Preparing for Market
Before You List Your Home
Before I list a home, I always walk through the home and have a conversation with the seller about the things that need to be dome before it goes on the market. Too often I hear "I will get all these things done but I want to get it on the market right away."
Many sellers will realize the importance of preparing a home for market. They will work hard on their home for a few weeks but before the work is complete they will grow impatient and become concerned that they are missing out on buyers. A home will get the most attention in the first couple of weeks that it is on the market. If they see your house before it is ready, missing out on buyers is what you do. They won't be back.
After the first couple of weeks, a home will still get showings but the serious buyers already saw it. The ones that see it later on are new buyers to the market. They are not ready to make an offer. If they do make an offer on your home, it will be after it has been on the market for quite some time and it will likely be a low one.
If needed repairs are performed after it is listed, the buyers who showed initial interest will not come back to take a second look to see if you performed the needed work. This can actually be a bigger mistake than overpricing your house. At least if your home is overpriced, a price reduction may bring them back. There is no automated way to watch the MLS for needed work being completed.
What Needs to be Done
When deciding what things you should do to prepare your house to place on the market, remember this one simple rule; remove the negatives. You are not trying to add positives. In other words, you aren't making home improvements. The costs of improvements are almost always more than the added value. For example adding a new deck to a home that you are about to sell, would not be financially prudent. But if your house already has a deck and it is in need of repair, you need to fix it. Fix things that need repaired, replace things that don't work.
Understand, what would be adding a positive for a $150,000 home would be removing a negative for a $500,000 home. Replacing a laminate counter top that is in good condition with a granite, and replacing slightly dated fixtures with high end designer fixtures in a less expensive home would not be money well spent but would be expected in a more expensive home.
What do other houses in your neighborhood have? What does a buyer expect to get in this price range? If your house doesn't have it, than it is a negative.
Old wore out flooring, detracts from a house. Replacing flooring is not adding a positive, it is removing a negative. New paint is cheap and it makes your home show great. When painting, choose neutral colors. Avoid anything that looks to custom. A listing should smell like fresh paint and new carpet.
Go through your entire house and replace all burnt or dim light bulbs. Bright homes show better.
What Buyers See
When the buyer walks into the house, it should be clean, bright, cleared of clutter, and smell fresh. Buyers can't help but respond to your home emotionally. If the house is messy or there's a strange smell, they'll likely make a quick exit and look for another home.
Get rid of clutter. Most of us have way too much clutter in our homes. Have a garage sale, give it away to charity, or take it to the dump. If you really just can't part with it, put it in storage. A sparse house shows better. Remember that personal items personalize the house to you. You want buyers to picture themselves in your home.
If your house is going to be vacant while it is on the market, consider staging it. Empty rooms have large empty surfaces that tend to draw your attention to imperfections. Staging is money well spent.
The house needs to look good from the street. This is what they call curb appeal. Many buyers drive neighborhoods that they are interested in so also make sure there are always flyers in the box.
Buyers need to have a good impression before they walk in the front door. Painting the trim and front door can go a long ways. Wash windows, doors railings, walks and driveways. The street and driveway shouldn't be cluttered either. Extra cars and RVs should be removed.
Lawn and plants need to be manicured. Planting flowers and adding fresh bark is an easy thing that a seller can do themselves for not a lot of money.
written by:Todd Hays