“Always be prepared.”
As a REALTOR®, I meet folks all the time who want to sell their home. They’ve been through the homebuying process before and want to make sure they maximize their return on this investment they’ve lived in for oh so many years. There are certain things that I always bring up as we prepare them to list their home. I wanted to share a little with you in hopes of making the process easier when you decide it’s your turn. I encourage all of my clients to look at their home, not as their home, but as just another property in the eyes of an eager buyer.
“What things in my house might cause concern?”
“What things give peace of mind to the buyer?”
“What can we do to ensure this home is picked amongst all the rest?”
Number one is cleanliness and decluttering. If the home is dirty, (read: NOT CLEAN) or if there is just too much STUFF in the home, a buyer won’t see the home’s interior appeal and/or potential. So start packing, recycle that stack of magazines, and break out the Windex! A thorough de-cluttering will help get you mentally prepared for the future move and it will also give you a headstart on consolidating your stuff into three piles: keep, donate, trash!
It is critical for potential buyers to readily notice that your home (and their future home) has been well-maintained and a pride of ownership is present. Just the sight of dusty air-return vents, peeling paint, or caulk in need or replacing can give the buyer a sense of worry. They can easily say, “if these sellers can’t repaint a few inches of trim or properly install a drain stopper, what major home items have they left unattended and for how long?!” We aren’t trying to remodel the home or undertake any huge projects, we just make sure what’s there is well-kept. Keep buyers confident in the quality of your home and it’s appeal by making a punch list of items that need to be addressed before listing. If you’re too busy or aren’t confident that you can do a professional job, hire a contractor to come in and get you where you need to be. A small investment upfront to make sure the home is presented in the best light can go a long way towards full-priced offers and putting your house well above the competition down the street.
We all know that part of the home buying process is the home inspection. You can reduce the need to worry when you have already addressed the obvious repairs that were necessary around the home. Normally, the way the contractual language reads, any agreed upon home inspection repairs are to be performed by “a contractor licensed to do the type of work required, and receipts…that the repairs have been completed will be provided.” Again, honest planning and preparation can save you money and protect your investment. If you don’t want to pay a licensed contractor to clean out your gutters, grab a ladder before you list or invite your neighbor over for a gutter cleaning party. Some repairs, most notably electrical or plumbing, should likely be addressed by a licensed contractor just to make sure there aren’t any issues. Using the licensed contractor, you can provide receipts of the work if it does pop up on the home inspection. Bringing any issues to light and having a professional in your home before you list ensures you can shop around for the best and highest quality contractor on your own time frame.
The long and short of it is to have a REALTOR® who can help you compile a little “to-do list” as you make your home ready for market. A quality REALTOR® should also have a few professional contractors whom they can recommend to you in order to help get the job done affordably.
Sellers want a smooth transaction. Buyers want a smooth transaction. Crazy concept, right?
By doing your homework and getting a headstart on “your” list, you can help ensure it’s a positive experience for all involved, while maximizing your return on your most important investment: your home!
(Editor’s note: I was never a boy scout. But we all know their motto, right?)