With selling season just around the corner, home buyers are meeting with their realtors, prepping their finances, and brainstorming what kind of new home they want. Meanwhile, sellers are sprucing up their homes in hopes of getting top dollar on the market.
If you plan to sell this spring or summer, you will likely have plenty on your mind. However, rest assured that your home may become someone’s ideal property when you make the right moves with home improvements, home staging, and setting the right asking price.
How can you ensure that your home makes a great first impression and aces the home-selling process? This short guide about prepping your house for sale offers some simple suggestions to get things right for the selling season.
Find a Real Estate Agent
Once you know you want to sell your home, find a real estate agent immediately. Even if you have a few months before you plan to put your house on the market, it takes time to prepare it for showings. Real estate agents can also give you a plan for marketing your home and a good idea of what your home will list for.
Also, if you plan to sell your home to buy another house, this process must be timed as closely as possible, and you will need an agent to help you find a new house within your preferences.
When you work with a real estate agent who understands what buyers want in your home’s price bracket and location, you can get tailored advice on what to fix and how to make your home marketable. They can also ensure that things lean toward your favor during contract negotiations so the buyer won’t try to nickel and dime you for too many things, like unnecessary renovations or an undue amount of closing cost credits.
Know What to Fix
To make top dollar, home sellers need to be strategic when fixing their homes for the open market. Sellers must know what improvements will add value and which ones won’t.
For example, a fresh coat of paint does far more than changing light fixtures. For your convenience, we made a list of what to fix and what the typical buyer doesn’t notice (or care much about) during their first walk-through.
Home repairs should focus on quality over quantity. Small but functional upgrades can make a big difference in terms of appeal. You should avoid wasting money on projects that don’t matter. With careful planning and smart decisions, home sellers can maximize their profits while minimizing repair costs.
- Note: In intense seller’s markets, it’s possible to do little to no repairs and refuse repairs. However, in buyer’s markets, the housing market will demand that your house be pristine to sell unless it’s a short sale or foreclosure.
Set The Right Listing Price
When you set the right price, you will greatly increase your chances of selling quickly. Get in the “Goldilocks zone” of not too low but not too high.
- Pricing too low will undoubtedly attract a lot of interest, but you can miss out on a lot of money. While in some markets, you can price around 5-10% lower than market value to stimulate a bidding war; this can be risky when conditions aren’t right. Pricing too low can also turn people away because they will wonder if there’s something wrong with your house!
- Pricing too high will turn away buyers who will soon find out that they can get a house of the same caliber down the road for less. It’s essential to research your competition with a comparative market analysis and price the home fairly. Buyers want a deal that makes sense, and high prices will delay your sale.
Ultimately, an appraisal during due diligence will take the high listing price back down to Earth, so set the price right the first time to avoid sitting on the market and the dreaded price reduction that happens after sitting on the market for a while.
Curb Appeal = First Impression
The first thing potential buyers will see when they come to view your property is your front porch, yard, front door, and surrounding exterior. Since it’s the first impression they will get of your home, curb appeal matters.
Take some time to spruce up the outside of your house. Remove any outdated patio furniture, pack away children’s bikes and toys, mow the lawn, power wash the siding and windows, and plant some fresh flowers or shrubs around your house. If necessary, paint any fading shutters or porch posts. A little effort on your home’s exterior can go a long way in making a good impression on potential buyers!
Declutter & Stage
Once the potential buyer is inside, they need to see a clean, attractive space. Clear all surfaces, reorganize closets, and pick up everything off the floors. Mop and Swiffer your floors if they need an extra shine. Here are some extra tips to make your home show well.
- Declutter your belongings: A house with excessive belongings will look smaller than one staged minimally. Put your extra furniture and gadgets in a storage unit during the home staging and showing process.
- Make it impersonal: Take away personal items like family photos, pet dishes, children’s toys, and other things that make it difficult for the buyer to picture themselves in the house.
- The world is a stage: For even more oomph, hire a home stager who can arrange furniture and décor to make each room look bigger and brighter.
Your home doesn’t have to look like a Better Homes catalog, but it should look clean, presentable, and a blank template that your buyers can appreciate.
Prepping Your Home For Sale
Selling your home strategically requires thought and preparation. Luckily, there are practical steps you can take right now that will help you get top dollar. From improving your home’s curb appeal to decluttering each room, you can ensure buyers can imagine being the next owner of your home.
For the best results, hire an agent to guide you through the process and advise you on what you need to do for your home’s price and unique market. The real estate agents at Marketplace Homes are ready to take your call and help you start the exciting journey of selling your home.
Alicia Persson is the official in-house content writer for Marketplace Homes. She has several years of experience working in real estate teams that specialized in investments and property management. Before she joined MH, she was a freelance writer for 7 years, providing real estate and home living content for boutique digital marketing agencies.
She is a proud University of Virginia Masters graduate and enjoyed her undergraduate years at the University of Mary Washington. When she is not writing, she is playing keyboard in a local 90’s band in central Virginia or spending time with her amazing family.