Prepping Your Home to Sell

Taking the "You" Out of the Home

There is a lot to consider when you are getting your home ready to sell. One of the most basic considerations must be to decide on the best way to display what the house you are selling has to offer to potential buyers, not what your home has meant to you for the time you’ve lived there. And that means before you place your property on the real estate market, you need to make it less personal and more saleable.

For instance, if you are a collector of angel figurines and you have them displayed on most wooden surfaces and in cabinets–whether built-ins or your own furniture–you need to pack those pieces away and give the property a more “clean” or less cluttered appearance. The same can be said for your husband’s record collection or race car collectibles.

Family pictures are okay, just not maybe the large quantity you are used to displaying around the home. One family portrait sitting on the mantle or on your foyer table is acceptable. Having pictures of all your children and pets in a line up the wall alongside the staircase to the upper level will take away from the potential buyer’s ability to see their own personal touches on those walls.

Make sure the house is thoroughly clean before you allow the property to be shown, be sure and keep any personal items displayed to the absolute minimum-avoiding clutter is the key, and you will have a greater chance of receiving offers for your property.

Interior Improvements & Fixes

If you’re looking to sell your home, there may be a few things you need to do before you put it on the market. Whether you have a leaky roof or an electrical problem, some things need to be fixed or they will be found by an inspector.

So, how can you prepare to sell your home?

Act as if it’s not yours: The first thing you want to do is act like this house you own isn’t yours. Now, walk through every part of your home like a buyer would and look for problems. Just make sure you’re honest with yourself about what needs to be fixed.

Water problems: Make sure there are no water problems such as flooding in the basement, water damage in the ceilings and other issues. These issues can really devalue your home.

Electric: Make sure all the electric is working in your home. From all the outlets to the light switches and appliances, make sure everything can be turned on.

Exterior: Take a look at the exterior of your home and search for problems. Is the roof sinking in and leaking? Are the concrete blocks in the ground cracking and letting in critters and water? Make sure the exterior is just as good as the interior.

Get rid of clutter: Before you have people come to look at your home, make sure you get rid of all the clutter in your home. When a home is cluttered, it looks much smaller than it is.

As you can see, there are some things you will need to do in order to prepare to sell your home. Consider these ideas above and have a better chance at selling your home.

Exterior Improvements & Fixes

Making important repairs and fixes to the exterior of your home gives buyers a positive first impression and draws them inside to explore the interior.

First impressions have a big impact on a potential buyer’s decision. Therefore, it is important to make sure the entry way to your home is neat and tidy by fixing any sagging screens and painting the door and door frame. Also, fill in any major cracks in the walkway leading up to the house.

A roof that shows signs of neglect or disrepair is one of the biggest turnoffs to buyers. Be sure to replace missing shingles or roofing tiles. Clean off any moss or algae that might be growing on your roof. A roofing professional will be able to help you with this.

Take the time to landscape your yard. Re-seed or fertilize the lawn if necessary and keep it mowed. Prune your trees and bushes and remove any dead branches or leaves. To increase the visual appeal of your home, plant new flowers or shrubs. Finally, remove any “no trespassing” or “beware of dog” signs and place trash cans out of sight.

When it comes time sell your home, the first thing potential buyers see is the outside. Making repairs and improving the exterior of your home makes it more appealing and more likely to sell for top dollar.

Shooting for the Moon and Land…Nowhere

Putting a price on your home can be an emotional roller coaster. You want to get the highest price that you can for your home, but what will happen if you price your home too high for the current market?

When you list your home for sale, you are putting your property in competition with every other house on the market. Because you are competing with other sellers, if you price your house too high, it will likely just sit without being sold. If your property is not getting any offers at a higher list price, your broker is going to suggest that you bring the listing price down to current market prices where similar properties are actually selling. When a property sits on the market without selling, buyers start to wonder why it isn’t sold.

You need to find out what the recent sales are for homes in your area. You also need to consider the types of sales that are influencing current market prices. Is your home in the same area that has a high number of foreclosure, reo or short sales? Such sales (and foreclosures) can have a negative impact on home prices.

Before making your home pricing decision, make sure to get a current market analysis to see what is happening in your area.

When making an offer, try to be “aggressively realistic”. You certainly want to save money, but you also want to give the seller a reason to sell to you…after all, you want the house!

Choosing an Experienced Real Estate Agent

One of the most important things you can do when you are selling your home is to find the right real estate agent. An experienced agent can sell your home quickly, instead of letting it sit on the market for months.

A real estate agent can help you price your home to sell. The price must be competitive for the area where you live and it must be comparable to other homes that are similar in size and style. A real estate agent can get all of that information for you and give you a price that is reasonable. They have access to information that you will be unable to get, and they can save you time doing research. Not only will they know what other homes are listed at in your neighborhood, but they can find out what the selling price was on homes that have recently sold.

An agent can also tell you inexpensive ways to improve your home to increase your asking price. This is essential if you have an older home that is outdated.

Before you set your price, discuss your options with an experienced agent. They can show you how to negotiate once you get an offer. The asking price is often not the selling price, and you want to make sure you get the price you need. A real estate agent can be a valuable resource when you are selling your home, and can make the entire process go smoothly and quickly.

Meeting With Your Agent

When using a realtor, it is imperative that they have a thorough knowledge of the market in your area. He or she will need to present recent home sale statistics for your area so that they can get come up with a price that is reflective of the current real estate market.

When meeting with your agent to discuss the sale of your home, you will need to keep in mind that the pricing of your home is one of the most important factors in regards to the sale of the home. No matter how wonderful your neighborhood, school system, amenities, etc., if the home is priced too high, you could potentially be pricing yourself out of a sale.

When the agent arrives for your meeting, the first thing you need to see is a proposal that the agent has prepared specifically for you. This proposal should include recent homes sale, length of time those homes were on the market, current homes on the market in your area that could possibly be used by an appraiser as comparable to your home.

Most importantly, the agent should then give you their opinion of a price to list the home. If you do not agree with the price and feel that it is too high or too low, let the agent know. It is your home and the decision is ultimately up to you.