If you are planning to put your home up for sale this upcoming Spring, don't be surprised if it creeps up on you, and that you find Spring is here before you know it !!
It is already more than a week into February and the Groundhog has already seen his shadow - but these next six weeks will probably fly by, and you may find yourself faced with the less desirable scenario of being forced to RUSH your home onto the market, so that you don't miss the Spring Buying Season - the season which historically sees the most buyers out there looking for homes out of all times of the year.
Selling in this current market can be stressful enough, but adding a last-minute-preparation-panic to the mix, will almost certainly make it that much more difficult for you and your family to deal with.
So to help you prepare your home - and yourself ! - for the Spring Season, keep the following points in mind, and they should give you the best chance for success with selling your home over the next months.
1) Start Now ! -- The more time you have to implement some of the following items, the more likely you can fit it all in along with your current daily schedule.
2) Get A "Home Sale" Notebook. You can pick them up for a dollar or two from Staples, CVS or similar stores, and make it RED, or another color that stands out - this way it will be hopefully be easier to spot when you need it ! The purpose of the "Home Sale" Notebook, is so that you always have a central place to refer to as your home sale progresses. When you have questions that you want to ask your Realtor, write them in the notebook so you dont forget them, when you have things to add to your "To-Do" list, add them to your notebook so you can always refer to it and stay on track. You will collect various papers along the way too, tuck these in the back of the notebook, again, this way you keep all thing related to your "Home Sale" in one central place.
3) Have a Family Meeting ! Selling your home will affect everyone under your roof in different ways. It is important that you are all together for support and assistance. There will certainly be packing, moving, & cleaning, & possibly painting and other tasks, so rally the troops and make sure everyone is on the same page. (Pizza or chinese food are often good incentives for jobs well done !!) ... and if there are children in the family, they may need a one on one chat in private just to check-in and make sure they are doing OK - moving house, possibly away from their friends, their school, and their comfortable neighborhood, can often be particularly scary for kids - and a friendly check in from time to time from mom or dad, letting them know it's all going to be OK, can often ease that anxiety.
4) Choose a Realtor NOW ! -- Don't wait until the week that you want to list your home. Here's why. Typically your local, knowledgeable Realtor can help you with your preparation, and make sure you are focusing your energy on the most beneficial tasks to get your home in ship-shape for listing ! There are sometimes decisions that homeowners make, which actually hurt the desirability of their home to most potential buyers - so set up your Realtor interviews now, find out how they plan to market your home, and once you select a Realtor, schedule a time to sit down with them as soon as possible to go over a PRE-LISTING Gameplan !
5) Take a Deep Breath ! -- You are just taking the first steps, but starting out on the right foot can often lead to a smoother, less stressful journey though your real estate transaction.
6) Do a 'Home Walkthrough' - with your Home Sale Notebook ! -- Go room by room, and jot down things that you feel need to be done before you can list your home. These things may include removing and storing excess clutter or un-needed furniture, fixing or replacing broken blinds, light switches, closet doors, noting rooms or furniture that need to be painted, jot down which rooms may have carpets that need cleaning, or even replacing. Hardwood floors are a desired floor covering for many buyers right now, so it is important that even if you have carpets, that you know whether there is hardwood underneath the carpet or not. Note your findings down in your notebook and go over them with your chosen Realtor at your PRE-LISTING Gameplan meeting !
7) Do a Repair Cost Analysis-- This is often overlooked by sellers. But all the items that you note down from your walkthough, (or that are recommended by your Realtor) have a cost associated with them. Sometimes a lot of repairs or improvements can be done relatively inexpensively, but if you wanted to give your kitchen a 'boost' by installing a new granite countertop for example before putting it on the market, then you will need to know exactly how much that estimate will be, so you can confirm that it is within your budget to install. Keep track of all your desired improvements and their costs.
8) Plastic Tubs are your FRIENDS! -- These 18 gallon containers that you can pick up from Target, Wal-Mart or similar stores, can make your life a whole lot easier - and if you check the Sunday Newspaper supplements, you can often find them on sale for just $3.99 or $4.99. Now cardboard boxes can be OK, but the plastic tubs are extremely durable, they stack well, and the most important thing, is that if for some reason the boxes are stored in a basement or place that may get a water leak of any description, the plastic tubs will almost certainly protect all your belongings inside - in that situation, a cardboard box will simply soak up the water and your belongings may be ruined.... this I can attest to from personal experience many years ago ! Now, I use plastic tubs without question
9) Consider PODS or a Storage Unit -- Many sellers that understand the need to remove a lot of items or furniture from their home to give the best 'first impression' to anyone who walks through the front door, choose to store the excess items in a storage unit, or in PODS (Portable On Demand Storage).
10) Divide and Conquer ! -- It's much more difficult to do all the preparation on your own, so take that list of To-Do items and see who in your family, or which friends can help you. Again, it's often good to have an offering of lunch or dinner at the ready ! - especially for the extra time consuming chores like room painting or packing a mountain of boxes !
11) Confirm and keep track of your next home. -- Whatever your plans are for your next home, whether you have already secured a home to move into, or if you have to coincide the sale of your current home, with a purchase of a new home, make sure you stay in tune with the availability and timing.
12) PRICE IT RIGHT ! -- When all your improvements are completed, and you are ready to list your home, sit down with your Realtor again and spend a significant amount of time digesting the market analysis your agent will provide. It is the single most important factor right now in positioning your home to sell as fast as possible. If you price it incorrectly, it can be a lost cause from the start. Determine the market value, and if you have the ability to list it a small cut below that price, you will draw the most attention possible right out of the gates !
13) Remind yourself that selling your home is a good thing ! -- It may be easier to say this to yourself now, but it's important to remind yourself of this periodically, even if the road becomes challenging at times. A way to keep focused and positive is to choose the right Realtor. They will be by your side from start to finish, so it is critical that you choose the best fit for your family and your intentions.
These thirteen tips will get you started on the right foot, and will help you organize your weeks leading up to putting your home on the market !
Contrary to many media reports out there, homes are selling right now !!!
... just make sure you do everything in your capabilities to make sure your home is one of them !
And remember your Realtor is there by your side, every step of the way !
Good Luck !