As a Realtor, I am often asked what a homeowner can do to prep their home for the marketplace. As most sellers wait for the Holiday rush to be over and the chill of winter to be gone before listing, the time is NOW to start getting things in order. The warmth of spring will soon be here and being the best home on the market will be more important than ever in this economy.
Declutter & Depersonalize: When a prospective buyer views a home, it is much easier to visualize the home being theirs when they are not distracted by personal sentiments and clutter. Take this time to donate unwanted items, host a garage sale and begin packing items that are not used on a regular basis. Buyers like to see homes with clean spaces…this task includes taking down family photographs as well as neutralizing unique paint colors in rooms that may not appeal to the masses.
Get a Pre-Inspection: Hire a home inspector to inspect your home like they would for a buyer. Better to find out you have a leaky faucet or issues in the crawlspace now, so they can be addressed quickly. Doing this ahead of time can save you a lot of time and worry when you get a contract for the sale of the home as you know the home is in tip-top shape. A buyer sees a pre-inspected home as one with less chance for big surprises and a homeowner who maintained their home throughout its ownership.
Landscape to Impress: While the winter is not the easiest time to landscape, it is time to plan what yard work can be done just prior to listing the home. Mulch, pine needles, trim bushes and trees and adding flowers can do a lot to enhance curb appeal. Clean porches and patios.
Organize: Take this time to straighten closets, neaten items in cabinets and drawers as well as organize toys. Buyers will look, so it is important that the space looks large for their belongings and that you as a homeowner have enough space for your items.
Update: For some homeowners, this may be a small task such as changing out a light fixture or adding knobs to cabinets. For others, this may be a larger task such as updating flooring, removing popcorn ceilings, or even adding granite to the kitchen countertops. Most buyers in today’s market are not as excited about updating a home after moving in as they once were. There is a lot of inventory in today’s market, so if your home is not ready, a buyer can easily move on to another property that has more of what they are looking for.
Clean & Deodorize: One of the biggest deal-killers in today’s market is a home that shows signs of wear and a home that has odors. Take this time to steam clean the carpets to remove stains, dust, replace air filters, clean air ducts and deep clean the house. Paint baseboards and touch-up walls with fingerprints. Wash windows and clean window coverings. If you have pets that are inside the home, clean their cages, litter boxes and keep them well-groomed to rid the home of pet odors.
A home that is clean and staged to sell will statistically sell for more money and in less than time than a home that is not. Most of the items in this list are easy to do and are inexpensive, so don’t wait to get started so you will be more than ready to move ahead in 2012!