Listing – Strong Words from Realtor That Wants You to Get it Right

We’re well in to March.  Day Light Savings is less than a week away! Yay spring!  Let’s forget just for a moment that it’s snowing outside and talk about the biggest spring cleaning of all…putting your house on the market.

I prepare many homes for the market.  Simple things can help your home reach its potential and there are 7 things that need to be done in just about every home that I sell, with very few, actually NO exceptions.

  1.  Painting.  A paint job can take your home from lived in to brand new for very few dollars.  Even if you already have that dreamy light neutral tone that we all preach it needs to be freshened up.  I mean this… do a fresh coat. You have a hefeweizen-yellow/orange color in your bedroom that you looked for for seven years before getting it just right and you just absolutely love it?  There’s no way I’m painting that color!  It’s so pretty.  Say it with me, “We don’t know who is going to buy your house, all we know is that it’s not you.”  You need to paint.  You have to make it light and neutral.  Add as much light to your home as possible.  Painting is something that anyone can do.  Get set up with a couple rollers and an edger and put your friends to work.  Do not forget to make that trim pop!
  2. Floors. Right along with paint you simply have to get your floors in to their best possible condition.  Ratty old carpet, no matter how well you clean it, will be noticed by every buyer that walks through the door.  You can get pretty good carpet, pad, and installation for around $3/per sf.  If there are any stains at all this $3 per sf is a must.  Remember to keep it neutral.  Hardwoods?  Have them refinished.
  3. Deep Clean.  I sold dozens of homes in the last year and nearly every time the buyers, whether mine, or on the co-op side want the house deep cleaned.  Just get it done for them and prior to listing.  When a buyer tours a home those toilets need to look brand new.  Make your bathrooms and kitchen shine like new.  Nobody wants to picture what you did in that toilet during the duration of your ownership.  Make them think they’re the only ones that will ever do the do in that bathroom.
  4. Pre-inspect.  I do this for all of my clients.  Why?  Because inspections always turn up something that you don’t want to hear.  By taking charge and fixing anything major ahead of time you limit your risk of ending up back on the market after a failed inspection.  Often, your buyers will accept this inspection as their own and the escrow period gets sped up a bit, but even if they want their own inspection while in contract you can go in with confidence that your home is ready.
  5. Staging.  I often stage my homes, because it is such an important part of getting top dollar.  If your agent does not and you don’t want to pay for a staging company you still have to do these four things:
    1. Reduce.  Leave only the furniture in a room that shows the purpose of the room, the size of the room, and adds light.
    2. Add Light.  Remove all window covers, blinds and shades along with the hardware.  It should feel as if you don’t need them.  Leave them off during the entire sales process and maximize light.  Also, in any rooms that do not have overhead lights you must add lamps.  If possible put your lights on a timer so that they are always on during showings.
    3. Remove all personalized items.  Say it with me, “I don’t know who is going to buy my home, but I know it isn’t me.”  No photos.  No alma mater swag and no personalized knickknacks  should be left in your home. You want any potential buyers to walk in and lose themselves in your home.  We want their emotions to put their belongings into your home mentally and having grandma’s stuffed koala collection on the mantel just isn’t going to help.
    4. Remove all symbols.  This goes for everything that could pull up emotions with opinions. Leaving up a statue of Jesus may seem very innocent to you, but your buyers will come in many religions and you don’t want them to feel unwelcome.  Remove alcohol. It’s fine for some, but very not ok with others.  I know you are a Husky to the core, but what if… just what if… That Coug has cash and is willing to go 50k over list price?
  6. Remove the Nos!  It has to be all “Yes!” when buyers walk through your door.  Not once do you want them to say, “That will need to be fixed,” if you can avoid it.  Do this by removing the Nos.  Is the doorbell broken?  Fix it.  Light switch covers cracked?  Replace.  Burner out on your stove?  Swap it out.  Remove all the nos.  Your pre-inspection will help you pinpoint any that you didn’t come up with on your own.
  7. Curb appeal.  Get out the loppers and trim back your shrubbery.  Add yard bark where necessary and fresh gravel to the driveway.  Plant some color around your home to make it pop.  Clean up any lines, pathways, seating areas, or  driveways.  If you want bonus points create a sitting area, fire pit, or patio out of decking or pavers.  Always an inexpensive enhancement if you’re able to do it well.

None of this is asking too much when putting your home on the market and they are simply must dos.  Easy stuff.  Only once in my career have I recommended someone get a new appliance before listing… so you know it was really bad. But, if you are not willing to get these seven things accomplished don’t ask your Realtor to price you at a top comp price.  To be a the top your home needs to be at its best potential.  That doesn’t mean your fading, hollow core kitchen cabinets and formica countertop are going to fetch the same as the home with the brand new tiles, granite and custom cabinetry down the street, but it does mean your home will get ITS top dollar.

Questions, Comments or want your home evaluated?  Feel free to contact me at any time.  I’m here to help you with any RE questions about the market, your home, or even about the home down the street!

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