First, relax and take a good look at your house. You’ve lived with it, and know the things you have been meaning to fix/repair/replace, if only you had time. Well, that’s a good place to start.
We personally started on the ‘get the house ready to sell’ phase at the end of last year, when we discovered we needed to have our roof re-shingled. This started us taking that good look around and determining what were the things we had been putting off. When you are going to sell your house, you want it to be as close to repair free as you can make it. These aren’t always big ticket items. Is there a leaky tap, are there chips in the paint, does the front door need painted, is there a sticky lock that really bugs you, but not enough that you have actually got around to fixing it? These are things, that, simple as they are, will put off potential buyers, as they indicate a general lack of maintenance.
There are other basics to take care of. Are the closets organized or do you have to stand back when you open the door? Are the kitchen cupboards organized looking? Are your storage areas organized or do they look like you just tossed whatever you didn’t know what to do with somewhere? These things can help someone visualize living in the house. Are the lights all working? These may seem pretty obvious, but I can assure after 28 years selling real estate, not everyone is on the same page.
If you are looking for ways to maximize your dollars from your home, consider whether your baths or kitchen could stand some updates. What you do is obviously limited by your budget, but these are two areas that provide a good return on your dollars invested.
You might be wondering why it has taken us 8 months to have our house ready to go on the market. We took a really hard look around and decided that after 14 years, our house needed a face lift. We have replaced carpet with hardwood flooring (not as easy as it sounds, since that also involves removing and replacing baseboards, and repainting…). We have updated bathrooms with new shower enclosures and vanities with granite tops. We have painted the house pretty much from top to bottom to reflect today’s tastes as opposed to what we thought might look good. We have also taken a good look at the gardens, and I can assure you I never want to pull another weed or move another overgrown bush!
Just a word to the wise for someone thinking of doing what we have… it sounds straightforward on paper, but remember Murphy’s Law, if something can go wrong, it will… I can testify to that! We have actually had a lot of fun working on the house. People keep asking, now that it’s all fixed up, why don’t you stay? Are they nuts? We need a new project!
My final words of advice on being ready to sell are that clean and uncluttered will always carry the day. Let potential buyers see all that your house has to offer. Don’t ask them to look around all your treasures. Many buyers never remember the actual house they toured, they only remember what was displayed or the condition of the house. First impressions are really important. That starts when they pull up at the curb, and carries through every room of the house. When you list your property, walk through with your REALTOR® and take an impartial look. What would you think if you were seeing the house for the first time?
If you are unsure how to showcase your home, be sure to ask your REALTOR® and perhaps even consider having a stager come through your home. They can provide some great ideas, that can make all the difference in the world.
So, if you are planning to sell, call a professional. They can make the process smooth and worry free… After you’ve done the tough work, of course.