Did you know that over the course of the past year an average of only 6% of available single family homes in Indian River County have been sold in any given month? It’s been said that preparing your home for sale is like preparing for a blind date. You want to smell good and look perfect! That being said, below are some things you can do to get your home in tip top shape and put yourself ahead of your competition.
1. It’s all about the price!
This is a big one and sometimes a hard pill to swallow. First and foremost, you have to remove the emotion from the sale of your home. A Buyer is not attached to your “home”. Until they buy it, it’s just another house for sale.
Have your REALTOR® do a comparative market analysis of similar homes in your area that are currently on the market, under contract and that have sold. How much competition do you have? Is your asking price in line with others? If it is priced higher, does your home improvements, location, etc. warrant the increase? Do you need to sell now? Discuss the findings of the analysis with your agent to determine if you need to make a price adjustment and to discuss your degree of motivation.
Have an appraisal done by a local appraiser that is knowledgeable with your neighborhood. Discuss the appraisal with your REALTOR® and adjust price if needed.
2. Is your home “move-in” ready?
How does your house show? Is there clutter? Are there too many furnishings? Do you have a lot of knick knacks? If you answered yes to any of these, a thorough de-cluttering is in order. In your kitchen, clear counters of unnecessary items. Remove all items from refrigerator exterior. In bathrooms, remove personal items from vanity tops. Display clean, neatly folded towels. Clear rooms of extra furnishings. Remember you want your rooms to look spacious. This is a great time to pre-pack items in preparation for your move or to donate things that are no longer wanted. If you don’t have space to store extra “stuff”, consider renting a small storage unit until your house sells.
Now that the clutter has been addressed, is your tile sparkling clean and carpets freshly vacuumed? Are your windows crystal clear? You want your home to look and smell like it’s just been cleaned. Pay attention to the details. Dirty tile grout, hand smudged light switches and door surfaces; and hair in sinks, tubs and showers are just a few areas that require extra consideration.
3. Are you a smoker? Do you have pets?
Cigarette and cigar smoke permeates fabric, carpeting, and air conditioning filters. It also leaves a film on all surfaces, including walls and ceilings. If you smoke, you may want to enlist the services of a professional cleaning company before putting your home on the market. “Smoke eaters”, or air purifiers might be helpful if you are a heavy smoker. Once the house has been cleaned, it would be a good idea to find a place out of doors to smoke your cigarette or cigar.
A house is not a home without a pet. But if you do have pets, be vigilant about cleaning up after Kitty’s litter box or keeping Fido bathed. People may associate pet odors with an unkempt house. Remember, not everyone is an animal lover so jumping, barking dogs or cats walking on counter tops may turn off a potential Buyer. Find a safe, comfortable location to keep your pet during the showing, if need be.
4. “I’ve been meaning to fix that!”
A spot of soft wood on an outside window frame, a dark spot on your ceiling. Both items may only require a little maintenance but to a Buyer who is looking at your home through a microscope, it could mean termite damage or a leaking roof. Before you put your home on the market, get all those little items repaired so they don’t create problems at the time of contract.
5. Does my home have Curb Appeal?
After the cleaning and de-cluttering and maintenance items are addressed, there are still things you can do to help your home sell. Try driving up to your home and looking at it with “Buyer’s eyes”. How does it look? Is there anything that you can do to freshen it up? Is your lawn and landscaping healthy and manicured? Could the front door use a fresh coat of paint or a new accent color? Could the driveway use a pressure washing? There are many little things that can be done to spruce up the exterior of your home. And most importantly, once these things are done, they must be maintained until the house sells.