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THE TOP TIPS TO PREPARE YOUR HOME FOR SALE
Home sales are projected to rise by as much as 8.9% in 2021 as the market continues to rebound from the pandemic. Interest rates remain at record lows, causing more millennials to enter the home buying market for the first time, which has led to increased demand, that is expected to continue.
Given this increased demand, more and more people are considering selling their homes. If you’re one of them, read on to learn about the things that make a difference when you’re getting your home ready to appeal to the masses.
1. List Your Home at The Right Price
This might seem like a strange tip in a high demand market. However, price still matters. Even though demand is high, it’s still important to price your home competitively in order to attract as many buyers as possible. In today’s market, buyers have been programmed to expect to pay more than list price to get the home they want. Therefore, if you price your home too high, it will scare many buyers away and you could end up sitting on the market, costing you thousands of dollars in profit. To get an idea of the right price for your home, have a professional agent visit your home in person and assess its condition, finishes, special features, the neighborhood, etc. Your agent can then research its value using data from the sale of comparable homes in the MLS (Multiple Listing Service) and give you a recommended list price. Remember, list price does not equal sale price. In Snohomish County, homes are currently selling (on average) for 3.3% over list price, and oftentimes more.
2. Work with an Experienced Agent
Work with an agent who is experienced, informed and can provide helpful services throughout the entire selling process. The right agent should be able to provide you with advice to maximize your curb appeal and your profit, as well as have a good working knowledge of the local market and comparable properties in your neighborhood.
3. Make Minor Repairs or Renovations
Patch holes in the walls, replace broken appliances, and change burnt out light bulbs. No problem is too small in the eyes of a potential buyer! Also, fresh paint, in a neutral color, goes a long way to making your home feel new!
Small issues send the message that the home has not been well taken care of. They could also indicate to a potential buyer that there is other more costly neglect taking place — like water or mold damage.
Nobody likes a dark house, especially here in the Pacific Northwest. Maximize the light in your home. Take down heavy drapes, clean the windows, and swap the lampshades and up the wattage in the bulbs. Do whatever it takes to let the light shine in!
You can also add some pop to your home with fresh flowers, accent pillows, a new welcome mat — these little touches can amp up the welcome factor of any home and go a long way with buyers. You don't have to go out of your way, either. Just a few here and there to make it feel more like home.
Don’t forget to cut the grass, pull the weeds, and a little fresh bark and flowers outside make a big difference too!
4. Clean, Clean, Clean!
Clean like you’ve never cleaned before, inside and out - and then keep it that way. Clean gutters, pressure-wash sidewalks and driveways, wash windows inside and out, and keep your bathrooms and kitchen sparkling!
If you have carpets in your home, they need to be clean before you show your home. This will improve the appearance of your floors and eliminate any nasty odors that might be locked in the carpet.
Professional carpet cleaning is recommended – they just have more cleaning power. Ask me for a referral to a local carpet cleaner that will do a great job.
A sparkling clean home will make for a better first impression when potential buyers walk through the door.
5. Depersonalize & Declutter
Sounds strange, but the truth is that the more personal your space, the less potential buyers can imagine themselves living there. This includes family photos, collections, travel items, and keepsakes. It’s hard for a buyer to imagine themselves in the space with your family’s faces covering the walls!
You should also remove any polarizing items, like political and religious memorabilia. Think generic! Many people have strong feelings about these types of things, and you don’t want a buyer to pre-judge your home based on your political or religious beliefs. The best solution is to pack these items in storage.
Here is where a professional agent can help as well. I will walk through your home and give you suggestions on what should stay and what should go into the garage sale, or at least into a storage unit.
6. Organize Closet Space & Cabinets
Every buyer is looking for a place to store all their stuff. When I’m showing homes, my buyers regularly open closet doors, kitchen cabinets, etc. Scale back as much as possible, think necessity only, and put the rest in storage. Then, neatly organize what’s left to highlight the home’s storage space.
7. Move Your Pets Out
Not everyone is an animal lover. If a potential buyer walks in and sees a dog bowl, smells a litter box, or is picking hair off their pants hours after the Open House, they will think the house is not clean.
A potential buyer shouldn’t even be able to tell if a four-legged friend lives there or not. It’s best if your pet can stay with friends or relatives while your home is on the market, but if that’s not possible, you should at least take them out of the house for showings or open houses.
8. Eliminate Bad Smells
You should be able to eliminate any unpleasant odors after a good clean. Even if it’s winter, open the windows and give the home time to air out.
To add a pleasing smell, bake before an open house, or light a fresh-smelling candle. Keep it subtle because anything too overpowering will smell suspicious, like you’re trying to hide something.
9. Update the Kitchen & Baths
Kitchens & baths are probably the most important rooms in the house. They are also the most expensive to renovate. Investing a few thousand dollars might get you an eighty-five percent return, while dated kitchen or bathroom could knock a huge chunk off of the asking price.
One of the fastest and most inexpensive ways to update your kitchen or bathroom is to repaint your cabinets & refinish countertops. Most home improvement stores carry cabinet and countertop kits that you can use to do a quick makeover.
However, if you really want to up your game, you can give your home a total refresh prior to listing to help maximize your profit. Your professional real estate agent can connect you with a company that specializes in renovating homes in advance of sale, and they don’t get paid until closing. This allows homeowners to maximize their profit with no up-front costs. Ask me for more information!
10. Always Be Ready to Show
Once your house goes on market, it needs to be “show ready” at all times because you never know when an agent will request a showing. You want your home to be available whenever they want to come and see the place. Keep the dishes clean and put away, beds made, and clear clutter. It may seem annoying but will get your house sold!
Removing yourself is the ultimate depersonalization. Buyers don’t feel free to browse your home when you are present. You want to give buyers the freedom to open closets, inspect the rooms, and ask questions without feeling like they are snooping around. Before someone comes for a showing, open the windows, turn on all the lights, light a candle, and get yourself out!
I hope this guide has been helpful to you in knowing what items need to be addressed in getting ready to sell your house. If you have any further questions, or need advice, feel free to reach out to me anytime at (425) 345-8099. I’m here to help!