Home sale preparation is an integral part of getting the best price for your property. No matter what the market’s like, the right prep work can make your house more appealing to potential buyers and give you an edge over other properties for sale in your neighborhood. As with any project, selling a home is easier if you’ve got a solid plan and a bit of professional help. To make the process as smooth as possible, you’ll want to start by making a list of needed projects and involving a real estate agent.
Home Sale Preparation: Getting Started
Your first step in preparing your home for sale is to create an overall list of things to do. This consumer guide can help, but you would also do well to consult with an experienced real estate agent who regularly handles properties in your neighborhood. If you are still trying to decide which agent to list your home with, creating a things-to-do list is a good get-to-know-you exercise that will tell you a great deal about each agent’s experience and how comfortable you are working with him or her. Preparing a list will also help should you decide to sell your home on your own, since you will still need to fix up prior to putting it on the market.
Though it’s certainly possible to prepare your home for sale on your own, involving a real estate agent as you make your list can be more helpful than you might think. First, an agent experienced in working with homes in your neighborhood is the most qualified person to tell you how your home will be perceived by potential buyers who shop in your market. For instance, he or she can tell you whether the kitchen needs painting or needs a new floor or new countertops. Second, he or she is objective and will see your home through the eyes of an outsider, just as potential buyers will. Home sale preparation is a bit tricky for those who’ve been living in the house. Things that look perfectly fine to you because you’ve been looking at them for years and years may stand out as needing attention in the eyes of an objective observer.
Taking Objective Advice When Selling a Home
While real estate agents can be great resources, they are nearly useless if you make it clear that you don’t want any bad news. We all become quite emotionally attached to our homes. In many ways, our home is an extension of ourselves, and it is difficult to have someone tell us that the shade of paint we picked out for the den is a liability in selling the house. We are bound to be a little hurt and will often respond by, in effect, shooting the messenger.
Instead, we should make a decision up front: do we want good advice or do we want to hear only what makes us feel good? Just hearing what makes us feel good can be expensive when the final sale price for your home is determined. Selling a house that doesn’t show well can be a real nightmare, but since a realtor does not want to lose a listing, if we make it clear that we don’t want to hear anything critical about our home, he or she won’t offer such information.
Making Your Home Sale Preparation List
You’ve found an experienced local real estate agent, and you’ve made it clear in voice and action that you want a clear analysis of what needs to be done to prepare your home for sale. Together you can systematically develop a list of what will need to be done and why. Your real estate agent can help with the details and give you sound advice on how far to go with each project without spending money that you won’t get back.
What to Do with Your List
You have now identified everything that you will need to do to prepare your home for sale. Look at your overall list and decide which things you want to handle yourself. Keep in mind that sorting through the clutter will take a lot longer than you anticipate. For that matter, nearly all do-it-yourself projects take longer than you think, so be realistic about what you can accomplish on your own. In general, you will save if you do it yourself, but things like roofing and floor refinishing are almost always better left to the pros. You want to avoid a lot of last minute hassle and expense having pros coming out to do things that you never got around to, and you don’t want to risk putting yourself in the position of having to show the house before it’s really ready.