Getting your house "Ready to Sell & List"
It always amazes me how different sellers can be. Some really understand what it takes to get market value for their home and others expect their same old living conditions to actually bring an amount that they are satisfied with.
Here are a few ideas that I think all sellers should consider:
- Pre-inspection - A pre-inspection is never a bad idea but I only recommend a pre-inspection for my listings if I think there may be a lot of repairs that will pop-up later in the inspection report and repair request...or if the sellers know and rightly disclose many known needed repairs. There is no point in trying to hide something in your house...it will eventually be discovered so it is best to disclose everything to your listing agent.
- Maximize your heated living area - Many agents and buyers will judge your house by its' condition and by the price per square foot. It may be a good idea to know what your competition is bringing per square foot and discover what it costs to finish your unheated area.
- Complete known necessary and cosmetic repairs - Trust me...I understand...you want to sell your house and you want to save your money for your next house. This one is very important. Go ahead and complete the necessary repairs that you are aware of and that you are certain the buyer is going to request. Fix most cosmetic issues. Most cosmetic repairs are cheap and make a huge difference when the buyer views your house. This means re-grout your showers and tile work, re-caulk around the sinks and tubs, patch and paint walls where needed, have carpets and windows cleaned. The goal when showing your house is for the buyer to feel right at home...every buyer dreams of a bright, clean and stress free home.
- Sunlight - You need to maximize the sunlight in your house. Leave the blinds wide open during the day so that the house will show to its' potential should you have a showing while you are at work.
- Odor - Your house may smell fresh to you...but it may not to others. It is always nice when you are showing a buyer a listing and you walk into the house where a seller has baked cookies and lit the candles before leaving for the showing. Not every seller can do this but you can do something to help your house smell better. Some plug-ins and decanters can be overwhelming. Go to Lowes and ask for a scent pack that connects to your air filter. They have several great scents, it will stay hidden, are cheap and will last about a month.
There are several other things that your agent should suggest in order to get your house in selling and showing condition. Every house is unique and will need different types of staging/marketing so be sure you have a listing agent that knows what buyers and buyer's agents are looking for. This goes from the first impression of pulling into your driveway to the feeling that buyer gets when they walk out of your front door to leave.
Here is something else you may want to consider. Go ahead and list your property but don't let your agent put the house into the MLS for a few weeks and until all of known repairs are completed and the house is ready to show. The time will give your agent a chance to market the property to his/her sphere of influence. This could produce a higher price with a faster and smoother transaction.
Good luck sellers. You will need it. There is a lot of competition out there in this market but there are also starting to be more buyers. Make sure that your house is the one that the buyers remember and talk about over dinner.