Selling a home is much more work than buying a home. Just ask anyone who has done it. Knowing the steps to take before selling your home can make the process much easier!
If you’ve never sold a home before, you may be surprised at how complex it can be to get your property ready to sell. From determining the correct listing price to navigating contractual agreements, it can be a complicated process.
Below is a quick checklist to work on before listing your home. Every home is unique, and requires different levels of detailed preparation. Some of the items on the list below will need professional guidance to perform correctly. Reach out to our team and we can help you not only successfully prepare your home to sell, but market it the best way possible!
Remove Personal Decor
There will be many different types of people looking at your home when it is listed for sale. To encourage the most positive feedback, it’s best to create a neutral environment. The best way to do this is to remove any objects that reflect your personal choices and lifestyle. If a buyer can walk through your house and determine your religious preference, family size, profession, and/or favorite alcoholic beverage, you may have a problem.
Some buyers have a hard time emotionally attaching to a home when a sellers lifestyle choices are front and center. This is particularly true when those choices conflict with theirs. Take out all evidence that you even live there and you will be on the right track. It will also help you to emotionally detach from your home and to start thinking of it as someone else’s. When a buyer has to ask if someone lives in your home, you have done your job.
Hire A Home Inspector
Once you have an executed sales contract with a buyer, the first thing the buyer is going to do is hire a home inspector to inspect your house. Why not beat them to it? An inspection usually costs around $300 to $500 in Texas. That’s pennies in the grand scheme of things. Tackle all of the repairs before putting your home on the market. You will not be surprised by buyers who supply a list of problems to tackle after their home inspection.
Inspections are the #1 deal killer in this industry. You can eliminate the whole problem by dealing with this issue right away. When home buyers know that there has been a previous inspection and all repairs have been performed, they are more willing to pay top dollar.
When you’re listing your house for sale, you need to get your home as clean as possible.
Pretend that you’re selling your house to a germaphobe. If you can afford it, hire a professional cleaning crew to spend a day performing a deep clean. It’s well worth the money. When a house is slightly dirty, it can be difficult for homebuyers to emotionally attach to it, even if they are not clean people themselves.
It’s an interesting irony that many home buyers expect the house they buy to be cleaner than the one they currently own. This truth is a reality that must be accounted for. A clean house gives the impression that the property has been well maintained and is a unique home that is better than the others available today. Clean everything thoroughly before selling your home.
Remove Evidence of Pets
To sell your home quickly and for the most money, you'll want to appeal to every possible buyer. Not everyone is a fan of pets. Your house may be the perfect layout, price, and design, but if it smells like animals, you may lose buyers. Some home buyers won’t even finish walking through a house if there is evidence of animals. Sometimes they'll rule out a place based on seeing a litter box in the property photos.
Don’t forget that you can never experience the smell of your home as a buyer would. You live there and are used to its unique smell. It's best to get a second opinion from your real estate agent. Statistically, pet odors are among the most common reasons for a home to stay on the market for a long time. Additionally, there are many people with pet allergies; one of them might be your perfect buyer. Take the time to make your home appeal to them.
Replace Outdated Fixtures
This topic is an easy fix that can have a considerable impact on the presentation of your home. If you have old brass door handles or brass chandeliers, you should replace them. It makes your home look outdated and gives homebuyers the impression that they have a lot of work to do before moving in.
You can buy a contractor pack of brushed nickel door handles for $5 at home improvement stores. If you are appealing to high-end buyers, spend some money on designer door handles. If you have old light switch covers, replace them all as well. You’ll be surprised by how much of a difference it makes.
Spend some time walking through your home and identify every fixture that reveals the property's date. Replace as many outdated items as possible before selling your home. Be sure to mention essential updates in your listing description.
Shampoo or Replace Carpets
“Should I replace the carpet before selling my house?” This is one of the most common questions that home sellers ask realtors.
Carpets show more damage than almost any part of your home. If you have carpeting in your home, it’s probably going to be a problem. If the carpets are not stained and are newer, you might get away with hiring a professional carpet cleaning company. If cleaning does not restore them, you’ll need to replace them.
Carpets hold a lot of dirt and odor. They must look and smell clean for your showings. If carpets cannot be restored to their original condition, measure the square foot of your home and get an estimate of what the new carpet will cost. New carpet can have a big impact on your home sale. Replacing high-traffic areas with hardwood floors is another option that can increase your home’s value. Consult with your real estate agent for the best results.
Touch Up or Repaint
If it’s been more than a year since your house's interior has been painted, then it’s time for some touching up. If you have paint left from the last time you painted, use it to touch up areas with nail holes, scrapes, and handprints. Touching up existing paint is very easy and makes your home look new again.
If you have intense colors in your house (purple, burgundy, lime green, etc.), it would be wise to paint them with a neutral color. Remember, you are trying to appeal to as many people as possible. Neutral colors are the primary way to appeal to the most significant number of buyers.
Bonus Tip: Paint makes a home smell fresh and new. And buyers love new!
Rent a Storage Unit
If you live in your house as most people do, your closets are full, and your garage is packed from floor to ceiling. This is normal. The problem is that some of the homes you will be competing with are either vacant or almost vacant. These homes will show great because the buyers can visualize themselves moving in much quicker.
It is wise to rent a storage unit to fully de-cluttered and stay competitive. Start loading the storage unit with everything you will not need while your house is on the market. Pack the back of the space with items that you’re least likely to require. The more you put in storage, the better. If you have to question, “Should I store this?” the answer is: “Yes!”. Start packing as though your house already sold, and you only have a month left to live in it.
The more you put in storage, the less you will need because your home will sell much faster! Buyers love homes that appear move-in-ready.
Freshen Up the Landscape
Statistically, landscaping is the biggest bang for your buck when listing your home for sale. We’ve all heard about the importance of “curb appeal,” and we know that first impressions are HUGE in real estate.
The fastest way to freshen up your landscaping is with new mulch. Spread a fresh layer of it throughout your landscaped areas. This step is inexpensive and requires very little time commitment.
If you’d like to make an even better first impression, plant some colorful flowers, making your new mulch stand out even more. Trim any overgrown plants and bushes and clean up your outdoor spaces to look new again. This step is likely to significantly impact your buyer's first impression and positively influence their purchasing decision.
Get Advice From An Experienced Realtor
Every property is different and will have unique and specific areas to address. Experienced buyer’s agents look at dozens of homes throughout the week. When real estate agents walk through your house at a listing appointment, they have buyer’s voices in our heads calling out objections. Their experience is invaluable when preparing your home for sale.
Realtors know what buyers want because they tell us every day. Every market is different, and there are other tactics for each area. An experienced Realtor will point out all of the objections you can expect to hear from your potential buyers. There will always be Sellers that don’t want to listen to it, but this is valuable information, so be sure to take advantage of their knowledge early on in the listing process.
Some folks will try to sell their home for sale by owner. They do this to avoid paying real estate commissions to realtors. These homes often never make it to the local multiple listing service (MLS), so they get less foot traffic. They are less likely to experience multiple offers.
As you read through the list above, note the things that feel important for your home sale, and tackle them one at a time. Before you know it, your list is complete!
Once your house is ready to put on the market, it will most likely get an offer before your competition does. If you take the time and expense to tackle these issues, your house should outshine the others and sell for the highest sales price possible.
When it comes to selling your home, the adage “you get out what you put in” rings true. Your efforts will be well rewarded. And of course, reach out to our team anytime if you would like help selling your home!