As the "selling" season starts to really get going, it is always good to keep in mind some helpful tips for preparing your home to go on the market. The first step you should take is to talk to a licensed real estate professional and have them walk through your home. I do this all the time, and I can let my sellers know some of the more important things to tackle and some of the jobs that they might be able to avoid. Keep in mind, you really need to give yourself some "prep" time, maybe a month or so depending on your self motivation, to get everything just right prior to showing the home.
Start with these five tips:
1. Clean and de-clutter - Don't let clutter and dinginess get in the way of a potential buyer falling in love with your home. If you aren't going to be using it for the next few months, box it up and put it in a storage facility. Also, remove any furniture that isn't the dominant setting for the room or if it isn't in the best shape.
2. Welcome yourself to the front door as if you were the buyer - When we show a home, we will typically sit at the front door for about a minute while we are retrieving the keys from the lock box. During this time, the buyer will be noticing little things like peeling paint, dirty siding and porches, etc. If necessary, paint the front door, replace or polish the old hardware, and clean any glass that is visible. As a nice touch, you can also add a new doormat, mailbox, and fresh plants or flowers on either side of the door. A good first impression can start the showing off just right.
3. Take down the old drapes - If you still have any outdated draperies or worn out blinds, now is the time to take them down. Replace these things with basic white mini-blinds or faux wood blinds that you can get at the big box home stores. This is one of the easiest ways to freshen your rooms over a week end.
4. Lightening and brightening - Some homes suffer from not having much natural lighting coming into them and need some help. The best way to remedy this problem is to brighten them yourself. Update old light fixtures with new ones that are more stylish for today’s standards and they will provide more light in the process. Look for light bulbs that have gone out and replace them to maximize the output of your existing fixtures.
5. Start from the ground floor - Worn out, old, or discolored carpeting can be the most obvious objection a buyer can have. Consider replacing old carpeting with what I call "builder beige." This is a fairly inexpensive carpeting that is neutral and can be put down for a good price (especially if you let me refer someone to you). Buyers don't want an allowance, the lenders don't like them in a transaction, and you eliminate one of the biggest objections we hear in today's market. And if you have wood floors underneath old carpeting, tear it out and expose the wood!
If you do the leg work up front, you can improve your chances of getting your home sold faster, which translates into a higher dollar amount and less stress along the way.
J. J. Bowers