Preparing A Home For Sale
Maximizing Sales Price – How Best To Prepare One's Home For Sale
SMART TIPS FOR SELLERS
Which items will add value to your home and help with resale when the time comes to sell? The answer is: “The ones that future buyers also want and are willing to pay for.”
So which updates will add the most value to your home?
- Updates that increase usable space: An extra bathroom; Larger and/or upgraded kitchen; Master bedroom suite; More closet space; Conversion of unused space to a home office.
- Updates that will lighten and brighten your rooms. White or light color paint and floor coverings, light woods, skylights, larger windows, & French doors all work excellently.
- Updates that will increase privacy and security. Things like fencing and landscaping are fantastic improvements.
Again, think to yourself which items will add value to your home and help with resale when the time comes to sell. The answer always is: “The ones that future buyers also want and are willing to pay for.”
Here are some simple ideas to keep in mind. Feel free to contact me directly to go over these tips and other insights I have after over 20 years in the real estate business. We'll talk pricing strategy as well.
- Make A Good First Impression
The Tucson area real estate market is competitive, and buyers have myriad potential homes to choose from. As such, on average, a prospective buyer decides if they’ve found “the house” within the first seven seconds of viewing your home. A big part of selling for top dollar is proactively removing potential excuses from the buyer’s mind before they even arise, and your house’s appearance is pivotal. One doesn't want a bad first impression.
- Make it bright. Open drapes, turn on lights, add neutral colors, and clean floors and surfaces so that they shine and reflect the light. Bright equates with clean, open, and inviting.
- Spruce up the exterior. Do a good landscaping makeover, add potted plants, and improve the overall curb appeal. A cluttered or ill-manicured yard taints the “dream home” illusion in the mind and will virtually guarantee that your “For Sale” sign remains up much longer than you hoped.
- Show storage space. Take half of the stuff out of your closet and neatly organize what’s left in there. Buyers will snoop, and when they do, you’ll want to impress them with how much space they’re getting.
2. Highlight Selling Features
The buyer’s Realtor will certainly make sure to point out your home’s best features, but you’ll want those areas to stand out such that the buyer can’t miss them even if they were viewing your house on their own.
Do you have a pool? Accentuate it by thoroughly cleaning the exterior cement and tiles, adding decorative plants, and even putting up nice pool chairs (or leaving yours up if they are clean, in good shape, and of a neutral color). Fireplace? Add (or keep) nice fire-stoking tools, a stack of fresh firewood, an attractive fireplace screen, and neutral artwork over the mantel. Gourmet or otherwise upgraded kitchen? Don’t stop at merely scouring the countertops and polishing the appliance exteriors. Organize the pantry and inside cupboards, update the light fixtures (a dimmer switch adds a nice effect), add flowers and fruit, display attractive and neatly organized kitchen utensils, and if you have the time and budget, paint and/or add glass doors to your cabinets.
3. Get Routine and Deferred Maintenance Done.
No one is immune to the procrastination bug, and as a homeowner, it’s natural to get complacent about fixing seemingly minor issues in your house that you’ve grown accustomed to over the years.
But as you get ready to put your home on the market, this is one area that you won’t want to skimp on. Spend the money to show that you’ve taken care of your home (even if you did everything a week before inviting buyers to see the house). Plus, even if you don’t turn off a buyer by leaving these undone, upon noticing items needing maintenance seeds of doubt will be placed in potential buyers’ minds. “What else may I not be noticing?” Plus, a home inspection WILL reveal most items, and a lengthy litany of repair requests will be presented to you at the end of the inspection period.
Examples include touching up old paint, patching holes and cracks in the walls and ceilings, repairing leaky faucets, replacing broken window glass, and fixing broken appliances and HVAC systems.
4. Make Yourself Scarce.
It may seem insignificant, but you’ll want to keep engagements with prospective buyers to a minimum. Ideally, you’ll stage your home and have your Realtor show it to buyers virtually before they physically come onsite, which will hopefully weed out non-serious buyers and limit in-person exposure.
When a buyer comes to view your house, leave if you can. If you can’t leave, be polite and introduce yourself, and then allow the potential buyers their space to examine everything and
let prospective buyers discuss things among themselves. Your presence (or simply knowing that you are in close proximity) can create a tense atmosphere that doesn’t allow the buyer to feel 100% comfortable in being candid in their internal conversations, which can adversely affect the chances of them buying.
5. Get the Right Real Estate Broker/Agent.
Having a great Realtor on your team can literally mean the difference between a quick, successful sale and a house that stays on the market forever and/or sells way underpriced. Too many sellers think they can come out ahead by doing the work themselves and not paying a commission to an agent, but this strategy backfires often for several reasons:
- Pricing. Invariably, a homeowner who tries to sell their own house overprices it because the perceived value is much higher in their eyes mistake a seller can make, as it leads to extended days on the market, which indicates to potential buyers that something is either wrong with your house or that the price will drop out of desperation, so there’s no urgency. A good Realtor has an experienced, objective eye, is familiar with the local market, can perform comparative market analyses to determine the best price in your area, and knows what aspects of your house are most important to buyers and what they are worth.
- House preparation. Even for those who think they have enough experience to sell their own house, the preparation process is daunting. We mentioned in tips #2 and #3 the importance of proactively highlighting features and doing minor repairs in your house, but without a good Realtor, you’ll either neglect important aspects or overpay fixing/accentuating things that won’t affect the listing price. A Realtor will also help you properly stage your house.
- Time. Let’s face it – selling a house requires a ton of discretionary time, between holding open houses, scheduling and conducting virtual and live showings, negotiating with buyers and their Realtor, and a host of other aspects of the transaction. Letting your experienced Realtor handle these tasks allows you to focus your time and energy on what’s truly important to you.
I've got over 20 years of experience in the real estate industry. Put my experience to work for you!
Check out my “Seller – Adding Value” Video here - https://www.tucsonarizrealestate.com/adding-value/
Please don't hesitate to contact me with questions and comments. I'll respond directly to you or feature my answer in a future column. Thank you!