Preparing to Sell Your Home

Posted by Laine Smith on 2/28/14 8:37 AM

Topics: Economy Home Buying Home Ownership

A first impression is key to selling your home. Most buyers make their purchase based on first-sight emotions and then justify their decision with information based on the home’s condition.

Aside from the emotional element that comes with parting from your home comes the sometimes-daunting physical stamina required to prepare for showings, inspections and appraisals. Here are a few tips to create a winning first impression, boost your bottom line and sell your home quickly.

Sold Home For Sale Sign in Front of New House

 Select a Successful Real Estate Agent

Choosing to buy or sell a home is one of the most important financial decisions you will make in your lifetime. A realtor can help simplify the process and provide you with advice throughout. Look for an agent who has plenty of good referrals, experience in your area and price range and a plan on how they will market your home to potential buyers.


Simple Upgrades

Preparing to sell your home for your ideal price and as quickly as possible doesn’t mean you have to spend a lot of money. Buyers will be impressed you have a brand new roof but aren’t likely to offer enough money for a full reimbursement. Pay attention to these areas of your home:

  • Walls. Clean or paint walls and ceilings using neutral colors. You don’t want your home to be remembered as the house with a lime green bathroom.
  • Flooring. If your carpet is in good condition, have it cleaned. If new carpeting is in order, again, consider neutral colors, like beige or off-white. This upgrade makes rooms look larger and cleaner. Wood floors should be deep cleaned or refinished to restore shine.
  • Lighting. Clean light fixtures and ceiling fans. Replace light bulbs to at least 100 watts to improve lighting, which also makes rooms appear larger.
  • Minor repairs. Repair any leaky faucets, sticking doors/locks, cracked caulking, discolored grout or torn screens.

Organize and De-Clutter

Whoever said there can be too much of a good thing was not talking about storage space. The best way to de-clutter your home is to start with a game plan and discipline. Work on one room at a time, but avoid spending days on end cleaning out closets. Follow these guidelines to open up space in your home:

  • Go through each room (including closets) and pack away 30 percent of your belongings.
  • Evaluate the flow of each room. Is furniture interrupting that flow? If so, consider re-arranging or storing those obstructing items. Less furniture will make rooms appear larger.
  • Sort through kitchen cupboards and drawers and throw out anything outdated, Tupperware that are missing lids, and kitchen gadgets that don’t get used. Hide small appliances like toasters, blenders, mixers, etc. inside cupboards to make the most out of your counter space.
  • Take the “home” out of your house. The more personal stuff, i.e. family photos, memorabilia collections and keepsakes, the less potential buyers can imagine themselves living in the home.

Curb Appeal

In real estate, the first impression is the only impression. And that impression begins the minute potential buyers drive by the for sale sign in the front yard. People make assumptions about the interior of a home by what they see on the exterior. Quick and cheap ways to spruce up your home’s outer appearance include:

  • Power washing the house, sidewalks and driveway
  • Painting the front door and replacing the address numbers
  • Laying new mulch and planting inexpensive shrubs and brightly colored flowers
  • Cleaning windows inside and out
  • Trimming trees, weeding and mowing the lawn and removing any yard clutter

Tips for Short-Notice Showings

Same-day and even last-minute requests for showings are common. Sellers who demand a 24-hour notice cut themselves out of a good chunk of the buying market. Spare yourself the panic of a short-notice showing with these helpful tips:

  • Purchase a few extra clothes hampers. Put items that have been left on the floor in those hampers and take the hampers with you when you leave for the showing.
  • Consider using disposable dishes during the selling process to make for a quick clean-up for after-dinner showings.
  • For a freshly-cleaned scent, let bleach and water soak in the kitchen and bathroom sinks for 15 minutes before you leave. Don’t forget to let the sinks drain on your way out.

Potential buyers will appreciate a clean, updated and cared-for home. You don’t have to spend a fortune on touch-ups and fixes; a little investment goes a long way. A real estate agent familiar with buyers’ expectations in your area and price range will be able to advise you on what changes and improvements need to be made and how to stage your home for maximum buyer interest.

Thinking of selling your current home and purchasing another? Our Upsizing and Downsizing Guide is a great tool for experienced homebuyers.

Download: Upsizing/Downsizing Guide

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