Preparing your home for sale in a seller’s market (like we are in now) gives you more flexibility with your budget. You are not competing with hundreds of homes sitting idle without offers. Instead, buyers are anxious, just waiting for a chance at the next home to hit the market. Currently in the Sacramento area market, we have had a long period of time where there has been a lack of homes for sale. Buyers will make multiple offers on homes when they hit the market, and often there are bidding wars. This kind of a market makes it somewhat less important for your home to be perfect as you prepare to put it up for sale. When watching the home improvement shows on TV, they would lead you to believe you have to spend thousands to stage your home and thousands more to prepare it. I’m not saying this does not shorten the time it takes to sell, or that it may increase your value in some cases, but I am saying it is not necessary in most cases and it may just cost you time and money that you can’t get back.
Hanson’s Realty and Hanson’s Mobile Home Sales have been selling homes for a long time. So here are some tips to selling your home in a seller’s market.
- Get an honest opinion on needed improvements. Face it, you have been living in your home for a while and are accustomed to things the way they are now; it’s easy to overlook needed tune ups for your home. It’s a good idea to get a fresh set of eyes to help you review your home’s readiness to sell. Get a friend or family member’s honest opinion of what they suggest as if they were seeing your home from a buyer’s eyes. As your agent, we are happy to assist in advising you on preparing your home. We do it all the time with our customers.
- Win the curb appeal game. Everyone will tell you curb appeal is king. This one is true. It sets the tone for how your home is going to be perceived. If the home’s first impression is a good one, it invites you in. That inviting feeling is important inside of the home as well as outside. Start by cleaning up and removing all junk items sitting around outdoors. Cut and clean the yard. Trim trees and bushes. Organize outdoor furniture and all items in the back yard and garage. It is very inexpensive to freshen bark, flowers, or a couple decorative pots or planter bricks if necessary. Clean the front entry making sure the front door and hardware are presentable.
- Get your home decluttered. Everyone’s home has some clutter, it’s just part of living. However, it really helps your home’s presentation to have it free of clutter and organized with a nice flow. There should be limited things hanging on the walls and sitting on the surfaces in your home. Eliminate excess furniture. Remember, you are setting your home up for what your potential buyers are looking for when they view their new home for the first time. Here’s a trick. Go room to room and take everything off the walls and off the surfaces, then redecorate like on the remodeling TV shows (using your own stuff). Be creative, move stuff around the house in a different room if looks great somewhere else. Fewer items in the home is usually better. Get ahead of the moving process by packing the left-over stuff for your move and tucking it away in a closet or storage area.
- Make sure your home is well-cleaned. This is the other big one. The two most important things are cleanliness and organization. Go room to room from ceiling to floor and clean thoroughly. This does not cost money, just time, and it’s the biggest thing you can do to sell your home. Buyers shy away from dirty homes. One of the biggest deal breakers are homes that smell like cigarette smoke or pet odors. It’s worth the extra effort to eliminate these odors if at all possible. When you clean your home, be sure to note if there are any items that may need repair or paint. This is not always necessary in a seller’s market, but sometimes is worth the small cost.
- Get your kitchens and bathrooms looking their best. The overall layout of your home and yard are very important features, but Buyers are looking at your kitchens and bathrooms with the most detail. Make sure they are ready to show with a clean presentation, lights that are in working order, and updated shower curtains and toilet lids. If needed, you can get a new toilet for $100. If the kitchen or bathroom cabinets are in bad shape, consider staining or repainting them. New knobs or handles are cheap and add a nice touch. If appliances are in bad shape, it may be worth replacing them. With the exception of wall ovens, there are some nice appliances that are quite affordable. You can change out your free-standing oven, hood, and dishwasher with a decent stainless steel set for around $1500 installed. Although this step is not always needed, new appliances really add the sparkle to the kitchen.
- Tune up your lighting. Make sure your room lighting is good. Kitchens and baths should have brighter white lighting while living rooms and bedrooms should have softer lighting. The big mistake is having non-working lights in your home.
- Open window curtains and blinds for natural light during showings. This gives the feeling of a bright happy home. Also make sure windows and frames are clean. Soft music and light air fresheners or fragrances are also a good touch.
- Consider spending the time and money to repair structural or operational issues that may significantly lower your home value. Buyers on a budget will be shy to consider a home that is going to need significant repairs. These major repairs can also cause issues with inspections. In a seller’s market like ours, buyers are often willing to accept smaller issues in as-is condition if disclosed up front. In some cases, it is better to fix bigger issues before selling the home so they do not become head aches during the closing process.
There you have it. Many of these touch-ups can be done on your own and in most cases, you will spend little to no money. It’s a seller’s market, so when you do list your home, it should be ready to sell. If you need professional advice on certain issues or a second set of eyes, we are always happy to assist you.