Spring is a great time to get your home ready for the main selling time in most parts of our country. There are, of course, exceptions to the rule i.e., ocean communities, ski area, winter retirement areas, and localities such as that.
We are going to start this article by asking the sellers to spend money as you may expect easier said than done, but we are doing it to gain the seller more money in less time - - - so relax! This normally happens if done right. For example, let's look at the seller's improvements and reconditioning, when spending 1 to 2% of asking price if needed. Our example would be for homes in the $100,000 to $500,000 price range. If done properly, it is possible to get back an extra 2-4%. Let's at least take a serious look at what we are talking about. We will look at four processes: cleaning, removing all clutter, enhancing anyone's tastes and everything in between. Remember, the goal is to sell for more in less time.
Remember this one thing, the potential buyer has come to evaluate your home and we don't want a negative opinion of it before we open the front door. Make the entrance outside and inside inviting by painting all railings and cleaning. A good idea is to have some colorful plants if room permits it.
If you need to paint your home, a neutral color is usually the best i.e., white or light shades of gray, tan, blue or green. Maybe your buyer won't like the chosen color so make it something easy to paint over. Darker colors, even though they are pleasing to some, will cost more to change. Be sure to get rid of all clutter inside and outside so that your home will look as good as a model home. Check all the windows for cracks, leaks and replace or repair them in the best way possible. Always replace damaged screens. Usually the buyer will request that they are done before closing.
Look very close at all walls and ceilings for cracks and or water damage that can be easily repaired. If you repaint over the repairs, you may have to paint the entire room to make sure it is consistent. Here again, neutral colors i.e., white, beige, light blue or green make it easy for the new owner to paint over to the color of their choice. It does depend on the flooring that you will want to match. Remember, darker colors are very hard to cover.
Any old time wallpaper which dates your home should also be removed. If the flooring is worn and dirty, your option would be to replace it with new less expensive materials, if needed. New, economy carpets will make the buyer feel they can live with it and replace it when they feel it's the right time for them. Here again, neutral colors are the best choice. It's important to make the rooms light and bright. It may be better in some rooms to put in laminates, vinyls, tile or hardwood flooring or, if possible, sand the current flooring, refinish it or replace.
Get rid of all ripped or worn out furniture, remove framed family photos and art work in a packing box ready for your move. Leave just enough to make it feel homey. Religious items can be tricky; you make the call. Other religious symbols, pictures spread around the house are normally not recommended. Again, you make the call.
Removing All Clutter
We all have way too much stuff for showing a home. Remove the excess stuff. We all have numerous pillows, knick knacks, chairs, and sofas, etc. Do I need to say more? It's important to make it look like a model as you are selling your home, not the stuff. If there are too many interesting items to look at, they don't always remember your nice floor plan.
If you would like to see what excess looks like, ours is not a good example! Clear off the top of the cabinets, also clear off the counters, i.e., cookie jars, knife holders, mixers, coffee makers, toasters, toaster ovens, popcorn poppers, etc. Enough said! Buyers want to see as much counter space as possible. Now use the same common sense in all bathrooms, bedrooms, and, as a matter of fact, all your rooms. Make your home look comfortable and wanting to be lived in. A great way to get ideas is to take a Sunday look at models; they're experts.
A good, professional realtor should be able to help you a lot, but it does take years of experience, not for rookies or newbees. If needed, hire a professional stager as they are usually very good and worth their money, but get references. Have your realtor use a professional photographer or at least a seasonal one and a good professional video home tour.
Internet is usually your home's first impression to a potential buyer and other realtors, so I am sure you will agree on this item. These are usually paid for by your realtor or if you are selling on your own, obviously, you must get the best.
I believe in a good pre-home inspection so the things the seller or realtor cannot see, these items found can be fixed so the closing is not delayed or cancelled. The cost of a pre inspection varies from $300 to $500 or more depending upon the age of the home and square feet.
One Last Thing
Neighbors can be of a help or totally kill your home sale or cost you a lot of money with less value. Barking dogs are the worst. If the buyer is not a dog person and your neighbors' dogs are noisy, you probably just lost that sale. Another item is, if the buyer is not a car buff, they may not want to see a torn down car next door or in the back yard. I cannot tell you how many house deals and prices get derailed because of those items. If you are friends with your neighbors, they will help you sell your home; they may even provide you with prospects.
Please send ideas on what you want me to write about, as my goal is always to help everyone who reads my articles. Thank you in advance for your help.
If you have any further questions or ideas for articles you would like to read about in the future, please call me. My number is 928 533-4455.
Remember my favorite sayings, "Experience isn't expensive, it's priceless," and "Selling a home is easy, doing it right is key."
Lee Amble, Realtor, Consultant
National Realty of Prescott
Lee's Cell: 928 533-4455
Jan's Cell: 928 533-4488