Whether you've decided it's time to upgrade or a job opportunity has promted a big move the thought of selling your home can be daunting. Not to worry, though, the process of preparing to sell a home can take a month or more. Here are some tips to taking on the task at hand.
1. Take a Fresh Look at Your Home.
We all know how easy it can be to become immune to that pile of mail stacked on the kitchen table begging to be filed, but we also know how quickly we spot that pile with a look of disgust when we walk into someone else's space. Potential buyers will see that pile and much more as red flags when they come to view your home (even if secretly their pile at home is twice the size of yours). A buyer who comes to view your home is seeing it for the first time and as such you want to make a good impression. In order to do this the best thing you can do it put yourself in the shoes of someone who has never been to your home and start nitpicking!
Scrutinize the curb appeal of your home, the front porch and entryway, and each of the rooms. Imagine what your family members or real estate agent would say about each room. Look inside closets and open cabinets, remember, new buyers will see things you may not notice right away or things you have forgotten used to bother you about a particular space.
Now, make a list of things that could use some changes and also a list of things that first attracted you to the home as these may be areas you want to highlight for potential buyers.
2. Make Repairs and Get More for Your Home!
If you have the ability and some funds available making repairs to your home can get you a much greater return on your investment. If you are unable there is an option to do an "as-is" sale, however, a buyer will generally assess about twice the price you would have paid for repairs and deduct that from their offered price in turn lowering your profit from the sale.
Some repairs to consider include patching the roof, repairing screens, doors and windows, and touching up paint to make the entrance to the home really shine. For your home to make a great first impression you'll also want to mow and edge the lawn and trim or remove sick or dying plants. You might also want to consider adding some color with new flowers or hanging baskets. Inside you may need to fill tile grout where applicable, fix wall scratches and fill holes, as well as repairing any plumbing problems.
It is best to get repairs completed before listing the home. Your Real Estate Professional should be able to help you determine what needs to be repaired.
3. Clear out Clutter
Before putting your home on the market you will want to remove as much clutter as possible. Potential buyers are put off by clutter so work to remove as much as you can in closets, kitchen cabinets, drawers, shelves and bathroom vanities.
Small items are not the only items that can make your home feel cluttered, though. Oftentimes we tend to put too much stuff into too little space and this includes furniture. If you have a place to store that extra recliner in the living room or you think you could live without it - take it out and rearrange the space to make it feel as spacious as possible.
Next, have a moving sale with all the items you've decided you don't need any longer. You can use the proceeds to purchase items to spruce up the home even more such as paint, a colorful bouquet of flowers, a new welcome mat - be creative! If there are items you know you want to keep, but maybe won't need access to for the next few months begin the packing process by boxing up these items and storing them neatly in a designated storage area.
4. Deep Clean
After you've cleared out all the clutter it's time to really clean. Shampoo the carpets, strip and polish the floors, scour the bathrooms, go over the laundry room, move appliances - everything. Don't forget to wipe down cabinets and drawers, wash windows, blinds and curtains, and wipe light fixtures and ceiling fans.
The outside of your home will also need to be cleaned. Consider pressure washing not only your home, but also patios and decks as well as adding a fresh coat of paint to anything that could use a touch-up.
5. Ready to put your home on the market? Check out the competition first.
Before you officially put your home on the market take a day to check out homes with similar prices in similar neighborhoods. Keep in mind you don't have to buy all new furniture to make your home look like a beautiful model home in a new development - what you want is the feel of a model home: clean, fresh, and uncluttered.
Generally, after location, the most important thing to a new buyer is a well-maintained home. Many small items can be overlooked if the buyer knows he or she can move in without a lot of trouble and expense.
6. Prepare for Showings
Try having your home able to be shown with little to no notice. This includes having beds made, dishes put away, and so on. You'll want to showcase your home as if you were having guests: turn on the lights and open the drapes, put flowers in vases, hang your best towels and play soft music in the background.
If you are able to, leave the house during showings and take pets with you or keep them outside. If you are present for a showing it is often best to sink into the background - pretend you're not there and keep any comments to yourself until the buyers have left. For safety purposes it is wise to show your home only when the buyer's agent is present. You should also put away your most valuable items such as jewelry and collectibles.
Determining Your Home's Price
The real estate market is constantly fluctuating, so pricing is not an exact science. Rather, it's a reasonable figure derived from a number of different components such as:
- The status of the current real estate market.
- The expertise and market knowledge of your real estate associate.
- Hard facts such as lot size, square footage and condition of your home.
- Desirability factors, including location, special amenities and property attributes.
- Selling and listing prices of comparable homes.
- A sophisticated real estate marketing plan.
- Your level of motivation.
It's important to note that the following conditions do not affect your home's price
- The profit you wish to make from the date.
- The amount of money you've spent on improvements.
- What other sources, such as friends and appraisers, have told you it's worth.
- What you originally paid for the home.
There are also some problems that may arise if your home is overpriced
- It can attract lookers, not legitimate buyers
- It implies that you aren't motivated to sell
- It reduces the number of showings
- It helps the competition
- If it doesn't appraise at the higher price a buyer may not be able to secure a loan
- You may ultimately have to drop your price below market value in order to sell
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