Thinking about selling your home? Whether you’ve been there for many years or just a short while, it always feel a bit momentous, but by taking the right steps, you will be poised to enjoy a smooth process and successful sale.
To get the highest price for your house, you’ll want to make it look its best. Most homes can benefit from a little freshening up as well as getting those pesky little repairs done. If you know approximately when you’d like to sell, make a list of all the prep work to be done and work backward from there.
The aim in preparing your house for sale is to make it look clean, neutral and attractive, so that it appeals to the largest audience possible. This may mean removing some of the items you treasure dearly, but it’s only for awhile, and it’s for a good cause – getting you the highest possible price for your house!
1. Hire a Realtor
I recommend that you hire a Realtor early on to help you decide what prep work should be done and what can be left alone. As a Realtor, I see hundreds of homes and I know what the competition looks like and what buyers are looking for. I can walk through your house with you and talk about which improvements will give you the best return.
2. Agree on a Plan, Budget, Timeline
After seeing your house, I will give you my list of recommended action items and potential improvements. Based on your budget and timeline, we can then decide which items you would like to do. You can choose to do some of the items yourself, and I will hire professionals to do the rest, all within your budget for prep work.
If you plan to live in your home while it is on the market, it is essential to declutter the house and yard. For making a good impression, this is definitively a case where less is more. Clear off surfaces, put away all the knick knacks, and leave just a minimum of neutral looking decorative items. Remove unnecessary furniture to make rooms seem larger. Store your things in closets, the garage, or even an off-site storage unit. In the yard, store garden statues, clear out any plant that is not thriving, roll up the hose, and keep things attractive in a minimalist way.
4. Do Repairs
If there are any known items that need repair, especially relating to plumbing, electrical and HVAC, decide which ones to get done, and do them before the property inspection.
Buyers like to feel that they are moving into a clean new home, so I highly recommend painting your home interior in the latest soft neutral designer colors. If the exterior of the house is in less than excellent condition, I also recommend painting the exterior. This is a small investment that has a large return.
6. Refresh Flooring
The condition of the floors is one of the first things buyers look at to determine the overall condition of the home. If the floors look dirty and old, they will assume the rest of the house is the same. If needed, I recommend getting hardwood floors refinished and carpets replaced so that buyers feel they can move right in.
Old light fixtures and light switches/outlets instantly date a home and can be easily and inexpensively replaced for an updated look.
8. Kitchen and Bathrooms
If your home is older, depending on your budget, the time available, and the expected return on investment, you may want to do some updating in your kitchen and bathrooms. This could range from painting cupboards and putting on new handles to getting new cupboards, countertops and appliances.
9. Vacate, if Possible
While not always possible, the ideal scenario for selling a home is that it will be vacant. This will enable agents and buyers to have easy access for viewing and it will enable the home to be staged. Both of those factors generally result in more offers and a higher sales price.
10. Deep Clean
Whether the home is vacant or not, hire a professional team to do a deep clean of absolutely everything both inside and outside, from the roof gutters, hardscape, and windows, to the kitchen oven and bathroom grout. As your Realtor, I would hire and manage the crews.
11. Get Inspections
In the Silicon Valley seller’s market, standard practice is for the seller to provide the property and pest inspections as part of the disclosures. I recommend getting these done after you had made any small repairs you can, but also early enough to give you enough time to make any additional repairs that are identified by the inspectors that you wish to get done. (All repairs are optional)
12. Stage the Home
Professionally staging a home to look attractive, neutral and welcoming is one of the most important things you can do to get the best price for your home. It’s another relatively small cost with a large return.