Homeowners thinking about putting their houses on the market can find lots of good advice, but it can easily become overwhelming! For those who feel like they don’t know where to start, let me offer a very short list of essential steps. These will do the most to ensure your home sells quickly, and at the best price.
Number 1: Make sure everything is in good working order. Heating and air conditioning, wiring and plumbing, any appliances that will stay with the house: you are almost always better off fixing these things yourself, at your own expense, rather than leaving them for the buyer to take care of. It’s been proven that the price concessions a seller has to make because of needed repairs add up to more money than the cost of repairs.
Don’t forget that time is money. A house in tip-top condition sells faster, and a fast sale is an economic plus for the seller.
If in doubt about what to get fixed, hire a professional home inspector up front, before the house goes on the market. This will let you avoid any surprises later. For more about home inspections, refer to my Insights article from March 2014.
Number 2: Repaint. If your home hasn’t been painted within the past few years, or if you can see marks on walls, baseboards or trim, a little paint will go a long way. The cost will be minor compared to the almost certain return on your investment. Your home will appear newer and will show better. While some people with a handyman streak may be willing to trade work for a lower price, most buyers prefer to avoid such hassles, and want to move in to a house in like-new condition. Also, as with mechanical repairs, better condition equals a faster sale, which equals more money in your pocket.
Number 3: Shampoo the carpets. Just like fresh paint, this is an investment that will get you a good return. Homes that show cleaner and newer are likely to sell quicker.
Number 4: Start packing early. This isn’t just for your benefit; by decluttering your house, you prepare it to be shown and for buyers to appreciate its full potential. You shouldn’t have too many personal items in view when the house is on the market. Kitchen and bathroom counters should be clear, and unnecessary furniture removed. The objective is to help potential buyers visualize how they could make the house their own.
For good insight into this very important process, hire a home staging professional. I hire a stager at no charge as a service to all my sellers. I have more to say about home staging in my February 2014 Insights article.
When you’re removing the excess “stuff” from your house, divide it into categories: 1) pack, 2) donate, 3) sell and 4) trash.
Number 5: Trust your full-time real estate professional. When making what’s likely the biggest financial transaction you’ll ever make, follow an expert’s suggestions on what to do, including the vital matter of how to price your home.
Michelle Clark is a broker with Intracoastal Realty, based at the Wrightsville Beach office. She is an Accredited Luxury Home Specialist, ALHS and also a Short Sales and Foreclosure Resource. Whether you are buying, selling, or investing, know that Michelle and her team will go the extra mile for you. To learn more about Michelle and Intracoastal, go to www.intracoastalrealty.com. You may contact Michelle at [email protected] or 910-367-9767. Like Michelle’s team on Facebook at www.facebook.com/MichelleClarkTeam.
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