Selling a home can be one of the most stressful things a person can do… or so I’ve heard. My husband and I have been on a mission to prepare our first home for sale as we begin to decide where we would like to end up (preferably a place with plenty of land for all of the animals we’d like to raise!). We have a friend who is a realtor who has given us some advice, plus the fact that my husband is very handy and great with remodel projects, so we feel pretty confident we won’t have any trouble selling this home.
Here is what we’ve learned so far:
1. A potential buyer makes up their mind about a home within seconds of arrival. There is something to be said about curb appeal. We plan to replace the screen door coming into the home, as the current one is pretty worn out and a bit of an eyesore. While something like the front door may seem like a waste of time and money, it is one of the first things a buyer will see and touch, and if there is a clean, good-working door, it speaks volumes about how the owner has maintained the rest of the home.
2. Kitchens and bathrooms are important. You’ve probably heard this many times. Because my husband is handy, we have been able to do things like replace flooring and countertops in the kitchen and bathrooms with very little money. Plenty of time and effort was exerted on his part, but not a whole lot of money. If you have a husband who is not of the handy persuasion, look into small things you can do to update these rooms a bit: fresh paint, new hardware on cabinets, etc.
3. De-clutter! This one is a no brainer, but it is worth saying! Go room by room and get rid of some stuff! Since we’ve been trying to live a more natural lifestyle, I’ve strived to cut back on junk we have lying around anyway. Little by little, I have gotten rid of box after box of toys and books out of my boys’ room. And you know what? They have never noticed or missed a thing! When it comes to clothes (yours and kids’), ask yourself when was the last time it was worn. If it’s been six months or longer, consider donating it or selling it at a consignment sale. Because I’ve been working towards this for a while, I feel like my task is not so overwhelming. Also, be willing to throw stuff out! I know it’s hard to do, and you might get hung up, fearing you’ll need it or the kids will notice it’s gone. I have never regretted a thing I’ve thrown away in an attempt to de-clutter.
4. Make your home as presentable as possible. I don’t know how many real estate pictures I’ve seen as I’ve looked at homes online, where there are hair products on bathroom counters, dishes and appliances on kitchen counters, and even unmade beds in bedrooms. Buyers don’t want to see how you live in your home; they want to see if your home will work for them. Kitchen and bathroom counters should have almost nothing on them. Bedrooms and closets should be spotless. And your personal decor should be kept to a minimum. Again, buyers don’t want to see your impressive display of Precious Moments figurines, or how many Beanie Babies you’ve collected since the 90s!
5. Finally, any other damaged or broken things in the home should be repaired or replaced, or prepare to price your home accordingly. My boys have been ROUGH on the carpet in their bedrooms. From fingernail polish to tie dye, those carpets have taken a beating. We know we do not want to present this home for sale with the carpets as is, so we know we are going to have to dig deep to get those carpets replaced. Otherwise, the listing price of the home would need to reflect that the carpet needs badly replacing, which would cost time and money for buyers to deal with themselves. Make sure that things like faucets and light fixtures are in working order.
Preparing a home for sale can be costly, and there are some things you (& we!) may just not be able to do. Again, be reasonable when pricing your home if there are repairs or updates that you have left undone. Have a real estate agent or trusted friend come take an unbiased and fresh look around your home and give you an honest opinion. This helped us greatly in deciding what remaining updates were worth our time and money to do.
One more piece of advice (from our real estate agent friend): your home has its best chance of selling in the first 30 days. You don’t want to sell yourself short, but you want to price your home to sell. After the first 30 days, you will have to wait for the next influx of home buyers, at which point, you may choose to lower the price or fix something you previously hadn’t. List your home in the best condition, at the best price possible from the get-go for the swiftest results!
Have you sold a home? What worked for you?
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