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If you are thinking of selling your home, Spring is a great time of the year to sell. Kids are going to be out of school soon and the days feel brighter making it a great time to move. No matter what time of the year you plan on moving, these seven steps will help the process go smoother.
1. Start by planning early
Getting the best price for your home, starts with early planning. If you wait until you talk to your Realtor®, it may be too late to do many things that can improve the price of your home. You want to plan early, so you will have time to do any upgrades or repairs that are needed.
2. Visit open homes
Most real estate agents try to view all of the homes in their local farm area. They do this for two reasons. One is to see any houses that may fit their clients’ needs. The second is to see the condition of inventory in their market.
When you sell your home, you need to know what your competition is. Do they have features that make their house more attractive than yours? Do you have features that make your house more attractive? Try to be objective and look at the house as a shopper, not a seller.
To do this, try to take advantage of weekly open house tours that your local Realtor® association will put together. Typically this happens during the week and is only open to agents. However, if you already have an agent, you can ask them to bring you along.
Weekends are also a common time for agents to hold open homes for their clients. You’ll see the signs in the neighborhood and viewing open homes can actually be fun. You can probably see the inside of every open home in your neighborhood with just a few hours a week.
Not every agent will hold open home showings. Also, be aware that agents like to hold open houses for nicer houses, because it helps them get new clients. If homes are occupied by renters, cluttered or needs lots of repairs it may never have an open house. You’ll probably need to just drive by and see the house from the outside. You might also ask your Realtor® to schedule an afternoon to go and see a few of the houses that will not be having open houses.
3. Make a list of repairs
As you visit open homes, make a list of simple and low cost updates or repairs that you should do to your home to be comparable to your competition. But don’t get enamored with fancy kitchens, new bathrooms and expensive repairs.
Most home repairs will not give you a dollar for dollar return. Even a minor kitchen upgrade, has only an 80% return. You might spend $10,000 on upgrading your kitchen, but it may only add $8,000 to the value of your home. For a list items that can give you the highest return, check out our post Top 5 Mistakes Seller’s Make when Remodeling Their Home to Sell.
Review your list of repairs by starting at the curb and walking toward the front door. Then work throughout the house. Make a note of the things that need repairs or painted that aren’t on your list yet. Focus on the things that will make your home look clean and bright. New paint, repairing deteriorated wood, holes in sheet rock and general dirt.
Finally, go over your list and make a budget for each item. If you don’t know what some repairs cost, check out online sites that can give you a better estimate of costs. Once you know how much things will cost, compare the cost with how much more your home may sell for if you make the repairs and decide if the repairs will really add any value to your home.
Don’t forget to include the costs of insurance, a potential mortgage and other costs for any additional time it may take you to make the repairs.
4. Do a deep cleaning
Plan on spending a couple of weekends doing deep cleaning. Clean your windows, floors, cabinets, showers, etc. If you don’t have time, consider hiring a house cleaning service. For a few hundred dollars a day, you can hire a house cleaner to get your home bright and clean. A house maid will also have the advantage of a being to see things that you might overlook.
5. Clean up the landscaping
The first impression prospective buyers will have of your home is from the street. Therefore, it’s important that your curb appeal and landscaping is immaculate. Trimming the bushes, edging and mowing the lawn are all low costs things that will help improve the curb appeal. If your landscaping has old bark or low maintenance gravel, get some bark or gravel to freshen things up. You can have these delivered from your local landscape supply company for less than $100.
While you’re at it, plant some flowers and fertilize the lawn. Try to get flowers that will be blooming when you put your home of the market. If you’re concerned that they may die before you sell your home, just bury the flower in a second empty flower pot. Many store fronts change out their flowers regularly. To make the process easier, bury an empty flower pot just under the bark. Next, place a fresh pot of flowers directly into the pot you buried. Then when your flowers fade or need changing, just pull the old flower pot out, and drop fresh a fresh flower with it’s pot into the buried empty pot.
6. De clutter your house
If curb appeal is one of the first things to turn people off to your home, clutter is a close second.
De cluttering has many advantages when selling your home. It makes your home look bigger, shows off your storage, and makes your home show better online.
Whether we like it or not, most buyers have an emotional reaction that determines whether they fall in love with your home. Think of selling your house like dating, where you’re trying to always put your best foot forward. If you were bringing a date to your home for the first time, your home might look much different than it does today.
Empty your cupboards, closets and excess furniture. Your cupboards and closets should be no more than one third full to show off your storage space. You’re planning on moving anyway, so go ahead and pack that stuff up or put it in storage.
7. Increase the light
Bright homes sell better. Open up the curtains, wash the windows, replace all of your light bulbs with brighter bulbs. Be careful not to exceed the wattage of the lamps.
Switch to LED bulbs. They don’t have a warm up time like the older fluorescent bulbs. If using LED bulbs, they also use much less electricity so you can increase the brightness of bulb you use. You might also remove the window screens and put them in the garage to let more light in. If you have overgrown trees, and their branches are blocking the light, trim the branches to let in more light.
With a little bit of planning selling your home will be much easier and you’ll get a better price.