As we move out of the holidays, this is the perfect time to start planning to put your home on the market.
Just after New Years Day, buyers start watching HGTV and begin to daydream about their next home.The problem is this is many months before most sellers are even going to start thinking about putting their home on the market. This is to the distinct advantage of sellers that get started early. It truly is the early bird that gets the worm.
For the seller that’s going to be ready for the market by the end of January, now is the perfect time to start planning the event.
1. Get a pre-inspection – Many sellers don’t want to know what might be wrong with their house, but, the fact is, someone is likely to notice before you get to the closing table. In today’s market, buyers are very informed, and they know the value of having a property professionally inspected. Get ahead of the game, and hire your own inspector. Having repairs made when you’re not in the crunched time-frame of a sale is easier, and often cheaper. That pre-inspection will also give buyers peace of mind when they’re viewing your home.
2. Repairs and deferred maintenance – Take care of repairs and deferred maintenance. If you an afford it, taking care of items like a worn roof, stained carpet, and deteriorated siding before your house goes on the market is the best strategy. Buyers see signs of deferred maintenance and disrepair as a sign that the owner doesn’t care about the property. Buyers multiply what they can see many times over as they try to estimate what they can’t see. The bottom line is taking care of these items ahead of time, can result in much stronger offers coming from potential buyers.
3. Declutter – We can’t stress this enough. Get (almost) everything out of your house. The most important thing about staging a home to sell if having very little in the home. Remove personal items (photos, trophies, and memorabilia), clear out the closets, and plan on moving a third of your furnishings out of the house. If you don’t have a storage place offset, consider moving your items in the garage. The garage is the one room in the house that can be filled without detracting from the presentation of the property. The rest of the house should look open, spacious, and simple.
4. Clean – Sellers need to remember that prospective buyers are entering their home with a critical eye. They are looking clues to tell them how well the property has been cared for. In order to create the best presentation possible, your home should be cleaned to within an inch of it’s life. Not the kind of cleaning that you might have performed every week or so, but a true deep cleaning where every evidence of dust is eradicated from the residence.
5. Paint – Many sellers contemplate property improvements prior to marketing their homes. In general, most are not a good use of time or money. Second guessing what a potential purchaser is going to value is very difficult, and then expecting to recapture 100% of the costs is not reasonable. If there is one category that might be an exception to this rule, it would be simple painting. After you’ve taken care of the true differed maintenance and repairs, a fresh coat of neutral paint goes a long way in the marketing of your home. Fresh paint looks good, covers minor blemishes, and reminds the buyers that it’ll be several years before they have to deal with repainting.