If you are selling in the spring or early summer, it is time to start getting ready. After almost 20 years at our current home, we will be putting our home on the market in the spring. I keep hearing my past clients words come back to me, "What do we need to do to get the house ready?" I usually answer something like this. Most homeowners will be making the largest purchase of their life which means they are also taking the largest risk of their life so let's make the house move in ready and reduce their stress level.
THE TO DO LIST:
ORDER A PEST INSPECTION
Many clients wait for the buyer to order this, but pest inspections are relatively inexpensive and they can help identify problem areas that buyers are likely to ask to have repaired anyway. Why not get it out of the way early? This gives time to get multiple bids without the pressure of contract deadlines with the sellers looking over your shoulder. A clear pest report goes a long ways to reassure potential buyers and opens up your home to a very wide pool of potential buyers. If the repairs are too expensive, the report helps to set a fair price and allows potential buyers to know their risks prior to going into contract. And best of all, there will be no surprises in the midst of your sale. Here is the dreaded dry rot at my home.
ORDER A ROOF INSPECTION
In our area, this inspection is done for free by Roof Doctors. Again, the buyer is likely to do this one anyway so get it out out the way. The goal is to keep surprises to a minimum. It is helpful to clean the gutters prior to the inspection. Also, consider buying a roof certification.
HVAC AND APPLIANCES
Recently, my client purchased a home with a defective heating system. The thermostat needed to be replaced which cost about $150. I wonder how many buyers didn't even consider the house because of the potential risk when it was just a simple fix. If you want to make buyer even more comfortable, buy them a home warranty. In our area, they will probably ask anyway.
This is an inspection that I leave for the buyers to purchase. It is a more expensive inspection and, I think, most buyers are more proprietary regarding their home inspectors. Still, home inspections reports are important for buyers. They are full of maintanance advice and can find serious issues not found in other inspections. For example, one inspector found trusses improperly installed at a house my client was purchasing. The fix was very expensive and we had to find another house.
Even a very simple yard can be inviting if maintained well. Weed, rake, prune, plant some colorful flowers and add some bark to the flower beds. I really like shredded black bark. It really makes those new flower colors stand out. This was our last Sunday afternoon project. It may not inspire now, but in the spring when the roses and iris are in full bloom, it will be a real asset.
Many times you can make a big difference by touching up the paint. Fill small nail holes, then use a small brush (even an artist brush) to touch up just the spot. If there are differences in color or sheen, the eye does not pick up those small touch up spots. For bigger areas, you may need to paint a wall or trim corner to corner or where a natural break occurs. And get rid of the peeling paint, if possible, scrape, sand, spot prime and paint.
What if you do not have touch up paint? Usually there is something that can be removed easily and taken to a paint store to be matched. For example, an attic cover, a painted heater vent, a cabinet door, cover plates (especially outdoors), etc.
Pack up non-essentials. Have a garage sale. Donate! I think they know us by name now at our local Goodwill store. The bonus, you do not have to move all those items to the new place.
Hire someone to clean the carpets and/or maybe make small tile repairs. The carpets were so bad in the last house we sold that we took them all out. The floors underneath were hardwood. They needed to be refinished, but they were a much better feature to show off than 35 year old carpet.
Add carbon monoxide and smoke detectors where they are needed. Strap the water heater properly. The appraiser will call these items out and charge a return fee to make sure they were installed. These items are needed so often that I keep extras in my truck.
The list is long and is different for every home. The real goal is to assess the major systems and attributes of your home and present them in the best possible way. It is a big win if home buyers feel that they can move right in without worry. Homeowners will want to make their new house their home, but they just might not have the time or money to make modifications right away. Will everything on the list make your home sell for a higher price? Maybe. The odds are better. Will it make your home stand out above the competition? Definitely! It is remarkable how many houses are sold without much thought. I understand how much work is involved, especially now that we are in process, but it is worth it. Of course, part of my job is to help my clients and make the process easier.
Do you need help getting your home ready? Call me. 😃 916-698-8414
What else should be added to the above list? Or removed? I would love to see your responses below.
Raymond Henson, SRES, GRI, e-Pro
3412 Babson Drive
Elk Grove, CA 95758