So you're planning to list your home. As soon as you begin entertaining the idea of selling, you'll want to get your home in the best condition. To get a great offer in the shortest amount of time, here are some of the most important things to take care of before the “for sale” sign goes up in your front yard.
Any real estate agent will tell you that one of the best ways to present your home is to de-personalize and de-clutter it. Homebuyers want to envision their own belongings filling a potential home, and the absence of a majority of your belongings will make your home appear bigger. Achieve a neat, organized appearance by:
- Going through each room (including closets) and packing away (and storing) at least 30 percent of your belongings.
- Evaluating the flow of each room. Consider rearranging or storing furniture that obstructs the flow of your home. Less furniture makes rooms appear larger.
- Removing small appliances (toasters, blenders, etc.) from kitchen countertops to give the appearance of more counter space.
- Removing the "home" from your home by packing away personal items like family photos, memorabilia collections, keepsakes, etc.
Here are more tips on downsizing your living space.
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:
- Clean or paint walls and ceilings using neutral colors. Fresh paint can make your home feel newer. Emphasize on the neutral colors, though; you don't want your home to be remembered as the one with a lime green bathroom.
- Have your carpets professionally cleaned. Wood floors should be deep-cleaned or refinished to restore shine. If new flooring is needed, homebuyers desire durable and efficient flooring options.
- Clean light fixtures and ceiling fans. Replace bulbs with at least 100 watts to improve lighting, which makes rooms appear larger and more inviting.
Consider a Home Inspection
Home inspections are often used by homebuyers to check for any mechanical or structural issues with a home before they fully commit to purchasing. Consider having a home inspection done prior to listing so you can address any areas that need to be repaired and show potential buyers that you are a pro-active seller.
Regular home maintenance can produce a return of investment up to 275%, according to Styled Staged and Sold. Here are more ways to quickly and effectively add value to your home through curb appeal.
Stage It To Sell
It’s no secret that furniture placement, home scents and personalization affect how your home presents to potential buyers.
The Real Estate Staging Association studied 89 that were un-staged and previously on the market. On average, those homes sat for 166 days on the market before the owners called in a professional stager. After those same 89 homes were professionally staged, they received their first offer in 32 days, on average.
You don’t have to hire a pro to get the affect though. Removing clutter, picking the right paint colors, floating your furniture and buying fresh white towels, do wonders for home sellers. Check out our list of DIY home staging do’s and don’ts here.
Boost Your 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 your front yard. People make assumptions about the interior of a home by what they see on the exterior. At a minimum, complete these exterior tasks:
- Power-wash your house, sidewalks and driveway.
- Paint the front door and replace the address numbers, if needed.
- Lay new mulch and plant inexpensive shrubs, perennials, and brightly-colored flowers.
- Clean windows inside and out.
- Trim trees, pull weeds, and edge your lawn.
For more ways to instantly boost curb appeal, click here.
Select the Right Real Estate Agent
Choosing the buy or sell a home is one of the biggest financial decisions you will make in your lifetime, so selecting the right real estate professional is optimal. Your real estate agent can help simplify the process and provide you with advice throughout, such as identifying areas of your home that need some work before listing.
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.
If you're planning to sell you home in the near future and buy again, download our free Upsizing and Downsizing Guide, a great resource for repeat homebuyers. As always, meeting with a mortgage banker should always be your first step in purchasing a home.