Preparing to sell your home can be a complicated, stressful process. However, there are steps to take that will eliminate a lot of the stress and also maximize your profit from the home sale.
The place to start is with creating a list of projects that will improve how your home looks when you stage it for viewing by potential buyers. These moves will also give you the best return on investment when the time comes to negotiate price.
The goal is to increase the home’s value without spending too much on the front end. This is especially true in a competitive market like the one in Florida, where home sales have increased and prices stabilized in the wake of last decade’s housing bubble burst.
Here are some items to consider when preparing to sell your home.
Preparing to Sell Your Home: Realize It Is Not Your Home Anymore
This step might seem too cerebral for some, but it is a crucial one for making the right decisions. You cannot view the house as your home anymore. Emotions have to go out the window. This is all about business.
In a more practical sense, this means you need to remove personal items. Family photos, kid’s art projects and any other items that will hinder people from seeing the house as their potential home, not yours.
Reduce the Clutter
Who doesn’t want less clutter in their lives? This is often an unrealized goal for all home owners, but as you approach the time when potential buyers will view your home, it’s time to get it done.
As noted above, potential buyers need the ability to imagine living in the home. This is severely curtailed by mounds of items stacked everywhere by the current owner. This also extends to whatever artwork and photography you have placed on the walls. Mirrors might be OK, but most of it has to go.
The same goes for most of the furniture. You want just a few tastefully placed items. Everything else needs to go into storage somewhere.
You know the bold colors you decided to use on the walls in the bedroom? All of that has to go. But don’t paint the walls white – that’s almost as bad. Pick instead the sort of color you might see in a hotel room. Typically, that means a light beige or a vanilla white. Again, the idea is to remove your personality from the house.
It’s also critical that before you paint, you fix the holes and scraps that are on almost every wall in every home. Take the time to fill the holes and then sand them to a smooth surface before painting.
Fix the Most Nagging Problems
Obviously, the people who are looking at your home live somewhere, too, and they know all about the common problems that can drive people crazy. This means that leaky faucets, loose doorknobs, weather stripping around windows and doors that is damaged and tears in damaged window screens all need to be fixed.
Think about it this way. If a potential buyer sees that you haven’t stayed on top of the little things, they are going to start thinking about what bigger issues you might not have stayed on top of, too. That’s not a line of thinking you want potential buyers to follow.
Living for a long time in one place leads to dirt and grime, no matter how neat and tidy you live. Take the time to clean areas of the bathroom where grime builds up. Clean the floors. Scrub the handrails and wash the baseboards. In Florida, chances are you have a pool home, and that means pressure washing the pool deck.
Often we look at cluttered or dirty areas so much that they kind of disappear for us. But that won’t be the case with potential buyers.
Time, Time, Time
Whatever deadline you think you have for moving, it’s probably best to double it (or, if you’re a real go-getter, add 50% more time). Everything mentioned above is going to take longer than you probably expect. Make a schedule to handle all of the above and build in extra time for the unexpected twists and turns that inevitably crop up when getting a home ready for sale.
Tired yet? Preparing to sell your home can be a grind, but all the effort is worth it when your house dazzles potential buyers. Years from now, you’ll remember the good offer you got on the house more than the hours it took to get it ready for sale.