Preparing your home for sale is very important and must make an appealing first impression to a Buyer. Keep in mind that when a Buyer chooses your home to tour, they have these 3 criteria in mind when selecting your home; 1) Location, 2) Condition of the interior and exterior of the property and (3) Price and terms in relation to location and condition. If there is one thing I can relay to Sellers, it is that the homes’ first impression should be the very best as the Buyer may only take a look at it once. Buyers are looking for reasons to rule out a property as much as they are looking to keep it on their short list. Remember your home may not get a second chance to make a first impression.
Taking the time to prepare your home tells the Buyers that you care about your property and that you have taken care of it over time. Fixing small things can save money later during the inspection period when Buyers request concessions because of the items they see as needed repairs.
Here is a list of tasks to compete to prepare your home for sale:
- A clean front yard is necessary in making your first impression. Trim the shrubs and trees, mow the lawn, weed the flower beds, sweep walkways, clean out and repair gutters and eaves, clear out cobwebs around exterior and interior doors and windows, pick up trash, plant flowers in flower beds and pots to add color. Make the exterior of the home appear “dressed and pressed” ready to shown and sold.
- Clean your home thoroughly. Make it shine everywhere, kitchens, bathrooms, living and dining areas. Keep stainless steel appliances finger print free. Vacuum carpets and shampoo if necessary, wash tile and wood floors. Dust all surfaces and light fixtures.
- Replace any burned out light bulbs.
- Wash windows inside and out. You will want as much sunshine to shine in as possible.
- Repair drywall damage and paint scuffed up walls to create a fresh feeling around the home.
- Remove clutter around the home. Keep countertops clear of dirty dishes and unfinished projects. Pick a room and closet at a time. Begin purging your belongings, get rid of items you no longer need; go through clothes that you do not wear anymore, remove person items from sight.
- Remove offensive odors from smoking, cooking, spicy foods, pets and kids. Here are two ways to mask odors; 1) put out a can of unused coffee grounds-they will soak up odors and 2) bake cookies or bread and leave on the counter during a showing of your home.
- Tighten door knobs and drawer pulls. Make sure all light switches and lights and electric base board heaters are operational.
- Oil squeaky doors.
- Repair or replace any leaky toilets and facets.
- Sweep the garage and tidy up shelving and work benches.
Next let’s discuss the location of your home. Is your home near a busy street? Does it have Mountain Views? Is it a ski in/ski out property or a beach front property? Is the property near commercial businesses? Is water and sewer community or private well and septic? Is the condo on the ground level or an upper level; end unit or middle unit? Are there amenities like swimming pool, coffee shop, grocery store or bank nearby?
Finally, let’s talk about how to price your home. In a perfect world, you could choose any price you like and find a Buyer, however that reasoning my not be realistic. Buyers and Sellers dictate the accepted prices for a property, Agents negotiate for their respective parties. Buyers will decide if they want to pay the Sellers asking price or not and most likely both parties will need to accept concessions in the negotiation process.
Both Buyers and Sellers, when working with an Agent, should be able to find out past closed transaction sales prices of comparable properties. This information is your very best and most accurate information that you can count on when pricing your home. A Buyer will also have that same information, so over pricing your home may not be in the best interest to get the property sold.
Here is a quick rule of thumb. If your property has been shown several times within 10 days and no offers, it is overpriced. If it has been on the market for 14 days and no showings, it is overpriced.
A quick note to For Sale by Owners (FSBO)
Not hiring an Agent can save you money; however, are you ready to deal with the following situations as a For Sale by Owner?
- Window Shoppers
- Phone calls times of the day and night
- Buyers looking for a better deal
- Buyers that do not wish to deal with the Seller directly
- Missed showing opportunities while out of town
- Knowing all of the steps to close the transaction
- Negotiating the price and terms with a Buyer
I do agree that sometimes it can be a huge success to sell your home. If you have not had success in selling your home, perhaps it is time to call a Realtor to assist you. Call me today!