Selling your home will probably be one of the single largest financial transactions you make. By learning about the sales process and seeking a Realtor(R) to represent you in your sale, you’ll save yourself time and stress, and most likely walk away from the deal with more money.
When you decide to sell your house, you want to get top dollar. One of the best ways to do that is to fix all those little problems that you’ve let go for all these years — the leaky faucet, the drafty window. You’ll want to clean out the junk, spruce up the yard, clean out the closets. Trim trees and shrubs. Clean the windows and screens.
Focus first on the things that are most visible: The house as seen from the street, also known as “curb appeal.” You want potential buyers to be favorable impressed with your house from the moment of their arrival. If you have an overgrown yard full of untrimmed trees and weeds sprouting everywhere, you have instantly created an unfavorable impression that must be overcome by the house’s interior features — if the buyers even enter the home to see the interior! So trim those trees, repair the rain gutter, use a pressure-washer to clean the driveway and front walk. Painting the exterior may be warranted.
The same principle applies to the interior: Remove the clutter, and repair, clean and fix up those features that are most visible. It could well be worth the cost to hire a maid service to come and perform a “white-glove treatment” to your home’s interior. Your floors, windows, fixtures and cabinets should be sparkling clean. Put away all the “clutter” that normally accumulates on shelves and counters, in closets and drawers. Polish the plumbing fixtures, wax the floors, clean the oven.
Pay attention, too, to how your home smells. You may be used to the smell of a pet or cigarettes, but such odors can send potential buyers scurrying to the next house on their list. Finally, set a mood for the buyer. Fill vases with live flowers and put fresh guest towels in the bathroom. Place scented potpourri around the house or, on the day you’re expecting a potential buyer, pop a batch of frozen cinnamon rolls into the oven for a welcoming aroma.
Remember, cosmetic changes don’t necessarily have to be expensive. In fact, costly home improvements don’t necessarily offer a good return on your investment when you sell. It’s attention to the basics that says to potential buyers “This home has been carefully maintained” — that’s what will help you get the price you want.
If you’re considering more expensive repair or fix-up jobs, you’ll want to evaluate whether you’ll recoup the cost in your house’s sale price. It may cost you $5,000 to replace the carpets, but you may be able to sell the home for $8,000 more with brand-new carpets than with the old stained ones. Your Realtor doesn’t have a Magic 8 Ball, but he’s seen a lot of homes sell in a lot of different conditions, and he can give advise you on some of these matters.
Be certain to remove valuables such as jewelry and other items from view. It might be wise to put these items in a safe deposit box before showing your home.