Don’t assume that everyone is going to love your home as much as you do. You need to set yourself up for success by taking care of a few things. Here are the top “must do” steps you must take before listing your home.
1. Hire An Allstar Agent
If you are buying a home, anybody can do it. A trained monkey can help you buy a home as long as they hold off on the poo throwing. With the dominance of online real estate sites, most people already pick out their own home anyways and most agents simply do the paperwork.
Selling a home is another matter. An Allstar agent will help you in a number of areas. They will help you set the price, prep the property correctly and bring in buyers from their network. If you need the most money for your home, get a good agent.
Do your homework and make sure that you find a well reviewed realtor that has a track record of getting homes sold.
If you have a friend or family member who is a realtor, resist the pressure to automatically use them. They might be a quality realtor but they also might just feel entitled to your business because they know you.
In general, it will be better to use someone that you do not know, so find an excuse not to use them. Say that you do not feel comfortable with a family member knowing your finances, which your realtor probably will, it’s not a lie.
2. Set Your Price Correctly
The first decision that you are going to have to make when you list your house it a big one. What is the asking price going to be.
Your agent will help you with this one and there are two trains of thought on the matter.
Option 1 it to list the price for a bit higher than you expect to get. This will give you a little bit of room to negotiate with and people love to haggle. If the market is a little slow, setting the price a bit above fair market value like this is probably the right option.
Option 2 is to list the price competitively below what you expect to get or the fair market value. This works best in a hot market and often results in a bidding war and your house selling as quick as possible.
If houses are moving quickly people will usually place bids above the asking price hoping to secure the home. You are also likely to get multiple offers that you can play against each other to get the best price.
3. Get Rid Of The Junk
If you have lived in your home for more than a couple years, you have probably accumulated quite a bunch of, I’ll be nice here, let’s call it stuff. Box i up and get it out of there. A storage locker for a hundred dollars a month will come in handy here.
You are looking to do two things here.
First, you want to get rid of as much excess furniture and knick knacks as you can in an effort to make the pace look cleaner and bigger. Clutter looks messy and makes the house look smaller. You want your house to show “big”.
Second, you want to take away all of the personalization that you have done. If a potential buyer looks over the fireplace they shouldn’t see your family photo, they should see a place to hang their collection of antique crosses.
Get rid of anything that is not crucial. In the kitchen, cut down on your gadgets and cookware. You probably have way more than you need and getting rid of it will make your cabinets look bigger.
Use the same concept in your closets to make them look bigger. Take out half of your clothing and put it in storage. Make sure that nothing is on the floor so that it looks like there is ample storage.
As far as furniture goes, get back to the basics. A couch and a chair will do with minimal end tables. You want wide open spaces to make everything look big. While you are at it, a little staging will go a long way towards maximizing the appearance of the space.
4. Work On The Lawn
It is amazing how many people neglect their lawn when they sell a home. Grass and weeds growing into the flower beds, untrimmed bushes, dead spots in the grass, etc.
Curb appeal is of utmost importance and it sets the tone for the entire showing. You only have one shot at it.
At the very least, you should make sure that the lawn is cut and neatly trimmed.
Your next step is to clean out all of the mulch beds. Make sure there is no grass or weeds in it and add a few bags of fresh mulch to make it look well kept.
If your bushes need grooming, take care of that and if they have seen better days, it might be a good idea to just replace them with new plants.
Overall, the cheapest thing that you can do to improve your home value is landscaping. This is especially true if you are willing to put in a little sweat equity, spend in the hundreds and get thousands of dollars in return.
5. Fix The Walls
Nothing worse than going into a house and seeing holes in drywall or crayon marks on a wall.
You should do some touch up paint as a minimum, being sure to fix any holes in the drywall or nail holes in the wall from old pictures. If you have painted in the last few years, this is probably all that you will need.
If it has been 5 plus years since the home has been painted or the colors you have chosen are out of the norm, a repaint may be in order. The few hundred dollars that you spend in paint will pay huge dividends.
Be sure to use neutral colors that will appeal to the most buyers.
6. Get Out
No, really , get out and stay out.
If you have ever sold a home before, you know that it is difficult to get it ready to show and then keep it ready to show. This is especially true if you have kids or pets.
You have to have the home perfect at all times because you never know when you are going to get that text saying that a showing has been requested.
If it is in your power to do so, completely move out of your home. Go stay with friends or relatives. If that doesn’t suit you, perhaps now might be the time to take a vacation and get away.
Trust me, it will be far less stressful for you and your home will show better if you can just get it ready once and be done with it.