12 Things to Do Before Selling Your House


Home-Selling Checklist:

Getting ready to sell your home? Then it’s time to roll up your sleeves and get to work!

Selling a home, after all, entails a whole lot more than just planting a “For Sale” sign on your front lawn or uploading a few random photos of your place—especially if you are hoping to achieve a premium price.

So before you put your house on the market, peruse this checklist of things you must do in preparation. Some of these tips are surprisingly easy, while others might require a bit of effort. But they’re bound to pay off once buyers start adoring your home—and hopefully making you a great offer.

1. Find a great real estate agent

Think you can sell your home yourself, and pocket the cash you would otherwise pay a real estate agent?

It can be tempting, especially in a sellers’ market, but resist the urge, A ‘For Sale By Owner’ transaction can risk ending in disaster for the unwary, leading you to sacrifice both money and time.

That said, don’t just blindly hire the real estate agent who most recently sent you a flyer or the one your uncle’s friend’s co-worker’s cousin used. Do some research to find an Agent who is knowledgeable about your specific market, and then interview her to make sure she’s a good fit.

Your real estate agent should be someone you feel comfortable working with and whom you trust to sell your house for top dollar. Don’t be afraid to talk to a few real estate agents before selecting one and do not let an agent bully you into signing up on the spot.  Such pressure tactics are generally a sign of a desperate agent just looking for quick and easy listings.

2. Consider your street appeal

For better or for worse, buyers do in fact tend to judge a book by its cover. You want to make sure that all potential buyers of your home see it first and foremost from the street as a good home – and that it inspires them to stop by the open home so they can see more.

By investing some effort in like planting colourful flowers and repainting your front door, the outside of your house can entice prospective buyers to come on in.

If you’re not sure how to improve your home’s street appeal, ask your real estate agent for advice on how others in your area have improved the exterior before selling their houses or contact Maria when you are ready to sell.

3. Declutter living areas

Less is definitely more when it comes to getting your house ready to show.  Do a thorough cull or clearance of bench tops, windowsills, tables, and all other visible areas, and then tackle behind closed doors: closets, drawers, and cupboards—since virtually nothing is off-limits for curious buyers.

If the house is overflowing with ‘stuff’, buyers might worry that the house won’t have ample space for their own belongings. They won’t sign up to pay a mortgage if they think they’ll also have to rent a storage space.

Take your excess stuff and donate it, or pack it up ahead of your eventual move. Not only will clearing clutter help your house look more appealing to buyers, but it will also help you once you’ve accepted an offer and it’s time to move into a new home. Moving out will be easier if some of your stuff has already been packed.

4. Depersonalize your space

The next step on your declutter list?  Maria likes to encourage sellers to remove any distractions so the buyers can visualize themselves and their family living in the property.

She says sellers should remove personal items and family photos, as well as bold artwork and furniture that might make the home less appealing to the general public. The goal is to create a blank canvas on which buyers can project their own visions of living there and loving it.

5. Repaint walls to neutral tones

You might love that bright orange feature wall, but if it’s your potential buyer’s least-favourite colour, that could be a turnoff, says Maria.

“You’re much safer with neutral colours because it’s rare that someone hates it, but the other benefit is that a light colour allows potential or serious buyers to envision what the walls would look like with the colour of their choice,”

It’s the Agent’s job to help buyers picture themselves in the house. If they don’t feel at home, they’ll probably look at other real estate options.  Ask your Agent detailed questions on what needs to be done to prepare your home for market to achieve the best possible price.  It is definitely not true that homes sell themselves – at least at a top price.  Any person can sell a home at a low or average price but it requires a talented Agent to get you the best price.

6. Touch up any scuff marks

Even if you’re not doing a full-on repainting project, pay special attention to scrubbing marks and then touching up skirting boards, walls, and doors to make the house sparkle and look cared-for.

Selling almost any home can be rather tricky, but selling a home with lots of little problems and small repair needs can be downright difficult. When buyers walk into an open house, or go on a private inspection, they want to fall in love with the house, not add a bunch of small repairs to their to-do list.

In order to impress buyers (and sell your house quickly), fix up your house before putting it on the market.  A good Agent will be able to guide and assist you in all of these matters and hopefully shield you from a lot of the stress associated with selling your home

With a home that is well presented and move-in ready, you will probably see a great deal more interest, and more likely to achieve multiple offers early on in the sales process.

7. Fix any loose handles

It’s a small thing, sure, but you’d be surprised by the negative effect a loose handle or missing lightbulb can have on a buyer.

“It can make them stop and think ‘What else needs fixing?’”

For a buyer, submitting an offer, and later committing to a mortgage is a big deal. When you’re selling your home, you don’t want to give any buyers doubt that your home will make a great home for them too.

8. Add some plants

When staging or presenting your home, remember that green is good: Plants create a bright and more welcoming environment. You might also want to consider a bouquet of flowers or bowl of fruit on the kitchen bench or dining table.

Some plants and natural elements will impress buyers by bringing some extra colour and life to your decor.

9. Conduct a ‘smell’ test

Foul odours, even slight ones, can be a deal-breaker, and the problem is that you might not even notice them, says Maria.

She recommends inviting an unbiased third party to try to detect any pet smells or lingering odours from your kitchen or elsewhere.

If the smells are pervasive, prepare to do some deep cleaning as many buyers are on to seller’s “masking techniques” such as candles or plug-in room deodorizers. Plus, covering up odours with a stronger scent might backfire if the buyer doesn’t like the smell of lavender or artificial citrus.

10. Clean, clean, clean

Once you have completed cleaning your house, do some more.  Even if you’re not worried about what buyers will think of your home’s scent, you want your property to look spotless and inviting.

Think of it this way: You’ll probably have professional photos taken of your house when it looks its best. Naturally, you’ll want your house to always look like it does in those photographs.

When selling your home, it’s important to keep everything tidy for buyers, and you never know when a buyer is going to want to schedule a last-minute private inspection. Remember to take special care with the bathroom, making sure the tiles, vanity tops, shower, and floors shine.

11. Hide valuables

From art to jewellery, keep your treasures out of sight, either locked up or stored off-site,.

You can’t always trust everyone who comes into your house, even when you’re trying to sell it. A competent Agent will have in place arrangements to minimise the risk of theft or damage.

12. Consider staging

Does your house scream 1980s?  Nothing invigorates a house like some new furnishings or a perfectly chosen mirror. The key is getting your home staged or styled by a professional.

Home stagers will be able to quickly assess the current condition of belongings in your house and determine what elements might be needed to raise the bar. They might recommend you buy or rent some items, or they might just reorganize your knickknacks and bookshelves in a whole new (that is, better) way.

Stagers, and your Agent if they are not the same person, know the real estate market, and what sells, so it’s important to take their advice and not take offence when they make big changes. Their job is to help drum up genuine interest from potential buyers, which is always good news to the seller.

If you are looking to sell your home then obtain a ‘no-obligation’ appraisal on your home’s value from Maria Selleck at Maria Selleck Properties, Manuka.  Tel 0417 258 803 or visit maria.selleck.com.au

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