Top Ten Steps to Take Before Listing Your Home For Sale
There’s no doubt about it: Sacramento is in the midst of a seller’s market. Reduced inventory coupled with an increased demand (not to mention low interest rates) mean prices are up, and many people who have thrown around the idea of putting their house on the market are now taking advantage of current conditions by listing their home for sale.
But before taking the plunge, there are several things to consider. The following are the top ten steps you should take before listing your home for sale:
1. Get to know the market. Although your agent will no doubt assist with this, it’s a good idea to research the market in your area. Browse around online to get an idea of how much homes have sold for and what buyers are looking for. Be sure to compare apples to apples — homes with a similar square footage, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, and lot size.
2. Set a budget. It may sound strange, but it actually costs money to sell a home. While most expenses are taken directly from the proceeds of the sale, other expenses must be paid for upfront, such as repairs, cleaning and staging costs. Some sellers also choose to do pre-inspections to avoid any last-minute surprises, which will cost money out of pocket. It’s best to be prepared.
3. Rent a storage unit. To get top dollar for your home, it has to show well. One way to make your home appear larger is to remove any excess furniture, or oversized furniture. Putting furniture in storage instantly makes the room look bigger, and it eliminates hiding spots for clutter. Remaining furniture should be minimal, and well thought out.
4. Depersonalize. Prospective home buyers need to be able to imagine themselves living in the home. This is difficult to accomplish if you have photos of your relatives lining the walls and your kid’s artwork on the refrigerator. Remove any personalized items and pack them up for storage.
5. Declutter. It’s been said that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure, but the reverse is also true. What may be important to you may simply appear to be clutter to a buyer, so pack up anything that isn’t absolutely necessary. This includes books from bookshelves, children’s toys, clothing and shoes from closets, pet toys and accessories, and small appliances from countertops.
6. Make (small) repairs. You don’t necessarily have to make major repairs to your home before listing it, but you should fix the small things that buyers are likely to notice. Touch up paint, repair broken handles or switches, replace light bulbs and fix leaky faucets.
7. Spruce up the front. You never get a second chance to make a first impression, and when selling a home, that first impression is curb appeal. The front of your home is the first thing buyers see, so investing a bit of time and energy into making it beautiful is a must. Fix any broken walkways or steps, remove dead or dying plants, add colorful flowers and pick up a new doormat to welcome buyers in!
8. Clean. This one is a no-brainer, but it’s imperative that your home sparkles. A clean home is a well-cared for home, and buyers will scrutinize every room, especially the kitchen and bathroom. Clean counters, scrub floors, polish fixtures, vacuum rugs, wipe down baseboards, dust all surfaces and consider steam cleaning furniture and carpets to eliminate odors. And if you have a pet, make sure all stains are removed and pet bedding is laundered and tucked away.
9. Paint. If your home is an expression of your personality and you have rooms painted every color of the rainbow, now is the time to say goodbye. Painting walls a neutral color like off-white or greige may seem boring to you, but to a buyer, it transforms a wall into an empty canvas they can make their own.
10. Choose an agent. Undoubtedly this is the most important step you can take before listing your home for sale. The right agent can make the home selling experience smooth, so do your research. Get referrals from family and friends, and consider the agent’s specialty, such as their familiarity with your neighborhood or niche designations, such as Seller Representative Specialist or Senior Real Estate Specialist.