Ready to Sell. Now what?

Ready to sell your home but not ready to put it on the market yet? Then this post is for you.

Committing to the decision to sell can take time. Once you’ve made that commitment, the next step is preparing the house for sale. You know, doing the deep clean, making repairs, freshening paint or neutralizing a vibrant color, de-cluttering, and maybe tweaking a few things here and there.

Not sure where to start? De-cluttering is a fine place to begin. I’ve heard the DIY shows tell you to remove all personal photos, etc. I’m not 100% sold on that theory. Yes, you do not want a buyer looking at your stuff and family photos for a number of reasons. I once showed a house loaded with personal items and my buyer felt bad about buying the house because she saw they had so many good memories and didn’t want to take that away from them. This may seem a little far-fetched to you, but it’s a true story, and I’m sure if one person felt that way, another did, too.

We want potential buyers to feel comfortable in the house and leave with a good feeling.

On the other hand, you still live in the house. So when you are clearing shelves, start with non-essential items. (You are planning to move. Packing non-essential items is a good place to start. Heck, you might decide you don’t miss some of those knick knacks once they’re out of sight.) However, you are still living in the house. Leaving out a few cherished family photos will not hinder a sale. Having a wall plastered with years of memories may.

Repairs and paint freshening would be next or in tandem with the de-clutter. A fresh coat of paint can really help a room; especially if it’s covering a color others might find loud or too vibrant. If the paint in a home/room is currently neutral and clean, don’t repaint. If the walls have become dirty with streaks or fingerprints or past touch ups do not give the wall an even color appearance, a professional repaint should be done. I say professional because we ideally like clean/straight borders.

In Florida, a subtle shade of beach sand or beige is preferred for interiors. Trim (base boards and crown moulding) should be white.

Repairs. Repairs can get out of hand. They don’t need to. Keep it simple. Some of the most common repairs I see needed in resales are: repairing wood rot around doorways, air conditioning units needing service (fresh filters and coil cleaning), light fixtures not working or not secure, and dripping faucets. Repairs generally do not include upgrading formica counters to granite, or replacing carpet with tile or wood. In most cases, these are not jobs that will bring a 100% return on investment. So although your house may sell for a few thousand less than the same house with granite next door, I don’t generally believe spending $10,000 to get $7,000 in return is worth the time, hassle and cost. I have also seen those new floors or counter tops removed by new buyers and replaced with something more to their liking. In most cases repairs should be kept simple and not include major upgrades.

Once these steps are complete, it’s time for the deep clean. Getting behind appliances, in corners, crack and crevices, cleaning windows and don’t forget the light switch covers. Pressure washing driveways, walk ways, fascia and patios/decks should be part of the deep cleaning process, too.

Now that your house is ready for market, it’s time to find the right Realtor® to work with you in the sale. S/he may recommend additional improvements – likely just little tweaks since you’ve already done all your prep work. Getting this leg work done up front can save you time in the long run and will certainly help you in getting the most money the market will allow for your home.


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