Simple Tips to Prepare Your Home For Sale

16 07 2011

Preparing your home for sale can seem overwhelming.  Ideally, you will want to prepare your home so it appealing to as many types of buyers as possible, and also so it is move-in ready for a new owner.  When a buyer is looking at pre-owned homes they are generally hoping it will look and feel “new”, and it is has the potential to be personalized to suit their tastes.  If a buyer walks into a home that is cluttered, looks lived in and boldly contrasts their personal style, chances are they will scratch that home off their list.  Properly preparing your home can provide a great return on your time, as most likely it will increase its value and shorten the time it takes for your home to sell.

Review these few simple steps to ensuring that your home is ready to hit the market.

1.       Get a home inspection

A home inspection is a simple way to feel confident there are no hidden issues that might discourage a potential buyer.  If the home inspection reveals issues, you should immediately make repairs before putting your home on the market.  Some states do require that you disclose the results of an inspection, but this isn’t a concern if you’ve taken steps to remedy any problems.  On average an inspector will cost between $250 to $400, but it is a wise investment if it speeds up the sale of your home.

2.      Acquire repair or replacement estimates

If the home inspection does reveal repairs that you cannot afford, hold on to the estimate for prospective buyers.  Disclosing these costs will give a buyer the opportunity to properly determine whether they can afford the home along with the costs of repairs.  Providing this information will work in your favor, as you will avoid any post-contract issues.  It is also important that you provide warranties, guarantees, user manuals for your furnace, washer and dryer, dishwasher, and any other large appliances that will remain in the house.

3.      Perform minor repairs

There are many repairs that are not costly, but worth the time.  Take the time to fix minor issues – such as sticky doors, torn screens, aged caulk, dripping faucets, touchup paint where needed.  Although these may seem like small issues, a buyer may interpret them as signs that the house has not been properly maintained.  Remember you want your house to “feel” brand new.

4.      Get rid of clutter

When selling your house, a complete purge is ideal.  Clutter can make a home feel disorganized, unclean and small.  To give your home a spacious, tidy feel, start by clearing your kitchen counters of just about everything.  Clean out closets by removing all unused or rarely used items such as out of season clothing or old toys.  You may want to invest in closet organizers that will maximize space and make your closets feel even larger. Consider putting most of your furniture in storage, especially large pieces such as entertainment centers and large televisions.  Remove family photos, knick-knacks, collections, and wall hangings to give your home a more neutral feel and depersonalize it.

5.      Paint

Painting serves many positive purposes.  You will want your home to feel as neutral as possible, so the buyer can easily envision bringing their own style and décor.  You may love the bold, bright colors that highlight the walls of your home, but a buyer could have a difficult time figuring out how to work with such a color scheme.  Make it easier for more buyers to visualize this as their home, by painting the walls with neutral colors that might compliment anyone’s taste.  If your walls are already fairly neutral, it is always a good idea to give them a fresh coat of paint, again making the home feel clean.  Ideally, you could hire a professional painter; however, if you don’t want to spend the money, this is definitely something you can handle on your own.

6.      Thoroughly clean your home

If you can afford it, is well worth the investment to hire a cleaning service to thoroughly clean your home.  A clean house gives the impression that a home is well cared for and feels new.  This will go a long way in making a buyer feel comfortable in your home.  If you do not want to pay for a cleaning service, be sure to perform a few critical tasks yourself – wash windows and air out all of the rooms, clean carpets, wash drapery to eliminate any lingering odors from cooking, smoke, or pets, wash light fixtures and baseboards, mop floors, and thoroughly clean your refrigerator, stove and microwave.  Don’t forget small details such as cleaning fingerprints from light switch plates and the knobs on cabinets and doors.  Also it is very important to make sure your bathrooms are spic and span.

Taking the time to perform these simple tasks will go a long way in decreasing the stress of selling your home.  You will find that your home appeals to more buyers; in turn, your home could potentially sell faster than you would have ever imagined.  Good luck!

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