Once upon a time, during the housing bubble, a seller could list a home and sell it in days, if not hours — even one in poor condition. Those days are gone! Now, a home owner must be an active partner with his/her Realtor in preparing the property for sale and in making it highly marketable. Now, the home must beat its competition.
The following important actions will help get your home ready to sell.
- ORGANIZE AND CLEAN - Pare down clutter and pack up your least-used items, such as large blenders and other kitchen tools, out-of-season clothes, toys, and exercise equipment. Put away knick-knacks and treasured personal items. Store them off-site, if possible, or in boxes neatly arranged in the garage or basement. Clean the windows, carpets, walls, lighting fixtures, and baseboards to make the house shine.
- SPRUCE UP THE CURB APPEAL- Pretend you’re a buyer and stand outside your home. As you approach the front door, what is your impression of the property? Do the lawn and bushes look neatly manicured? Is the address clearly visible? Are attractive flowers or plants framing the entrance? Is the walkway free from cracks and impediments? Does anything else obviously need attention? If you can see the problem, you can be sure potential buyers will focus on it.
- GET REPLACEMENT ESTIMATES - Do you have big-ticket items that are worn out or will need to be replaced soon, such as your roof or carpeting? If so, ask your agent for the names of trusted contractors. Get estimates on how much it would cost to replace these worn out items — even if you don’t plan to do it yourself. The figures will help buyers determine if they can afford the home, and will be handy when negotiations begin.
- STAGE YOUR HOME - Your home has your personal “signature” everywhere. Now, it needs to look like you’ve converted it into a “model home.” A professional stager can advise you what to eliminate, replace, rearrange, and optimize so potential buyers can imagine your home as theirs.
- HAVE A PRE-LISTING HOME INSPECTION - Be proactive by arranging for a pre-listing home inspection. Ask your agent for the name of a reliable and knowledgeable inspector. An inspector will give you a good indication of the trouble areas that will stand out to potential buyers. You’ll be able to make repairs before your listing goes live and showings begin.
YOU MUST MOVE OUT...PSYCHOLOGICALLY!
Most sellers are justifiably proud of their home and have decorated it to suit their personal tastes and desires. Many have treasured collections of items painstakingly acquired over years. But now, these items must be taken down and packed away. The objective is to wipe away your personal imprint on the home so the buyer can imagine his/her personal imprint. It's sometimes painful, but necessary.
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