Selling a home can take a lot of work, time and patience. Many home owners grow attached to their homes so it's hard to see your home's imperfections with fresh eyes as a potential buyer would. A critical and sometimes overlooked step is getting the property ready to sell.
We recommend taking these steps before listing your home...
- Get a Pre-Sale Inspection: Hire an inspection company in your area to do a proper inspection of your property before you go to list it. Most buyers who will put in an offer to buy your home, will make it contingent on an inspection report. If an inspection company reports seemingly big issues, which you didn't mention upfront or factor into the sales price, this can scare a buyer away. Your deal is dead! By having an inspector come and give you a report detailing all the issues, you have the upper hand and can fix these issues before you list your home. A few issues that an inspector may bring to your attention, which you may have not even noticed and decide to fix prior to listing include, an outdated electrical panel, broken roof tiles, an old HVAC system, and signs of mold.
- De-clutter - You must de-clutter. A house ready to be sold should have less furniture and accessories than a house you normally live in. Remove personalized photographs on the walls. Remove a lot from the walls. Scale back. Your closets and all storage spaces should be half empty to give the impression you have plenty of space. Donate what you can. Pay to rent a storage unit, as it may ultimately help to sell your home faster.
- Fresh Paint - Paint the inside of your house a fresh coat of paint. Pick a neutral color. When flipping a home, we like to paint the living areas a light beige color called Neutral Ground from Sherwin-Williams. Paint all your trim and ceilings the same white color.
- Smell - Cleaning and painting will help alleviate some of the smells that accumulated over the years from life... dirty diapers...pets...burnt dinners... Go the extra step and rent an Ozone Machine or hire a company that will do this for you. It's sometimes recommended to not be home during this process and stay out of the house for at least 24 hours afterwards.
- Clean - This is an obvious one. Steam clean carpets and tiles. Re-grout grout lines to look fresh. Clean windows and ledges as well as ceiling fans and shelves, which can be areas prone to hidden dust bunnies. Hire a cleaning girl to come every two weeks while your home is on the market.
- Curb Appeal - Drive past your house to study its curb appeal. Is the roof clean? Are your plants lively? Plant some fresh brushes and flowers, mulch, and keep your grass as green as possible. For very little money you can make your landscaping have a wow factor.
- Bye-Bye Doggies - You do not want pets in your home during showings. If you have animals, I recommend having only open houses or showing times when to show your place and during those blocks of time, leave the house with all animals - and children... You also don't want to show any signs of pet, so tuck away doggy bowls, beds and chew toys.
- Research Comps - Before listing your home and finding an agent to list it with, do your homework first on what you think your house is worth. Type in your zip code on Zillow and only select Sold homes. If you're living in a city or suburb try to find sold homes within one mile from you and that sold within the last 6 months. For more rural areas, you can search within 5 miles and the last year. If there aren't similar homes as yours, you can average price per square feet of the last three sold comps in your area to get an idea what you should list your house for. Also look on Zillow your exact address and it should give you a "Zestimate".
- Job Interview Agents - Hire a listing agent as you would hire someone joining a company. Interview them as though it's a job interview. Have questions ready. Find an agent who is an Encyclopedia about the area. Your listing agent should know about the nearby schools, parks, places of worship, restaurants, and all the hot spots. If you live in a community, use an agent that has listed and sold multiple homes in the same neighborhood and ask for the addresses and what they sold, and the days on the market.