Most home sellers have two goals in mind when putting their home on the market for sale; Get their home sold as quick, and for the most amount of money possible. Both of these goals can be accomplished fairly easily in today’s market, but you must have your home in top condition. Based on my experience working with home sellers and home buyers the following tips will help you increase the value of your home and get your home sold in the fastest time possible.
1) Paint and Carpet
A fresh coat of paint makes a world of difference. It can make a room new and clean and new carpets will make it stand out that much more. Be sure to pick out neutral paint colors that will appeal to most buyers. Although I recommend home buyers look past the way the sellers have their home staged, I have seen buyers disqualify homes based on the paint colors the sellers had chosen. Buyers also look at the floors as they walk through the house so be sure that carpets are clean, and if worn, consider replacing it. Worn out or dirty carpet and badly painted or dirty walls are signs of neglect to most home buyers and may cause concerns of other issues even if there is not any.
2) Energy Costs
In today’s market, home buyers take many things into consideration when purchasing a home. Often times, one of those concerns they want to know the average costs of the utilities. Most utility companies offer free energy audits. Taking advantage of this can not only help you save money now but it can help you down the road when you are ready to sell your house. Although this may not be the deciding factor in most home buyers purchase decisions, with all else being equal, this could be a definite factor!
The kitchen is one of the most important rooms in a home for most buyers. Knowing this, you must have your kitchen ready for the market. If the appliances are old and/or dirty, get them cleaned spotless or consider replacing them. You don’t need to go out and spend a lot of money replacing your stove or refrigerator with top end appliances but you do not want the buyers walking into the kitchen seeing the old or dirty appliances then walking out because of it. Plus, do not forget about the drawers and cabinets as buyers will open these so keep them clean inside and out!
Bathrooms are also very important to home buyers and will get the same scrutiny as the kitchen… in particular the master bathroom. Similar to the kitchen, replace old fixtures and make sure the floors, bathtub, shower, and walls are CLEAN. Again, you don’t need to break the bank on appliances but you do want them to be modern and stand out to the buyer. Also, a fresh coat of paint can go a long way in the bathrooms. Dirty bathrooms can be a deal killer to some home buyers so take your time and get this right.
5) Curb Appeal
You’ve heard the saying, you only get one chance to make a good first impression? Well, that is absolutely true in real estate! Buyers will develop an immediate opinion of your home when they pull up to it. Put on your buyer goggles, walk outside and look at your front yard and the front of your home. Does the house need paint or residing? Are there windows or shutters that need repair? Does the yard need to be cleaned up, mowed and trimmed? Take the time to pick up any items and debris in the yard, mow and trim if needed and position trash bins so that they are not visible from the street, and do any other general cleaning/maintenance that might be needed.
I would suggest starting this process about a year before you are ready to put the house on the market. I have had buyers walk through homes that have too much stuff all over the house and they comment to me that it looks like a mess. When a buyer thinks the home is a mess, they believe there are probably other issues with the home even if there are not. Remember, the way you live in your home is not always the same way you should sell it. In other words, stage your home to appeal to the masses, not necessarily the way you like it and are comfortable with. I would suggest doing this in two stages.
Gather everything that you don’t use on a regular basis, and do not anticipate using in the near future, boxed up and store neatly in a room in the basement, the garage, or place it in storage. This would include clothes and dishes/appliances that you have not used in a while, paperwork, bathroom items, toys, etc. These are things you don’t want to throw away or donate, you just don’t need them in your home on a day-to-day basis.
Do this when you are getting closer to listing your home for sale. Pack up the rest of your clothes that you won’t e wearing anytime soon, pack up toys, books, tools, art, pictures, bathroom items, appliances and other kitchen items you won’t be using anytime soon, and any other items you won’t be using prior to the move. Again, put these in storage or boxed neatly in the attic or basement. Be sure to label all boxes with the room they belong in, for example… “Kitchen” and what is in the box “Dishes”.
7) Hire A Home Inspector
Consider this, most home buyers will hire a home inspector to inspect your house for any and all issues. Wiring, foundation, plumbing, siding, etc. This is not the time for any surprises! When you accept an offer on your house, you want to close the deal with the least amount of hassle possible. I highly recommend hiring a home inspector to complete a pre-listing inspection of the house to identify any potential surprises before putting the house on the market. The benefit to you is that you will know any repairs that could be a potential problem for a buyer and need to be repaired. Knowing the issues and addressing them before accepting an offer on your house will not only make the process a whole lot smoother for all parties involved, but it will also help put more money in your pocket since the buyer will have the confidence to make a strong offer knowing they are getting a quality, well cared for home. Keep in mind, home inspection reports are detailed reports noting any and all issues with the home and can be fairly daunting to go through. If you make the wise investment of a home inspection, let me know and I’ll be glad to refer a few quality inspectors if needed, and I’ll be glad to stop by to review the report with you and I can recommend what needs to be done and what is not necessary. Either way, you can be assured that buyers will get an inspection done, so you can deal with the issues that come up when you are trying to make a deal on your home or you could hire your own inspector and address those potential deal killers long before the negotiating begins.
Again, this information is based on my real world experience working with home sellers and home buyers. Our goal is to generate as much interest in your house as possible and get it sold fast, for top dollar, and with the fewest hassles as possible. I am active in the market daily, so if you need me to stop by for a few minutes to give any real-world advice from a buyers perspective just let me know. Using my experience and knowledge now, before you are ready to sell, will go along way in getting you more money, faster and easier when you are ready to sell.