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You’ve Decided to Sell Your Home, Now What?

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Preparing your home to sell can take as little or as much effort as your want. Each home seller is unique. Not everyone wants to spend the time and effort in preparing their home for sale. And that’s okay. For sellers that do, know that it typically takes a month to get your home properly prepped for sale. While some homeowners get it done in days, others enjoy a more leisurely pace and find it takes months. You’ve decided to sell your home; now what?

1)      First things first: Hire a Realtor®. Your real estate agent gets paid once you close escrow. You might as well bring them on early in the process. Have them 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. Both time and money, and when appropriate, make suggestions regarding paint colors, type of flooring, etc.

2)      Start from the outside by creating curb appeal. Your goal is to get the buyer in the front door. My biggest issue with most of my clients is that their gardeners have been slacking off. Trees, hedges, and flowers need to be trimmed. The lawn 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? Call me for a recommendation.

3)      I often suggest that my clients have their home pressure washed and windows professionally cleaned before coming on the market. If the exterior needs to be painted or touched up, address that with your Realtor.

Each dollar spent prepping your home for sale does not result in an additional sales dollar. Earlier this year, I met with a client who owns a townhome. His plan was to put it on the market after a kitchen remodel (not a facelift – a full-blown remodel). He believed that if he spent $60,0000 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 who was 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. Thus if the buyer needed financing (unable to purchase with cash) would need to increase his down payment.

Click here to read about what happens when the appraisal comes in low.

Often small 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 big expanse of the home, and removing the cottage cheese ceilings is a big improvement that typically provides a big payoff. Same thing with old carpets; buyers love hardwood floors, and they don’t always need to be refinished, often just exposing the bare wood enhances the appeal.

Related Posts: Why curb appeal is important and how to get it
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