Spring is always a popular season for sellers to place their home on the market.
by John Griffin
Making the actual decision to sell can many times prove to be a tough one. Now that you’ve decided, I hate to say this, but you’ve still got a lot of work to do. Of course, you could always hire a team of designers and realtors to do the work for you, but who wants to give away all of that profit when good old-fashioned hard work and a plan is all that’s missing!
Back to the decision part of this process. Before committing to selling it’s important to do your homework. We live in a growing community and we have more people looking in this area. That means more opportunities for you to find a buyer. Some would say to hire a professional appraiser to give you an unbiased estimate of what your home value is. I’m not opposed to this at all, but you can get a pretty solid idea of what your house is worth by using the Zillow app on you phone. Look to see what similar houses have sold for in your neighborhood over the last few months. If your love of your place skews your ability to market it reasonably then definitely hire an outsider. At the same time, your home could actually be worth more than you think which a professional can also assist with.
Weigh the pros and cons financially. Selling eventually leads to you buying something else. That takes money. Are you currently in the best position to pony up a down payment, closing costs, etc. that come along with home buying? There’s also the finance of your selling decision. Is this the best time to sell? If I wait, will my home value increase? Take into account your asking price may not be the closing price.
Finally, be ready! The housing demands are high in this area right now. I have heard people getting offers on their homes within a few hours of it going on the market. Ok, now you’re ready to sell. So, how do you do that while you’re still living there? If you’re going to sell while still residing in the home, which most of us can’t afford two mortgages, then you’ll need a plan to help you out. Here are some great tips to consider or execute when it’s time to put your home on the market:
1. Curb Appeal
The first thing a buyer looks at is the outside. Mow the yard and, yes, edge it, too. Tidy up the landscaping or redo it altogether. Add color by buying some flowers and trimming the hedges. Fresh mulch looks and smells great, too. This is a minor expense that will pay dividends.
2. Paint Check the trim and any wood
A fresh coat of paint can make your home look newer and better kept. Neutral colors are best and appeal to most. It also looks more move-in ready with those colors. It may cost a couple thousand dollars to hire someone but could be worth double the difference if it looks old and dated. Of course, you could save a bundle by simply doing it yourself.
3. Pack Half and Store It
You’ve heard it before but you need to de-clutter. You’ve built quite a collection over the years and all of that stuff just makes your home look smaller. For about $50-$100 a month you can and should store a lot of it off-site. You’re going to have to pack anyway so get a head start.
4. Clean, Clean, Clean
I recommend hiring a one-time cleaning service and then cleaning it again even deeper than they go. Now’s also a good time to set some guidelines with the family about staying disciplined throughout the process. In many cases, you’ll only get a small window to prepare your home for a showing. Make sure the kiddos are keeping up with their chores.
5. Clean The Windows
It’s probably time to do this anyways. Once they’re clean, open the curtains and blinds to allow the bright light in – sunshine is magnetic and attractive.
6. Carpets, too
It’s time to consider a good carpet service and even new carpet in some rooms.
7. Get all your honey-do’s done or hire a handy man
Change out the sagging blinds, change out light bulbs or just fix whatever had needed to be fixed over the last few years.
8. Clean The Garage
Again, store what you don’t need every day. Organize your garage thoroughly. You’re aiming to make it look bigger. Never leave a parked car inside while showing.
9. Stage It
All I can say here is spend some time with the HGTV channel. Every other program has tips and best practices on how to do this effectively. (See, you get to watch TV. It’s not all hard!) Your realtor will most likely hire a professional photographer and you want them to be able to take the best pictures with no clutter!
10. Burn a candle that smells like baked cookies
Yes, they make these. There’s just something about the smell of fresh cooking that makes a home feel right!
11. Hit The Open Houses
Start shopping other homes for creative ideas the competition is doing. Look at staging, cleanliness, curb appeal, and highlighted features. Now, go one-up ‘em!
There you have it. It may seem daunting at first but just start going down the list. Check each task/area off one at a time. It’s not as bad as you think. Finally, I leave you with this. While I’m sure your style and design is truly genius, understand that your audience is a very diverse group. Take caution in “extra-creative” furniture arrangements, loud colors, and any offensive photos or pictures. Also consider taking down family photos. It’s hard to imagine living in a place that another family consumes right before my eyes. You want to make it feel move-in ready and transfer of ownership begins in the mind. Your goal is to appeal to the masses, not just the few luxurious individuals out there like you. So, roll up your sleeves, you have some work to do! Try to enjoy the process and additional work as a family so you don’t stress out too much. You’d be surprised at how many people don’t take the time or put in the effort. A little extra attention to the details will have your home shining in the market as the obvious choice in town. Good luck and happy selling!