Getting Your House Ready For Sale

A common question we get from sellers is "What should I do before I put it on the market?".  That is when we will go over our pre-listing recommendations.  The primary aim of pre-listing recommendations is to economically increase the warmth and desirability of the home, and to remove potential objections that buyers may have.  The reason we say "economical" repairs is because the more money you spend, the higher the risk.  Most major renovations such as replacing an entire kitchen or bathroom typically won't recoup the investment after the sale.  It might help you sell faster, but most of the time it isn't worth your time and money.  Keep in mind that the following recommendations are meant to bring your home up to expected consumer standards and make it competitive in the current marketplace.  They are not meant to achieve a higher sale price.  We like to put these recommendations into three categories:

  • Increasing Curb Appeal:  If a home has a poor and neglected exterior, a large percentage of buyers will drive by without even going inside.  If they do go inside they will already assume the entire house has been neglected and look for negatives instead of positives.  Items we like to assess are siding quality, paint quality, paint colors, and landscaping.  
  • Interior Enhancements:  For the interior, the major items we assess are cleanliness, clutter, paint colors, flooring, countertops, and fixtures.  A buyer's first impression of the interior is one of the most important aspects of selling a home.  It's very rare that a buyer will "warm up" to house.  If they don't like it on first impression, they'll never like it.  One of the most important tasks that sellers can do is to remove all clutter.  If there are too many belongings in a house, buyers won't be able to "move-in" mentally with all of their stuff.  Removing or re-arranging furniture that prohibits flow throughout the home, clearing countertops of useless items, and putting away all knick knacks are some examples.  The seller is giving themselves a head start on packing by putting all of these items away as well.
  • Repairing Defects:  Before putting a house on the market, the seller should always do their own inspection.  That doesn't mean spend $400 to have a professional inspector come through, but to do a thorough visual inspection of your own.  Do you see anything that could come up during the buyer's home inspection?  Chances are that if it could, it will.  If the inspector gives your potential buyer a laundry list of defects with the house, it can cause a couple problems.  It can lead to re-negotiation, or it can give the buyer second thoughts on buying the house altogether.  Most of the time you can fix these items on your own at a cheaper cost than the discount that the buyer will request.