A how to prepare your home for sale checklist is a great way to keep track of all the things that you need to get done to ensure that your home can sell quickly and that you protect yourself in the process. Most how to prepare your home for sale checklist ideas offer what you need to do to make your home more attractive to buyers, but it is important that a how to prepare your home for sale checklist also includes what to do to protect yourself.
Selling a home is a big step. Most homeowners have the same goals, sell quick, and sell for top dollar. About 40 million people a year move which means that there should always be an ample number of buyers looking, the question is what can you do to make your property that stand out choice? This how to prepare your home for sale checklist will help you elbow out the competition, while protecting yourself in the process.
Quick Fixes With Great ROI
Ask any realtor what sells a home and you will hear, the lawn, the kitchen, the baths and the way the house shows. Some quick fixes will make a huge difference in how your house is perceived by buyers. The goal when you are getting ready to sell, is to invest as little money as you can, while getting the best return on your investment.
Take a good look at your kitchen. Does it need a fresh coat of paint? How is the ceiling looking? Are there grease stains up there? What about your appliances? Are your appliances old and outdated? You may be able to get away with gas stove repair if the appliances are otherwise in good condition. Painting your kitchen and adding new appliances can add about 7% to your home’s value.
Move into the bathroom and take a look around. How does your grout look? What about the fixtures are they fully functional and looking good? A deep cleaning of your bathroom including getting that grout clean can make a huge difference in how your home presents.
A total rehab of your kitchen and bath is not necessary (and strongly discouraged because you likely will not get the ROI that you are hoping for) but each of these areas should be in top condition. Changing a few simple things out can make a big impact.
Everything Should Function Properly
Remember when you are selling a home it is not just the buyers that are going to be looking at your home. Most buyers will need a mortgage, and all mortgages require an appraisal. While the buyers are likely very interested in aesthetics, appraisers are less interest in the look of things and more interested in the function of your systems.
It would be a shame to find that interested buyer early on in the process, only to have their mortgage denied because you needed someone to fix furnace issues. The same is true about your home ac repair needs, if you do not get it done, you could lose the deal.
The moral of the story? Before you move on to the aesthetics and getting that up to par get the work done that needs to be done. If you have to have emergency roof repair done to make sure you can start showing the house or before the appraiser shows up, it is a worthy investment. Do it.
Some repairs you are likely well aware of but other repairs you may not really think about simply because you have gotten used to living with the situation as it is. A good example, is that faulty lock to the garage door. You have dealt with it so long that you forgot it was a problem. Trusted locksmith services can take care of the problem for you. Look around the house and get both the little and the big repairs done so you can show your home with confidence and offer a house for sale that is turnkey ready for someone to move in.
Are Big Ticket Items Really Worth the Investment?
A lot of sellers ask whether or not investing in things like window replacement will really amp up the value of their home. The answer is yes it will, but that is the short answer. One of the things that needs to be addressed on this how to prepare your home for sale checklist is how much should you invest to sell your home?
Lets use those new windows as an example. The amount of ROI that you will get from new replacement windows is generally relative to the type and the condition of the windows that you have right now. If your windows are not functional, old, worn, or even at the extreme a hazard, replacing them will be worth the ROI. If your windows are older but still functioning great and don’t look too bad, you may want to consider leaving them as is.
How much you should invest in your home before you sell comes down to “how much do you want to invest?” and “what absolutely needs to be fixed or replaced before you can sell?”. Other questions you should ask yourself is:
- What is standard for my neighborhood?
- What does the competition have to offer?
- How much can I afford to realistically invest?
If in your neighborhood all the homes have new windows but yours, than invest in new windows. Take a tour of area houses for sale to get a feel for what other sellers are offering. Of course, your budget should always be in the forefront of all your decision making. Can you afford to invest the money that you need to, to bring your home up to competition standards or will you have to settle for less?
It can be difficult to make investment choices for a house that you are no longer going to live in. Get your house in the best condition that you can afford is one of the best tips from the how to prepare your home for sale checklist. Don’t get in over your head, but don’t sell your short either.
This is a true story about a couple that wanted to sell their home. They checked off every box on the how to prepare your home for sale checklist, or at least they thought they did, yet 10 months later the for sale sign was still up.
What happened? Well Mr. and Mrs. Smith, did declutter their home, they did make necessary repairs, they even gussied up the front of the house. What they did not do was keep from stacking piles of their belongings in their already small garage.
Mora of the story? Your garage is part of the power decluttering that you need to do. If you have to rent a storage unit to pile your stuff until the house sells, do it. Decluttering and making your home look less personalized gives buyers the opportunity to picture their own things in the house.
Decluttering every area makes your home look bigger. Less is way more when it comes to presenting your house to buyers. One or two family pictures is fine but a gallery wall of all the kids and all the memories is not.
Get rid of whatever you do not need to use right now. Throw it out, donate it, store it, but get it all out of the house.
Other Indoor Prep Tips
Once all the necessary things are fixed, and the house is decluttered, it is time to turn your attention to other ways you can help your house to show better. There are a couple of mistakes many sellers make when they are showing their home:
- Not having the right lighting
- Too many personal items laying around
- Not highlight architectural features that are worthy of highlighting
Good lighting is key. Turn on lights even if it is daytime. Open blinds and curtains to show how much natural light the home gets. Do a little research about what type of lighting would best highlight the architectural features of the home and more.
Put personal items away which includes toothbrushes in the bathroom, anything on your nightstands, and other personal items. Make sure your closets are tidy and well lit as well.
You want potential buyers to pay attention to the house not get side tracked by the book that you are reading and left on your nightstand. A quick once over before you leave, yes you should leave during showings, will ensure that you leave everything tidy.
Why should you leave during showings? You want to make buyers feel comfortable while they are checking the house out. It can be very uncomfortable for a buyer to have the owners following them around. Let your realtor handle the showing.
Let’s Move Outside
No how to prepare your home for sale checklist would be complete if we did not talk about curb appeal. Curb appeal is literally the appeal your home has when people pull up to the curb in front of your house.
Here are some things you can do to ramp up your homes curb appeal:
- Keep it neat and tidy all the time. It is not enough to keep your home showing ready right before the showing. Make sure that lawn is cut and trimmed, flowers are planted, and nothing is left out on the lawn. Buyers often do drive-by recognizance trips long before they ever contact the owner or the broker. Make sure the front of the house looks great all the time.
- Paint your front door, porch rails, and other areas. A fresh coat of paint on the front door and porch rails is inexpensive and can really add to the curb appeal.
- Keep the porch or entranceway simple. You do not have to have elaborate decorations, out front, all you need is to keep everything clean, organized and looking fresh.
The front of your house is your homes introduction to potential buyers, keep it looking good all the time. If your driveway is stained up, either rent a pressure washer or pay someone to pressure wash it for you. Looks really matter when it comes to that first impression.
How To Prepare Your Home for Sale Checklist and Protecting Yourself
The how to prepare your home for sale checklist would be amiss with making sure you legally protect yourself. Selling a home requires legal representation. In this day of DIY everything, you should not close the deal without the help of an attorney. There are bits and pieces to the process that real estate lawyers specialize in that really are not a DIY option.
Things like title searches, contracts, conveyance of title, registering the title and more is a lot for a lay person but is just part of the day for a good attorney. Additionally, having your own attorney will ensure that you are protected through out the process.
Real estate sale contracts can be long and full of legal jargon. Most people will breeze through the contract and never actually read all the fine print. There can be a lot of information in that fine print that can be damaging to you.
It is important that you have real estate lawyers on your side that is looking out for your best interests. As a matter of fact to ensure complete protection you should hire that lawyer before you ever go to contract.
Other things you need to do to protect yourself during the process:
- Use a realtor. A lot of homeowners think that selling their home on their own is the way to make the most money. The fact is realtors are professionals that have a network of support behind them that can help you sell faster and for more. Additionally, it takes a lot of stress off the homeowner. Go with the pros.
- Be honest. Full disclosure is important in cases of selling your home. If you know you have some problems with the home, let the buyer know. It is always best to be up front. In some states the penalties for selling a home that has certain problems can be costly. It is easier to be upfront.
- Get it all in writing. Don’t make side deals with anyone. Make sure every part of the deal is in writing.
Selling a home does not have to be difficult, just follow how to prepare your home for sale checklist, and make sure you have the right support.