You’ve decided to sell your home—now what? It’s a big undertaking, and depending on the state of your home, there is always a certain amount of work to do. Whether you have children and need to manage toys and clutter, or you are going to move before the home is sold, this checklist will help you to focus on the important preliminary steps in the process. The steps in this list are applicable either before finding a real estate agent or after, but for the best chance at selling your house quickly, they definitely need to be done before your house is listed.
1. Set a Budget for Updates
What should be done before listing is determined by the house and the market, but more importantly the vital updates are established through an inspection. Updates range from minor painting fixes to an entire kitchen or master bath re-haul. Keep in mind what you may have loved with for years may not appeal to general buyer tastes. Decide upfront how much money you’re able and willing to spend to get your house ready for a buyer.
2. Remove Emotions from the Equation
To sell your home, you need to make it appeal to someone else—which means your own opinions about its decor and imperfections no longer hold as much gravity. If you have trouble seeing your house through the eyes of a potential buyer, consider enlisting the help of your agent or local designer for help. Oftentimes another set of eyes can put things in perspective and create simple solutions to any issues.
3. Scope out the Competition
Keeping up with the Joneses may not be your first priority, but when you are selling your home it is of utmost importance to know what your neighbors are doing. Similar homes in your neighborhood that have sold recently are a goldmine of information in terms of pricing, updates, incentives and so forth. Your agent will complete a comparative market analysis that will help to begin this process.
4. First Impressions Are the Only Impressions
Potential buyers will judge your home from the moment they see it, so you want it to have a fantastic first impression. Since so much information and imagery is provided online, several buyers will do a drive-by to see what the house looks like in person before scheduling a walk-through. If your curb appeal and entry space is not up to par these buyers are unlikely to return. Look at your house and yard critically to find areas where you can make improvements. Peeling or faded paint, cracks in concrete, and dead plants are all eyesores that should be taken care of quickly.
5. Don’t Avoid Necessary Improvements
Inspections will reveal any glaring issues. A new roof, electrical issues, plumbing problems and so on are serious operating systems for the home that need to be in tip top shape if you want to get close to full asking price. Obviously there are restrictions in some cases with budgets and if this is the case, consider factoring in a seller incentive in your budget for the buyer to be able to fix it themselves.
6. Clean, Clear-Out and Neutralize
To make your home look open, but still inviting, remove as much clutter as possible and pare down furniture. If the decor in your home is highly personalized, this can easily hinder a sale. Having your furniture in the home or staging definitely helps, but overdecorating inhibits potential buyers from imagining themselves in your home. Cleared-off countertops, neutral paint colors and a clean home allow visitors to imagine themselves making this house their home.
7. Have Important Info Ready and Waiting
Have important information ready and waiting for curious buyers. The age of all operating systems needs to be readily available along with the age of current appliances and prices of utilities. Additional information such as distances to shops, grocery stores and major transportation outlets is not necessary, but it never hurts to add.
If you haven’t decided whether or not to sell and still have questions about the current market, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We are happy to answer any questions about how long homes are sitting on the market, average sale prices for your area and so on. Need to fill in the blanks since the last time you sold a home? Check out our Definitive Guide to Selling Your Home, an in-depth guide to home sales in your area.