Getting Your House Ready to Sell
Fixing Up Outside the House
First impressions and curb appeal are some of the most important preparations you can make to sell your home. Begin to think of your home as a marketable commodity. A homebuyer’s first impression is based on his or her view of the house from the real estate agent’s car. As Realtors, we’ve had clients refuse to even get out to see the inside based on poor maintenance and the resulting bad curb appeal.
So take a walk across the street and take a good look at your house. Look at nearby houses, too, and see how yours compares.
Is your landscaping at least average for the neighborhood? If it is not, buy a few bushes and plant them. Do not put in trees. Mature trees are expensive, and you will not get back your investment. Also, immature trees do not really add much to the appearance value of the home.
If you have an area for flowers, buy mature colorful flowers and plant them. They add a splash of vibrancy and color, creating a favorable first impression. Do not buy bulbs or seeds and plant them. They will not mature fast enough to create the desired effect and you certainly don’t want a patch of brown earth for homebuyers to view.
Your lawn should be evenly cut, freshly edged, well watered, and free of brown spots. If there are problems with your lawn, you should probably take care of them before working on the inside of your home. This is because certain areas may need re-soding, and you want to give it a chance to grow so that re-sod areas are not immediately apparent. Plus, you might want to give fertilizer enough time to be effective.
Always rake up loose leaves and grass cuttings.
The big decision is whether to paint or not to paint. When you look at your house from across the street, does it look tired and faded or is the curb appeal light and bright? If so, a paint job may be in order. It is often a very good investment and really spruces up the appearance of a house, adding dollars to offers from potential homebuyers.
When choosing a color, remember white sells best followed closely by yellow. Of course, the color also depends on the style of your house, too.
As for the roof, if you know your house has an old leaky roof, replace it. If you do not replace a leaky roof, you are going to have to disclose it and the buyer will want a new roof, anyway. Otherwise, wait and see what the home inspector says. Why spend money unnecessarily?
The Back Yard
The back yard should be tidy. If you have a pool or spa, keep it freshly maintained and constantly cleaned. For those that have dogs, clean up after them as you would in the park. If you have swing sets or anything elaborate for your kids, it may make sense to remove them. They take up room, and you want your back yard to appear as spacious as possible, especially in newer homes where the yards are not as large.
The Front Door & Entryway
The front door should be especially clean and shiny, since it is the entryway into the house. Polish the door fixture so it gleams. If the door needs refinishing or repainting, make sure that gets done.
If you have a cute little plaque or shingle with your family name on it, remove it. Even if it is just on the mailbox. You can always put it up again once you move. Get a new plush door mat, too. This is something else you can take with you once you move.
Make sure the lock works easily and the key fits properly. When a homebuyer comes to visit your home, the agent uses the key from the lock box to unlock the door. If there is trouble working the lock while everyone else stands around twiddling their thumbs, this sends a negative first impression to prospective homebuyers.
Follow all these tips when getting your home prepared for sale and your curb appeal will be a ten when prospective home buyers roll up to the front door.