Get Estimates and Certificates
Eliminate surprises and be proactive. Find out what it might cost to replace the major systems in your house that could be on its last legs — like the furnace or a/c, roof or water heater, and in older homes, electrical and the sewer system. You may not be prepared or even want to replace or overhaul worn-out items, but knowing how much it will cost can give you an edge in pricing and potentially in negotiations.
Edge the Hedge
We’ve all heard of “curb appeal” and “first impressions.” You want potential buyers to drive by and think someone else’s home (and not yours) is the eye sore. When selling your house, entice people to come inside. People often make a decision before they go inside. Eliminate the telltale signs that the property isn’t cared for. Spruce up the entrance by cleaning up the landscape. Make a good first impression.
Finally, rooms should look open and sort of empty (stagers call this “spacious”). If a room looks more like a crammed, ready-to-burst, rent-a-space unit, it’s really challenging for a buyer to see themselves and their stuff in the house.
Have you ever peeked into a woman’s purse? It’s their private domain. It probably screamed at you – “Get out, Get out!”, and (hopefully…) you didn’t feel right. Well, you don’t want your house to do that to a buyer. You want your house to be benign and neutral so anyone could imagine living there – without you.
Clean and Primp
You’re never going to be able to list and sell your house at top dollar without cleaning it first. Lose the gross factor. Make everything shine. Cosmetic issues, like holes in drywall and chipped or peeling paint, are easy to fix and can make a big difference. Look hard at each room with “buyer’s eyes”. As long as the home is clean, buyers can see through it and have a vision of what they want to do next.
Stagers specialize in knowing how buyers think and what makes the biggest impact on home buyers. Utilize their services when making choices about colors and materials can help to vastly improve your bottom line. Stagers differ from interior designers and are much less expensive.
Hide the Pets
When showings begin, arrange for daily pet daycare with friends or with you at the workplace. That way, you won’t have to explain how you managed to get all the hair out of the HVAC ducts (because you know you didn’t) or managed to suck all the pet dander out of the carpeting (never happens). And, anyway, your pets will be much happier.
Always Parade Ready
Once you work as hard as you do to prep your home by replacing, repairing, cleaning, de-cluttering and primping, keep it that way through the inspection and appraisal processes.
Take a Deep Breath — and Some Pictures
Before you do any major clean up and ready yourself for moving, take some pictures. Life’s journeys for you and/or your family can be so contrary and fast. Just when you are getting ready to move out and onward, you’ll think back on this house, with its clutter, nips and dings, memories and celebrations, and wish you’d kept a few pictures to remind you of what those unpredictable, implausible, sometimes frustrating and totally extraordinary years were all about.