What to Do to Prepare to Sell Your Home - Part 1
THE NAME OF THE GAME IS ORGANIZATION!
Locate and organize all the important papers you'll need to entice a potential buyer. The operating manuals for your appliances and HVAC system, notes about the paint colors you used on your walls, your property survey and any applicable warranties are important to have on hand. They'll show both your listing agent and potential buyers that you have things under control.
While you're at it, pull out your old utility bills. Have your listing agent help you to do yearly estimates of your utilities to inform potential buyers. Your utility totals may help make your home look more appealing than the larger house down the road.
Get estimates. Learn what it it'll cost to replace the stuff in your home that's on its last legs -- like the furnace, roof or water heater. Even if you are not prepared to replace or update worn-out items now, knowing how much doing so will cost you could give you an edge in negotiations. When a potential buyer says that they want $20,000 off the asking price to compensate for these items, you will know an update will only cost half that. Cosmetic issues like holes in drywall and chipped or peeling paint are easy to fix and can make a big difference when you are trying to make a quick sale – so definitely fix those!
Prep your home by repairing the kid damage a prospective buyer can see. As parents, we realize that writing on the walls or in their closets are something that kids occasionally do. Make sure a potential buyer doesn’t see your child’s ‘artwork’. If you don’t have children who have damaged your home – good for you! Move on to the next paragraph.
Pay attention to curb appeal! You want potential buyers to drive by and think that a home one street over is the eye sore – NOT YOURS! If you're planning on listing your home, you have to lure people inside. To do that, you've got to mow the lawn and trim the bushes and trees. Don’t have them notice the jungle and not the house! Remove dead branches from trees, pull weeds, paint fences and fix cracks in the driveway.
Organize and de-clutter your home. Go through your belongings. If most of your possessions are from the 1980’s, decluttering your home will be easy. Get the number for the junkyard, or call Goodwill, they will usually come and pick up old furniture items for you. If there are some items that are actually worth the cost of a moving van, keep those and just get rid of the rest. Rent a storage unit if you need to if you are still living in your home while you are trying to sell it. Decluttered homes show better.
Ideally, your rooms should look open and organized. Realtors and potential buyers will think your home is spacious! If not, prepare for a long listing and a low offer – if you receive one at all.
Can’t de-clutter on your own? A GOOD listing agent will pay for a stager to come in for an hour to give you some staging advice – using your own possessions. Pay attention and take their advice. Staged homes sell faster and generally for more money. Many buyers don’t have that vision. Staging a home creates a clear vision for a potential buyer. If that vision is clear (de-cluttered) and enticing, a buyer will respond with an offer (usually a higher offer), because this is a home they don’t want to lose.