Over five million homes sold in 2019. With so many homes leaving the market, it’s important to stand out to buyers when it comes time to sell your own home.
Knowing how to prepare your home for sale is one of the most important steps you can take during your home selling process. In this comprehensive home selling guide, we’ll discuss the first steps of preparation and other considerations to keep in mind.
How to Prepare Your Home for Sale: The First Steps
While the timeline for selling a home is unpredictable, it’s vital to get a head start on the process as soon as you know you want to sell. Getting these first steps out of the way will allow you to focus on more important matters down the line.
Clean the Interior and Exterior
The quickest way to make your home presentable is to clean the inside and outside. While cleaning clutter and grime is a given, you should also deep clean every area. This includes floors, gutters, and heavily-used surfaces.
To increase curb appeal, consider power washing the exterior of your home. This will quickly remove years of built-up dirt.
Get a Home Inspection
Hire a high-quality home inspector you can trust. This home inspector will be different than the one chosen by your future buyer. Home inspectors find hidden problems within your home, such as electrical wiring issues or foundation issues.
Once the inspector finishes reviewing your home, they’ll send a comprehensive list of repairs, issues, and notes. It’s essential to act on every issue and make any necessary repairs before the buyer’s home inspector steps in.
By using the information from your home inspection, you can start making home repairs. If your house has a considerable list of repairs to complete, it’s best to do this step as early as possible.
For major repairs, like roof leaks and foundation issues, you may want to hold off on the home selling process and focus on fixing the problem.
Adding upgrades to your home is not necessary, but it helps sell the home faster if you have the means to do it. Choose high return-on-investment (ROI) items to make the effort worth your time and money. New flooring, HVAC systems, and kitchen appliances are all high-ROI choices.
New appliances, windows, and landscaping is a significant selling point. Realtors will be able to point out new additions to the home to prospective buyers. Plus, upgrades increase the value of your home.
Prepare for the Cost of Selling
The average cost to sell a home depends on several factors, such as closing costs and mortgage fees. It’s important to prepare yourself and budget for every possible fee you’ll encounter.
Choose How to Sell Your Home
Once you’ve completed the essential first steps in the home-selling process, it’s time to make a big decision. Will you sell your home with an agency or sell by owner? Both have their advantages and disadvantages.
Real Estate Agency
Selling your home with a real estate agency is a common choice, especially among first-time sellers. Real estate agents earn commission for helping you through the selling process. This includes difficult tasks like price negotiation and marketing.
For Sale by Owner
For Sale By Owner (FSBO) is an independent home selling process. You’re required to negotiate with buyers on your own and do your own marketing. You also don’t have to pay most real estate agency fees, since you’re doing all of the work yourself.
Stage Your Home
Staging your home isn’t necessary, but it might help sell your home faster. Staging helps potential buyers envision themselves in your home.
It’s hard to imagine yourself in an empty home, so buyers might not appreciate the home as much without staging. The extra effort usually pays off.
If you’re still living in your home while selling it, you can still stage your home without disturbing your lifestyle. As long as you clear out at least half of your personal belongings into a separate storage space and declutter, your house should feel staged enough to entice buyers.
Once you’ve reached this portion of the guide, you’re ready to start selling your home. However, there are extra steps to take that will help sell your home even faster.
Host an Open House
Hosting an open house is a fantastic way to get buyer attention to your home. Open houses are a comfortable way for potential buyers to browse your home and learn more about it. Plus, open houses are a low-cost marketing strategy.
Usually, a realtor sets up open houses. If you’re opting for the FSBO process, you’ll have to host an open house on your own.
The best open houses offer complimentary beverages and flyers that buyers can take home to remember the visit. Open houses are also the perfect time to stage your home.
Hire a Photographer
No matter what marketing strategies you use, high-quality photos of your home’s interior and exterior are a must. Hire a photographer to ensure the best photos.
Real estate photographers understand the best way to take flattering pictures of interiors to make them look spacious and well-lit. Some photographers even use drones to take appealing exterior shots.
Make Your Home Inviting
Staging a home doesn’t guarantee comfort. To create an inviting space for open houses and tours, set out some items to help make the home look a little lived in.
Coffee table books, scented diffusers, plants and decorative table centerpieces help buyers imagine themselves in your home. Homes without these comforting touches might feel cold and uninviting, leading to buyers feeling unable to picture themselves living there.
Knowing how to prepare your home for sale is the first step towards getting your home sold successfully. With the help of this checklist for selling a house, you’ll experience an efficient, low-stress, and streamlined home selling process.
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