Preparing Your Home to Sell

The sale of your home is one of the most important events in  your life. If you have decided to sell, now is the time to enhance the relative attractiveness of you home so that prospective purchasers will be willing to pay you top market price. In a seller's market (one in which the inventory is rapidly decreasing), seller's don't have to do much to obtain a high selling price because buyers don't have many choices. However, in a buyers market (one in which the inventory is rapidly increasing), sellers need to distinguish their home from the competition to get top price. The goal is to make your home appear comparable to the best of the model homes that you see in the new subdivisions.

Don't make your home unsaleable
Now is not the time to launch a major remodeling project. There is a common myth perpetuated by the remodeling industry that sellers can usually recover and make a profit on the costs of remodeling when selling their home. The costs of remodeling a kitchen or bathroom, adding an extra room or air conditioning, installing custom drapes or even replacing carpets are normally not fully recovered when the home is sold. If you spend money on remodeling, there is a 100% certainty that you will incur expenses but there is less than a 100% chance that you will recover the cost of these expenditures. An expense that you feel is absolutely necessary may be considered an unnecessary frill to a buyer. An addition risk of remodeling is that the additional cost and increased asking price will price your home out of the range of similar homes or out of the price range of current buyers in the marketplace. You should evaluate the purpose of every dollar spent in relation to the return that you will get in the sale. This is a good rule to follow, not only when selling a home, but whenever you are considering a renovation or remodeling project.

You don't get a second chance to make a good first impression
The appearance of your home from the street is the single most important consideration when you are evaluating possible changes. Home buyers are in the process of making one of the most important decisions in their life. Most buyers have only a limited time to search for a home and need to make quick decisions to get on with the process. A buyer will normally make a decision about your home before they even get to the front door. You should take a good objective look at your home, and the adjacent homes, from the street. This is where the buyer will be when they first look at your home and the neighborhood. You should attempt to make your home as attractive and inviting to potential buyers as possible. It is our experience that the following items are normally worthwhile projects; however, you may not be able to accomplish all of these items. Do what you can and don't worry about the rest. A competent real estate agent can work around the obstacles.

Kitchen and Bathrooms: the most important rooms in the house
When you are selling a home, the kitchen and bathrooms should be immaculate. Nobody likes to see other peoples dirt-especially in these rooms. It doesn't take great skill to thoroughly clean but it does take many hours of hard work. It can easily take two hours to properly clean under a kitchen range hood and a similar amount of time to clean a shower. It often takes two entire working days (16 hours), or more,  to properly clean the inside of a house.

Garage: the least important area
If you don't have room to store all those articles that you are clearing out of the living area, put them in the garage. Some buyers couldn't care less about the garage and you can park you car in the driveway or the street while your home is for sale. The car won't be there during showings because you will take it with you while you disappear during the showings of your home to prospective purchasers.

Other areas:

Pets shouldn't be seen or heard
If you currently have pets, keep them out of sight. This may also be the right time to suggest a temporary home for your neighbor's barking dog.

Inspect-don't regret
Ask for the advice of your real estate broker regarding the appropriate inspections to obtain. A competent realtor should know fair and impartial licensed pest control (termite) inspectors, property inspectors, roofing inspectors, chimney inspectors, pool inspectors, etc. It is best to obtain all of these inspections prior to looking at any offer so you know what the cost of your obligations may be regarding necessary repairs under the terms of the purchase contract. Also, we advise that you perform any required repairs (that enhance the attractiveness of your home) early in the marketing process since most buyers would demand that you pay for these repairs. It makes sense to eliminate these visual eyesores by doing this work as soon as possible.