Oct 29, 2018
Q: Julie, How do I get top dollar from selling my home?
A: Be Market Ready!
What do we mean by Market Ready? You start by putting the buyer’s hat on and honestly evaluate the condition of your home. Is it showroom ready for a visit from potential buyers? Do you see anything that could negatively affect your home’s value or bring the home’s structure or equipment performance into question? Use a critical eye and be honest. Would you offer top dollar for a home that looks shabby, has little or no landscaping, cracks in the ceiling, the HVAC is old and dirty or the water heater is rusty? I don’t think so. And neither will a potential buyer. When one of these things is spotted, “buyer horriblization” sets in. This means after the Buyer finds one thing wrong, they’ll proceed to get out the magnifying glass and look for even more troubles. This Buyer will ultimately walk away and never even consider an offer or … cut your price to the bone trying to save big dollars in order to fix-up perceived problems in the home after the sale.
What should a Home Seller do to get Market Ready?
Step # 1. Get your home Inspected BEFORE you list it.
Because that’s exactly what your buyer will do before they close on any home purchase. They’ll have their own home inspection completed by a professional and then pour over the report with a fine tooth comb. Why? They want to know if anything may have to be repaired or replaced before the home will be in tip-top, move-in shape and how much it could cost. Then they’ll deduct that cost from YOUR selling price. It could mean thousands of dollars. Ouch.
You need to be the one to find out FIRST if there are any potential problems. Home Inspectors check the functionality and condition of your HVAC, appliances, home structure, roof, windows & doors, countertops, flooring, plumbing, bathrooms, laundry, sprinkler system, alarm system, driveway, garage door openers and more. They’ll be making sure all work properly and will assess the age of each realative to future maintenance or replacement needs.
Their findings will be in a detailed, written report prepared by the independent Home Inpsection company. Then you review the home’s issues with your professional Real Estate agent to determine which should be addressed PRIOR to listing your home.
Step # 2. Get Estimates on ALL repairs or replacements … whether you do them or not. You should address every problem in the report if you can afford it. Even if you don’t fix certain things, be sure to at least get an estimate on what the repairs or replacements would cost. Why? Because you don’t want just the Buyer’s estimate for replacing an older appliance or repairing a cracked driveway be your only reference when it’s closing time, right? You’ll want to know what a reasonable cost to replace or fix something will be BEFORE it becomes a negotiation point. For example, what if the Buyer gets an estimate for the finest, restaurant-style cooktop known to man when he’s talking about replacing the one you got at Sears some years ago? Not right. Not fair. So get reasonable estimates on any repairs or replacements that could become an issue BEFORE you list your home. Forwarned is truly fore-armed.
Step # 3. Is your Home showing off or … just showing its age?
First impressions are always the big ones right? To get top dollar for your home, it needs to look good as well as be in good working order. It all starts with curb appeal.
Landscaping: Take a walk around your neighborhood. How do your home’s grounds measure up against your neighbors? Is your yard inviting and well cared for? We’ve all seen homes from the curb that were so beautifully landscaped, trimmed and cared for, they look like a movie set. How does your home stack up? Like a movie set … or a war zone? Green-up and fix-up and you’ll wind up getting more “green” at closing.
Exterior: Again, it’s all about curb appeal. Does your home need some paint? Are all the shutters and gutters in place? Front door, side door, garage doors, windows, steps, curbs, driveway all look to be in good shape and well cared for? They had better be or it will cost you when it comes time to sell. If you get an offer.
Interior: Now the prospects are inside looking around your home. Any cracks in the walls? Carpeting looking tired? Hardwood floors dull or discolored? When’s the last time your living room ceiling got some paint? Or any other room in the house for that matter? You know, we all get used to “not seeing” certain flaws that a buyer will notice in an instant. Use a critical eye and take a tour of the interior of your home looking for signs of aging or maybe out-of-date color schemes that need to be changed. Ask a Real Esate Agent to take the tour with you and give their professional advice on what should be spruced up.
Kitchens & Baths & Floors… oh my! OK, we all know these areas are critical to home buyers. Nobody wants to pay top dollar for a home that needs to have the kitchen redone with new countertops, appliances, backsplashes, etc. It’s costly! And it’s the same for your bathrooms and flooring. If it comes down to buying a home with a new kitchen, baths and floors vs. a home that needs one or all of these items … which home do you think will get top dollar?
We’re not necessarily saying all these things have to be redone to sell your home. Many “easy fixes” like painting cabinets, changing out drawer-pulls and knobs and new lighting fixtures can work wonders. We are saying however, do look at these areas carefully and talk to your Real Esate professional about which MUST be done to get your price and will return to you the expense of the renovation.
Furnishings, Storage Space and Clutter
The way you furnish your home has great visual impact. Have your beautiful hardwood floors seen better days? Are they scratched or gouged? Tile floors cracked or chipped? Are area rugs threadbare and faded? Drapes tired or sun-bleached? Does the pantry look cluttered and are certain rooms jammed-packed with furniture? Are bookshelves and built-ins stuffed with a lifetime of chachkies and souvenirs from past vacations? Clean it all out. Store your keepsakes and empty out those closets. Buyers want to see lots of usable space and bright, open rooms with space for THEIR stuff. Closets and pantries especially need to look roomy and well organized. Not so packed with stuff from top-to-bottom and side-to-side that you couldn’t find anything you were looking for anyway.
Scratch & Sniff test
Make sure everything is as clean as possible. Prospective buyers will notice dirty windows or carpet. Dusty air ducts, vents and fans. Dirty countertops and kitchens. Stained upholstery, water-stained laundry room, missing light bulbs and more. Clean windows and carpets, shiny counters and dust free rooms will go a long way toward saying “these owners took care of their home.” And that means a lot to a buyer.
Finally, if you have pets in the house, make sure there are no fur balls or pet aromas left behind by your best friend’s bedding or any other unpleasant smells for that matter. Often times, as you live in the home, you can become “nose-blind” to pet odors or mildew odors caused by dampness. Buyers won’t be blind to them. And you don’t ever want to be remembered as the “cat or dog house” because of lingering pet odors.
Step # 4. Get a Pro’s help!
Remember, todays home Buyers all are watching HGTV with great interest. They’re getting an education from the TV pros on what’s a valuable asset in a home and what’s a potential problem. What clues to look for that show a home was cared for and other clues that show it was not.
There’s a lot to do to get your home Market Ready so don’t be afraid to ask for help from people who’ve done it all many times before. Your local, real estate professional is an invaluable source for what turns a buyer on … and off. Talk to them. Your real estate pro can recommend quality Home Inspection companies, home cleaning services, reliable home remodlers, roofers, home staging consultants and more.
They’ll help you be Market Ready and get top dollar when you’re ready to sell.
And remember to always Expect the best… and get it!
If you want to make a little piece of The Island your own, you need more than just a road map and a REALTOR. You need a partner who can make things happen.
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