Main Content

Home » Preparing For A Future Sale

Preparing For A Future Sale

ask phyllis a real estate question

Ask Phyllis: a blog series of frequently asked real estate questions. Email us here

Preparing For A Future Sale

Dear Phyllis,

I am retiring in September and will be selling my home and moving. We have lived here for thirty years, and while we love our home, I imagine some buyers might think it’s a bit dated. How do I go about preparing for a future sale?


Dear Downsizing,

It’s great that you will be preparing for a future sale to achieve the highest possible selling price.

1) First things first: Hire a Realtor. Your real estate agent gets paid once you close escrow. Many clients hire me months before their home goes on the market. Your Realtor’s job is to guide you during each phase of your home prep. They should suggest what repairs or improvements will give you the highest return on your investment (time and money), and when appropriate, make suggestions regarding paint color, type of flooring, etc.

Preparing For A Future Sale

2) Start from the outside by creating curb appeal. Your goal is to get the buyer in the front door. I often find that most gardeners get a little lazy after a while. Trim trees, hedges, and flowers. The grass should be green. You might need a new gardener because, during the course of your listing, you will want the landscape maintained (if your gardener wasn’t doing it correctly before, what makes you think they will now?). Your Realtor should make a recommendation.

3) I often suggest that my clients have their home pressure washed and windows professionally cleaned before coming on the market. Address exterior painting or touch-up with your Realtor.

Each dollar spent prepping your home for sale does not necessarily result in an additional sales dollar.

Last year, I met with a client who owns a townhome. He planned to put it on the market after a kitchen remodel (not a facelift – a full-blown remodel). He believed that if he spent $60,000 updating his kitchen, his unit would sell for $60,000 more than the last sale. This is not the case. Even if he had found a potential buyer willing to pay $60,000 more for his unit because of the remodel, an appraiser would never adjust the value of a kitchen remodel by the total cost. The appraisal would be low, and if the buyer required financing (unable to purchase with cash), he would need to increase his down payment or, worse, renegotiate the selling price.

Often minor repairs such as torn screens, chipped tile grout, old faucets, and hardware get overlooked. Again your Realtor’s job is to guide you through what should and should not be done. Address the big picture: flooring and ceilings. Ceilings are a significant expanse of a home, and removing the cottage cheese ceilings is a considerable improvement that typically provides a big payoff. Same thing with old carpet; buyers love hardwood floors. They don’t always need to be refinished; exposing the bare wood often enhances the appeal.

It seems that you have ample time to prepare your home for sale. Remember to call your Realtor sooner rather than later. Your Realtor’s commission is based on the selling price and not the amount of time invested.

Related Post: How to prepare a home sale

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *