home stagers do great work. Many will work with what you have. And your staging should also take into consideration the front and back entrances – only one chance to make a good first impression!