Ready to sell? Being the wife of a builder and Realtor®, I have sold over 11 personal home and helped others sell their homes with much success. So, I’m offering some tips and tricks of the trade to help you get top dollar when you sell your home. Having a well upkept, clean home is key. Buyers don’t want to walk in and see problems that need to be tended to and they sure don’t want to see all your laundry lying around or your dirty dishes in the sink. When you list your home with me or any other Realtor®, walk room to room being open to your Realtor’s® thoughts and suggestions. So, without further ado, here are my tips:
- Keep it clean. Wash and put up your dishes. Steam clean carpets and sweep/vacuum then mop floors. Wipe up tables. Pickup toys, blankets, loose paperwork, etc. Deep clean those bathrooms. Dust those ceiling fans, blinds and shelves. And, don’t forget the garage. Blow out, sweep or vacuum. Get rid of those spider nests. Organize your yard tools.
- Clear up clutter. Potential buyers find it hard to envision themselves living in your space if you have your closets filled to the brim. Pack it up. Even if you can’t afford to rent storage quite yet, box it up. Make nice, neat stacks in your garage. You are hoping to move soon anyway, so getting a jump on the packing, which is inevitable, will make you feel like you’ve done something!
- Lighten it up! Open blinds/shutters before a showing. Replace the blown-out bulbs. If you are returning home right after the showing, turn on your lights. You can turn them off when you get home. Another option is to change to LED lighting. The potential increase of your home sale can be 1-2%. Remember that spaces that are dark and gloomy tend to detract buyers.
- If you make upgrades, be smart about it. Comfort height toilets can increase your home sale by 1-2%. On a $200,000 sale, 3 comfort height toilets can cost about $100 each from your local Home Depot/Lowe’s and the return could be between $2,000 to $4,000. Worth the upgrade. Do replace flooring if you have linoleum. Hardwood in living areas and tile in baths are what buyers want. New hardwood flooring can increase the sale by 3-5%. If you must paint (say you have hideous orange paint from the 70s) then paint in a neutral color. Give trim and doors a fresh coat of paint. This can add up to 2% to your home sale. Take care of problems that are health or safety issues (i.e. fix that leaky faucet, repair the loose brick on the step of your porch, repair that back door lock). If your roof is in obvious need of repair or replacing or is 20 years + old, then I recommend replacing it. Your buyer’s inspector will note it on the inspection report. And, the buyer may not be able to get home-owners insurance on the home he is buying. I know this is a big expense; but, the buyer making the offer will reduce it knowing the roof needs to be replaced. If you cannot afford to replace it, then, again, be smart. Get quotes on the cost of re-roofing your home. Offer the buyer that amount or part of it as a concession to him upon successful close of the home. Smart home upgrades, such as programmable thermostats, wireless security systems (which can be remotely controlled), a whole house generator, can increase your sale up to 5%. Depending on how many smart home upgrades you do/have, the increase of your home’s value could go up even more as buyers become more and more environmental and safety conscious. Don’t forget a major room when upgrading because you will find that kitchens are king! Homes with quartz, granite, marble, stainless steel appliances tend to get the most percentage increase of up to 7%+ than those that don’t have these upgrades.
- Conceal your critters! It’s hard for a Realtor® to show your property when Fido is barking or Fluffy smells like she just brought in a dead fish! The buyer will get frustrated and want to leave if they are tripping over your pet. Options when your home is showing: put your pet in a kennel, take them with you while your home shows or at the very least, put them in the back yard (fenced of course) and make sure the Realtor® has instructions for your pet and notification that Fido is in the back yard. So, make sure your home doesn’t smell like a pet. Have someone come in, other than you or your husband, like your Realtor®, your “all too honest” sister or your best friend, to tell you if your home-smell offends. If it does, hire a professional to steam clean carpets, furniture and deep clean floors and any other items that may need cleaning.
- And on that note, make sure your home smells clean. Basic tasks, such as dusting, cleaning bathrooms, cleaning windows, vacuuming/mopping floors, will give it that fresh smell. Ditch the candles, plug ins and aromatherapy. Although you may like that tropical plug in from Bath & Body Works, the buyer may not. He may find the scent offensive or have allergies. Trust me, I have found this out first hand! Just don’t mask a funky smell, get rid of it!
- Remember that kitchens and baths come first! I mentioned counter and appliance upgrades previously; but, by all means, if your cabinets are from 1972 and painted avocado green, spruce ‘em up. A fresh coat of neutral paint and changing the hardware can totally change the look of the cabinets. Change out those bathroom cabinet knobs and pull. It is so true that people place more value on a home when the kitchen and baths are upgraded and looks appealing to the eye.
- Make sure everything that is supposed to work – works. HVAC, water heater, dish washer, oven, microwave, disposal, smoke detectors, garage doors, etc. Obvious, right?
- Stage your home. Some Realtors® will offer suggestions to help make your home be at the top of its’ game. It doesn’t have to look like a home out of Southern Living but it should look nice and neat. Simple décor is best. Take down the wall of pictures (patching and touching up the wall) as it may be an eyesore to the buyer. Clear off that coffee table. Add lamps. Plants/flowers freshen up a room. Remove the bulky furniture. Simplify. SHUT the toilet lids. Take that make up off the counter. Buyers will look in your closets and cabinets. I know this sounds silly; but, if you check out Realtor.com, you will see that most bathrooms have the toilet lids down. Just shows better. Another thought: you can always hire a professional stager to come in to help you make your home look ship shape.
- Stay safe. Put all valuables away. Lock doors that you don’t want a buyer to go into. Explain the reason for this to the Realtor®. (i.e. the gun room, etc.)
- Flowers, plants, and did I say flowers? Hanging ferns on your front porch oozes Southern Living. And, make sure to water them. Keep them watered and sweep or blow off your porch to keep it tidy looking. To add a special touch, go to your local grocery store and pick up fresh cut flowers to put on your kitchen table or island.
- Take care of the outside. On the exterior of your home: clean the windows and power wash your home. Remove clutter from your porches or decks. Get rid of the wasps under your deck. In your yard: keep the grass cut, trim the bushes, add mulch to and de-weed your flower beds. In the South, an irrigation system in front and back yards is invaluable. Some homes may get 3-5% more when a sprinkler system is installed.
- Be careful. Inside or out, resolve health and safety issues.
Don’t overwhelm yourself. Do it in improvements in stages.
Always keep your home ready to show. I know this is difficult; but, first impressions matter. A buyer will not be able to envision himself living in the home if he is distracted by simple things that can be taken care of. And, finally, be open to negotiations. That buyer may offer lower knowing the ac unit will need replacing soon. Educate yourself about the costs of major items that need to be repaired or replaced. If you know the carpet is worn out, offer the buyer concessions at close based on repairs that are logical fixes that you don’t break the bank.
And…finally, but not really – firstly, get a good Realtor® who will stay in touch with you, answer your questions and guide you through the home selling process. Work together to price your home right based on current comps. And, remember, 1st impressions matter!
Call | or text me to discuss how to get your home ready to sell today! 251.709.4331 c | 251.990.6622 o Amy Cuny, Realtor®, ePro® and Smart Home Specialist (Coldwell Banker Reehl Properties, Inc.)
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By: Amy Cuny